Lang’s Florida Brigade Versus the 1st Massachusetts and 26th Pennsylvania

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Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Date/Time/Location: July 2 / 6:50 p. m. / Emmitsburg Road

Participants:
Union:
1st Massachusetts Regiment (deployed as skirmishers) – estimate 18 officers, 303 enlisted men
26th Pennsylvania Regiment – estimate 24 officers, 341 enlisted men
Battery C, 5th U.S. Artillery – six 12-Pounder Napoleons
Confederate:
2nd, 5th, 8th Florida Regiments – estimate 83 officers, 656 enlisted men
2nd Georgia Battalion (detachment) – estimate 35 officers and enlisted men.

Defender’s Advantages:
- Slight breastworks constructed of fence rails.
- Close artillery support.
Attacker’s Advantage:
- Advance partially screened by undulating terrain.

Prologue:
At 6 p.m. on July 2, the 26th Pennsylvania was stationed along the Emmitsburg road north of the Peter Rogers house, with the 1st Massachusetts deployed as skirmishers about 300 yards beyond (west of) that road. The 74th New York joined the right of the 26th Pennsylvania. A six-gun artillery battery (Lieutenant Gulian V. Weir’s) to the right rear provided close support. Colonel David Lang’s brigade, comprising three regiments from Florida, advanced about 6:45 p.m. on July 2. As they passed their skirmish line, some men from the 2nd Georgia Battalion joined their left. At that moment, Barksdale’s brigade was beginning to threaten the left of Brig. Gen. Andrew Humphreys’ line, and it appears the 74th New York was detached to help counter that threat. Thus the initial Federal numerical advantage disappeared, while Weir’s battery was also left exposed.

Accounts:
1. “The enemy’s front line of battle here advanced and opened fire upon my line of skirmishers, which was more than we could stand, especially on our left where the men had no cover, and they were obliged to fall back. They came in splendidly and were highly complimented by Gen. Carr. I was directing the men as they came in to form in rear of the line of battle, that I might be ready to move to the support of any point necessary, but before reaching the brigade line I received an order from a staff officer to form my regiment in “front” of the 26th Pennsylvania Regiment. The order surprised me and thinking I must have misunderstood the order I asked if I was to form in front of the 26th Pennsylvania; the officer replied yes. Still thinking it was wrong, I asked who gave the order, and was told it came from Gen. [Joseph B.] Carr. Thinking that it must be so, but knowing no military rule for such a move I could not understand it, but formed my regiment in obedience to the order. At this time the enemy’s front line of battle appeared on the rise of ground in our front and poured such a terrible volley into our ranks, ‘killing fire,’ and wounding 23 officers and men … we were obliged to give way before much superior odds …” [Colonel Clark B. Baldwin, 1st Massachusetts, Bachelder Papers, 1:193]

2. “Our brigade advanced beautifully. The men soon under fire but driving the Yankees like chaff before us.” [Diary of Lieutenant William P. Pigman, Company H, 8th Florida]

3. “Before the regiment could deliver its volley, the companies about-faced in pursuance of the orders of some stupid general, and executed a right half-wheel under a severe fire … orders were duly transmitted from a blockhead, termed upon the muster-roll a brigadier general, not to discharge a musket, because ‘they would fire upon their own men;’ and the enemy was enabled in this way to cut down the ranks, and diminish the effect of the first volley.” [Three Years in the Army of the Potomac, by Henry N. Blake, late captain in the 11th Massachusetts]

Epilogue:
The 1st Massachusetts should have formed on or behind the 26th Pennsylvania, which could then have delivered a destructive volley upon the attackers. Instead, tactical incompetence on the part of Carr, or else a simple mistake on the part of his staff officer, gave the Confederates a decisive victory. Circumstantial evidence suggests the former, since at the same time and place Carr separately ordered the 11th Massachusetts to turn away from the enemy and wheel backwards. Carr seems to have been one of those officers who became nervous and unhinged in the presence of the enemy, compelling him to issue last-minute orders that in this case proved disastrous. The now disorganized 1st Massachusetts completely blocked the 26th Pennsylvania’s field of fire, while Federal casualties quickly mounted. As the Massachusetts men fell back, they must have broken up the Pennsylvanians’ formation, initiating a general rout. Part of the 2nd Florida and the Georgians could then turn their attention to Weir’s guns, three of which were abandoned. On the right flank, the 5th Florida along with the 9th Alabama drove off the 11th Massachusetts. Meanwhile, the bulk of the Florida brigade retained their organization all the way to the foot of Cemetery Ridge, where they finally encountered stiff resistance in the form of the 19th Maine.

Attachments:
-Draft map showing situation at 6 p.m. (1800), July 2.
-Draft map showing situation at 6:55 p.m., July 2.
-Photograph of 1st Massachusetts monument with their skirmish line position.
GettysburgPickett22.JPG


Other notable clashes in the “versus” series:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/4th-maine-versus-44th-alabama-at-devils-den.134499/#post-1539384
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/1st-maryland-battalion-versus-137th-new-york-on-culps-hill.135801/#post-1571162
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/45th-north-carolina-regiment-and-2nd-north-carolina-battalion-versus-149th-pennsylvania-regiment.136170/#post-1580089
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/48th-georgia-regiment-and-2nd-georgia-battalion-versus-82nd-new-york-and-15th-massachusetts.136048/#post-1577410

CemRidge1800 001.jpg


CemRidge1855Chg1 001.jpg
 
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Andy Cardinal

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Location
Ohio
Date/Time/Location: July 2 / 6:50 p. m. / Emmitsburg Road

Participants:
Union:
1st Massachusetts Regiment (deployed as skirmishers) – estimate 18 officers, 303 enlisted men
26th Pennsylvania Regiment – estimate 24 officers, 341 enlisted men
Battery C, 5th U.S. Artillery – six 12-Pounder Napoleons
Confederate:
2nd, 5th, 8th Florida Regiments – estimate 83 officers, 656 enlisted men
2nd Georgia Battalion (detachment) – estimate 35 officers and enlisted men.

Defender’s Advantages:
- Slight breastworks constructed of fence rails.
- Close artillery support.
Attacker’s Advantage:
- Advance partially screened by undulating terrain.

Prologue:
At 6 p.m. on July 2, the 26th Pennsylvania was stationed along the Emmitsburg road north of the Peter Rogers house, with the 1st Massachusetts deployed as skirmishers about 300 yards beyond (west of) that road. The 74th New York joined the right of the 26th Pennsylvania. A six-gun artillery battery (Lieutenant Gulian V. Weir’s) to the right rear provided close support. Colonel David Lang’s brigade, comprising three regiments from Florida, advanced about 6:45 p.m. on July 2. As they passed their skirmish line, some men from the 2nd Georgia Battalion joined their left. At that moment, Barksdale’s brigade was beginning to threaten the left of Brig. Gen. Andrew Humphreys’ line, and it appears the 74th New York was detached to help counter that threat. Thus the initial Federal numerical advantage disappeared, while Weir’s battery was also left exposed.

Accounts:
1. “The enemy’s front line of battle here advanced and opened fire upon my line of skirmishers, which was more than we could stand, especially on our left where the men had no cover, and they were obliged to fall back. They came in splendidly and were highly complimented by Gen. Carr. I was directing the men as they came in to form in rear of the line of battle, that I might be ready to move to the support of any point necessary, but before reaching the brigade line I received an order from a staff officer to form my regiment in “front” of the 26th Pennsylvania Regiment. The order surprised me and thinking I must have misunderstood the order I asked if I was to form in front of the 26th Pennsylvania; the officer replied yes. Still thinking it was wrong, I asked who gave the order, and was told it came from Gen. [Joseph B.] Carr. Thinking that it must be so, but knowing no military rule for such a move I could not understand it, but formed my regiment in obedience to the order. At this time the enemy’s front line of battle appeared on the rise of ground in our front and poured such a terrible volley into our ranks, ‘killing fire,’ and wounding 23 officers and men … we were obliged to give way before much superior odds …” [Colonel Clark B. Baldwin, 1st Massachusetts, Bachelder Papers, 1:193]

2. “Our brigade advanced beautifully. The men soon under fire but driving the Yankees like chaff before us.” [Diary of Lieutenant William P. Pigman, Company H, 8th Florida]

3. “Before the regiment could deliver its volley, the companies about-faced in pursuance of the orders of some stupid general, and executed a right half-wheel under a severe fire … orders were duly transmitted from a blockhead, termed upon the muster-roll a brigadier general, not to discharge a musket, because ‘they would fire upon their own men;’ and the enemy was enabled in this way to cut down the ranks, and diminish the effect of the first volley.” [Three Years in the Army of the Potomac, by Henry N. Blake, late captain in the 11th Massachusetts]

Epilogue:
The 1st Massachusetts should have formed on or behind the 26th Pennsylvania, which could then have delivered a destructive volley upon the attackers. Instead, tactical incompetence on the part of Carr, or else a simple mistake on the part of his staff officer, gave the Confederates a decisive victory. Circumstantial evidence suggests the former, since at the same time and place Carr separately ordered the 11th Massachusetts to turn away from the enemy and wheel backwards. Carr seems to have been one of those officers who became nervous and unhinged in the presence of the enemy, compelling him to issue last-minute orders that in this case proved disastrous. The now disorganized 1st Massachusetts completely blocked the 26th Pennsylvania’s field of fire, while Federal casualties quickly mounted. As the Massachusetts men fell back, they must have broken up the Pennsylvanians’ formation, initiating a general rout. Part of the 2nd Florida and the Georgians could then turn their attention to Weir’s guns, three of which were abandoned. On the right flank, the 5th Florida along with the 9th Alabama drove off the 11th Massachusetts. Meanwhile, the bulk of the Florida brigade retained their organization all the way to the foot of Cemetery Ridge, where they finally encountered stiff resistance in the form of the 19th Maine.

Attachments:
-Draft map showing situation at 6 p.m. (1800), July 2.
-Draft map showing situation at 6:55 p.m., July 2.
-Photograph of 1st Massachusetts monument with their skirmish line position.View attachment 338233

Other notable clashes in the “versus” series:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/4th-maine-versus-44th-alabama-at-devils-den.134499/#post-1539384
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/1st-maryland-battalion-versus-137th-new-york-on-culps-hill.135801/#post-1571162
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/45th-north-carolina-regiment-and-2nd-north-carolina-battalion-versus-149th-pennsylvania-regiment.136170/#post-1580089
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/48th-georgia-regiment-and-2nd-georgia-battalion-versus-82nd-new-york-and-15th-massachusetts.136048/#post-1577410

View attachment 338231

View attachment 338232
Thanks Tom
 
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jameswoods

Private
Joined
Jul 29, 2015
However,

Colonel Baldwin returned to command on July 3rd with his left arm in a sling (a minie ball having passed through his forearm). Sometime during that eventful day he broached the subject of the orders received the previous day with General Carr. Carr denied that he had called for Baldwin to form his men in front of the 26th Pennsylvania; just the reverse, he was to form in its rear in order to prevent the enemy from turning the right flank. Upon being informed which of his aides had given Baldwin the order, Carr described him as a “lunk head.”

Bachelder Papers, Vol. 1, 194
 
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Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Captain Langley, commanding the 12th New Hampshire, received an order to change front to the rear just after his regiment had opened fire on Wilcox. Turning their backs to the enemy at close range proved disastrous, and the order to retreat came immediately afterward, according to Capt. A. W. Bartlett, in History of the Twelfth Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, 1897. Presumably Carr gave that order too.

Normally a Federal brigade commander had a couple of aides. In his official report, Carr noted the "valuable services" provided by his acting aide, Captain George E. Henry (of the 1st Massachusetts). Carr also mentioned that his aide (and acting quartermaster), Lieutenant James Johnson, was "entitled to great credit."

Sometimes an Assistant Adjutant General (AAG) or the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of a brigade might serve as a de facto aide during a battle. In his official report, Carr also gives honorable mentions to his AAG, Captain Le Grand Benedict, and his Acting AIG, Lieutenant John Oldershaw.
 
Last edited:

rpkennedy

Lt. Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
May 18, 2011
Location
Carlisle, PA
However,

Colonel Baldwin returned to command on July 3rd with his left arm in a sling (a minie ball having passed through his forearm). Sometime during that eventful day he broached the subject of the orders received the previous day with General Carr. Carr denied that he had called for Baldwin to form his men in front of the 26th Pennsylvania; just the reverse, he was to form in its rear in order to prevent the enemy from turning the right flank. Upon being informed which of his aides had given Baldwin the order, Carr described him as a “lunk head.”

Bachelder Papers, Vol. 1, 194
Carr wasn't the most competent officer and this rings as CYA to me.

Ryan
 
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Scott Brown

Private
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
The Bachelder Papers that you guys keep citing.....do you have to spring the big dollars to get them or are they available elsewhere?
A full set is difficult to find at any price. Usually you can find single copies of vol 1 and 3 without totally breaking the bank, but completing the set with vol 2 is almost impossible. All you can do is just keep searching on Amazon until you get lucky...

Seems to me the market for a reprint is a good one. They really are fascinating to read.
 

infomanpa

Sergeant Major
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Pennsylvania
A full set is difficult to find at any price. Usually you can find single copies of vol 1 and 3 without totally breaking the bank, but completing the set with vol 2 is almost impossible. All you can do is just keep searching on Amazon until you get lucky...

Seems to me the market for a reprint is a good one. They really are fascinating to read.
That is consistent with what I've heard. The Gettysburg podcast guys recommend that we read them, but didn't mention how difficult that would be! I'm guessing some libraries have them.
 

Andy Cardinal

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Location
Ohio
That is consistent with what I've heard. The Gettysburg podcast guys recommend that we read them, but didn't mention how difficult that would be! I'm guessing some libraries have them.
I was lucky... Got them through Morningside 20 years ago with a set a maps for a somewhat reasonable price.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Joined
Dec 17, 2018
Date/Time/Location: July 2 / 6:50 p. m. / Emmitsburg Road

Participants:
Union:
1st Massachusetts Regiment (deployed as skirmishers) – estimate 18 officers, 303 enlisted men
26th Pennsylvania Regiment – estimate 24 officers, 341 enlisted men
Battery C, 5th U.S. Artillery – six 12-Pounder Napoleons
Confederate:
2nd, 5th, 8th Florida Regiments – estimate 83 officers, 656 enlisted men
2nd Georgia Battalion (detachment) – estimate 35 officers and enlisted men.

Defender’s Advantages:
- Slight breastworks constructed of fence rails.
- Close artillery support.
Attacker’s Advantage:
- Advance partially screened by undulating terrain.

Prologue:
At 6 p.m. on July 2, the 26th Pennsylvania was stationed along the Emmitsburg road north of the Peter Rogers house, with the 1st Massachusetts deployed as skirmishers about 300 yards beyond (west of) that road. The 74th New York joined the right of the 26th Pennsylvania. A six-gun artillery battery (Lieutenant Gulian V. Weir’s) to the right rear provided close support. Colonel David Lang’s brigade, comprising three regiments from Florida, advanced about 6:45 p.m. on July 2. As they passed their skirmish line, some men from the 2nd Georgia Battalion joined their left. At that moment, Barksdale’s brigade was beginning to threaten the left of Brig. Gen. Andrew Humphreys’ line, and it appears the 74th New York was detached to help counter that threat. Thus the initial Federal numerical advantage disappeared, while Weir’s battery was also left exposed.

Accounts:
1. “The enemy’s front line of battle here advanced and opened fire upon my line of skirmishers, which was more than we could stand, especially on our left where the men had no cover, and they were obliged to fall back. They came in splendidly and were highly complimented by Gen. Carr. I was directing the men as they came in to form in rear of the line of battle, that I might be ready to move to the support of any point necessary, but before reaching the brigade line I received an order from a staff officer to form my regiment in “front” of the 26th Pennsylvania Regiment. The order surprised me and thinking I must have misunderstood the order I asked if I was to form in front of the 26th Pennsylvania; the officer replied yes. Still thinking it was wrong, I asked who gave the order, and was told it came from Gen. [Joseph B.] Carr. Thinking that it must be so, but knowing no military rule for such a move I could not understand it, but formed my regiment in obedience to the order. At this time the enemy’s front line of battle appeared on the rise of ground in our front and poured such a terrible volley into our ranks, ‘killing fire,’ and wounding 23 officers and men … we were obliged to give way before much superior odds …” [Colonel Clark B. Baldwin, 1st Massachusetts, Bachelder Papers, 1:193]

2. “Our brigade advanced beautifully. The men soon under fire but driving the Yankees like chaff before us.” [Diary of Lieutenant William P. Pigman, Company H, 8th Florida]

3. “Before the regiment could deliver its volley, the companies about-faced in pursuance of the orders of some stupid general, and executed a right half-wheel under a severe fire … orders were duly transmitted from a blockhead, termed upon the muster-roll a brigadier general, not to discharge a musket, because ‘they would fire upon their own men;’ and the enemy was enabled in this way to cut down the ranks, and diminish the effect of the first volley.” [Three Years in the Army of the Potomac, by Henry N. Blake, late captain in the 11th Massachusetts]

Epilogue:
The 1st Massachusetts should have formed on or behind the 26th Pennsylvania, which could then have delivered a destructive volley upon the attackers. Instead, tactical incompetence on the part of Carr, or else a simple mistake on the part of his staff officer, gave the Confederates a decisive victory. Circumstantial evidence suggests the former, since at the same time and place Carr separately ordered the 11th Massachusetts to turn away from the enemy and wheel backwards. Carr seems to have been one of those officers who became nervous and unhinged in the presence of the enemy, compelling him to issue last-minute orders that in this case proved disastrous. The now disorganized 1st Massachusetts completely blocked the 26th Pennsylvania’s field of fire, while Federal casualties quickly mounted. As the Massachusetts men fell back, they must have broken up the Pennsylvanians’ formation, initiating a general rout. Part of the 2nd Florida and the Georgians could then turn their attention to Weir’s guns, three of which were abandoned. On the right flank, the 5th Florida along with the 9th Alabama drove off the 11th Massachusetts. Meanwhile, the bulk of the Florida brigade retained their organization all the way to the foot of Cemetery Ridge, where they finally encountered stiff resistance in the form of the 19th Maine.

Attachments:
-Draft map showing situation at 6 p.m. (1800), July 2.
-Draft map showing situation at 6:55 p.m., July 2.
-Photograph of 1st Massachusetts monument with their skirmish line position.View attachment 338233

Other notable clashes in the “versus” series:
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/4th-maine-versus-44th-alabama-at-devils-den.134499/#post-1539384
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/1st-maryland-battalion-versus-137th-new-york-on-culps-hill.135801/#post-1571162
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/45th-north-carolina-regiment-and-2nd-north-carolina-battalion-versus-149th-pennsylvania-regiment.136170/#post-1580089
https://civilwartalk.com/threads/48th-georgia-regiment-and-2nd-georgia-battalion-versus-82nd-new-york-and-15th-massachusetts.136048/#post-1577410

View attachment 338231

View attachment 338232
Tom your maps are wonderful!!! Do you sell them? If so, at what cost?
 
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Tom Elmore

2nd Lieutenant
Member of the Year
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Tom your maps are wonderful!!! Do you sell them? If so, at what cost?
Thanks for the kind words. I still plan to have the maps published, but the project is still a work in progress. Input from members on this site, along with additional primary sources, have led to some adjustments when a compelling case is made, or clear evidence surfaces. No one will ever be able to claim a definitive interpretation of the battle, but my goal is gather as many primary sources as possible to achieve a more accurate analysis, while introducing realistic strength and attrition calculations for individual units, and then coordinating the timing of the unfolding battle. A brief accompanying text will help explain the conclusions reached, so future students of the battle can amend the map interpretations as new information comes to light.
 
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