McGilvery's Mystery Battery

jameswoods

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Jul 29, 2015
…a volunteer battery which I have never been able to learn the name of…”

While Captain Bigelow’s 9th Massachusetts was doing its part in holding back Barksdale’s Mississippians, Colonel Freeman McGilvery was desperately setting about creating a line of artillery to backstop the beleaguered Bay Staters.

At approximately 6:55 PM, McGilvery reported that, “...I formed a new line of artillery about 400 yards to the rear, close under the woods, and covering the opening which led into the Gettysburg and Taneytown road, of the following batteries: Battery I, Fifth Regular, and a volunteer battery which I have never been able to learn the name of; three guns of the Fifth Massachusetts and two of Captain Thompson’s Pennsylvania battery....”

However, to McGilvery’s dismay, around the time Barksdale’s skirmishers began to occupy a, “...brook running through low bushes parallel to our front, midway between ours and the enemy’s lines...The unknown volunteer battery, heretofore mentioned, left the field....”

The “unknown” battery referred to by McGilvery was Captain Aaron Walcott’s C, 3rd Massachusetts.

The following describes the unfortunate fate of the 3rd Massachusetts battery which, for a short time, was part of July 2nd’s "McGilvery Line”.

Captain Augustus P. Martin, commander of the 5th Corps’ Artillery Brigade, reported that, “...The artillery entered the field between 4 and 5 p. m. on the 2d instant, three batteries in rear of the First Division, viz: Battery D, Fifth U.S. Artillery, First Lieut. Charles E. Hazlett commanding; Battery C, Massachusetts Artillery, First Lieut. Aaron F. Walcott commanding, and Battery I, Fifth U.S. Artillery, First Lieut. M. F. Watson commanding.”

These guns did not take the same route to the left as did the infantry, however, choosing instead a country lane that branched off from the Granite Schoolhouse road to head generally south-by-south west. Thomas Scott, an artillerist with Hazlett’s battery, described the route the batteries had taken, “...we now went to the left for one mile, then turned to the right, going northwest. When we had gone about two miles we could see our infantry. We went on this road about three miles in all, when we came to a road running north and south. This was back of the Round Tops. Here we halted...."

Captain Martin continued his report, “...Battery C, Massachusetts Artillery and I, Fifth U.S. Artillery were left in rear of the line of battle of the First Division, with instructions to await orders. When positions had been selected and orders sent for the batteries to move to the front, they were not to be found….”

According to John D. Reed, an artillerist in the 3rd Massachusetts and its historian, “...Capt. Martin with three of his staff arrived early in the day, and rode up on Round Top...left one of his staff at the base to put batteries into position, from Plum Run to the Wheat field, but as the air was full of bullets, the staff officers went to cover at the rear of the hill, leaving the batteries to go as they pleased. Gen. Sickles coming along with his corps in the meantime, took the Third and Watson’s United States batteries with him....”

While it is not certain whether it was indeed a 3rd Corp staff officer or some other senior officer, e.g., Colonel McGilvery, responsible for the appropriation of the two Fifth Corps batteries, it is certain that they were moved to an apparent reserve position in the low ground located between the Wheatfield road and Trostle lane, just west of the Joseph Weikert farmhouse, The time of their arrival is fixed by Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain, commanding the 20th Maine, who reported that prior to hurrying off to Little Round Top, he remembered, “...Passing an open field in the hollow ground in which some of our batteries were going into position....” [author’s italics] The 20th​ Maine was the trailing regiment of Vincent’s brigade and in order to be in position on Little Round Top by 4:45 PM it would have passed that piece of real estate no later than 4:30 PM.

The “hollow ground” referred to by Chamberlain is effectively identified by Reed who described the area where they were first placed as one in which there were, “...boulders and marshy ground to contend with.” That kind of terrain is found just to the north and west of the site on which the 3rd Massachusetts Battery’s monument now stands.

That it was the location for the pirated guns is also seconded by Colonel Kenner Garrard, 146th New York (Weed’s brigade), who an hour and a half later reported the brigade was, “...led to the right and front some distance, and formed in line in a narrow valley to support a portion of the Third Corps and Watson’s battery....” Garrard’s recollection that it was Watson’s battery he saw is supported by Chaplain Welch who remembered that the 91st Pennsylvania, “...was then ordered to the right at double-quick to support Battery I of the Fifth U.S. Artillery....”

Interestingly, neither Colonel Garrard nor any other member of Weed’s brigade mentioned seeing Walcott’s 3rd Massachusetts battery, which would have been as observable as Watson’s battery if it had occupied the position on which its monument now rests. The reason they did not see Walcott was because at that time the Massachusetts battery was located farther north, beyond their view. Before getting the opportunity to come abreast of its position, the brigade received orders to countermarch toward Little Round Top. This was the first position assigned to Walcott’s battery on July 2.

The two 5th Corps batteries would remain undisturbed for almost two hours until, shortly after 6:00 PM, Watson’s I, 5th​ U.S. was leapfrogged past Walcott and finally placed into position just north of Trostle lane and on the higher ground east of the farm buildings. Walcott’s guns remained in place, however, potentially commanding the gap between the northern edge of Trostle’s woods and the lane leading to the Trostle farm.

Unfortunately, just as McGilvery was adding the three guns of Captain Phillips’ 5th Massachusetts and Captain Thompson’s C & F Pennsylvania’s two remaining guns to the four guns of Dow’s 6th Maine battery (already in position), Walcott’s four guns were being reclaimed by Captain Martin. Battery C’s participation as a unit in Colonel McGilvery’s line was over.

John Reed, the 3rd Massachusetts battery’s historian, implies that it was Captain Martin, the 5th Corps Artillery Brigade commander, who found Walcott and ordered him back into position almost at the foot of Little Round Top. Martin’s report appears to confirm this interpretation, stating that the battery, “...was found in rear of the Third Corps. The officer commanding reported that he had been ordered there by an officer of General Sickles.” The new position selected for Walcott was not a very good one. Actually, according to Reed, “...It was a bad position to go into, as there were boulders and marshy ground to contend with. A stone wall was in front, and a regiment of regulars lay in its support near the wall.” That description pretty well identifies the location that the 3rd Massachusetts veterans subsequently selected for the placement of their monument and, based on Reed’s account, was the battery’s second position.

Martin was obviously unaware of the threat looming just beyond the belt of woods to the battery’s front. Wofford’s brigade was fast approaching; Phillips’ and Cobb’s legions on the brigade’s left extending into Trostle’s woods as the Georgians swept virtually unopposed down the Wheatfield road. General Barnes, commanding the First Division, Fifth Corps, realizing the danger, ordered the battery out of its hopeless position, exclaiming as he and his staff rode past, “You can’t live in that place five minutes.” (Barnes had, to his anguish, moments before sent Sweitzer’s brigade into the southern end of the Wheatfield just as the Confederate wave was about to crash over it.)

However, before being able to obey the General’s order (by my estimate at about 7:18 PM), the Georgians of Phillips’ and Cobb’s Legions, overran Walcott’s 3rd Massachusetts Battery.

They were into the guns of the battery before the artillerists were able to get off a single shot. According to the battery’s historian, “...Wofford’s Confederate brigade leaped over the wall, driving back the regulars, and demanding the battery to surrender. No one seemed to know where they came from, because they sprang over the wall and came up to the guns so quick...”. Lieutenant Walcott seeing no chance to save his guns ordered them spiked, and one was spiked just as the rebels got to them.”

The guns would remain in Rebel hands for less than half an hour. Yielding to General Longstreet’s order to withdraw, and spurred on by the advance of Colonel David Nevin’s Sixth Corps brigade, the Confederates reluctantly abandoned their captures to the approaching Federals.

Nevin’s brigade advanced left to right in the following order: 139th Pa., 93rd Pa., 62nd NY. The 139th claimed to recover two abandoned Union guns as did the 62nd NY. It’s curious that the 93rd Pennsylvania’s report makes no mention of retaking or overrunning abandoned Union guns. As the center regiment of the brigade, they should have if the guns referred to were all from Walcott’s 3rd Massachusetts. A plausible explanation is that the two Napoleons taken by the 139th’s Company D and the two seized by the 62nd New York were from different commands.

The 139th Pennsylvania had, most likely, charged through Lieutenant Walworth’s abandoned section (L, 1st Ohio) in position just north of the Wheatfield road. Walcott’s 6 guns would have been to the right front of the brigade as it advanced down the slope and across the rough ground separating Houck’s Ridge from Little Round Top. In moving forward, the 62nd New York may have overlapped Walcott’s left section while the track of the 139th and 93rd Pennsylvania carried those regiments to the left of these guns.

The sun had just set as the Confederates reached their high tide at the foot of Little Round Top and now, thirty minutes later, as darkness began to fall, the battery men of C, 3rd Massachusetts returned to retrieve their guns. Their historian noted that Walcott’s guns, “...were drawn out of that position by prolonge....” It is not known where the battery bivouacked for the evening, but most likely not far behind the lines close to the Taneytown road. According to Captain Martin, “…Battery C, Massachusetts Artillery, not having been relieved until about dark, was not put in position with the Fifth Corps”.

The following morning at 3 AM, it, along with Battery C, 1st New York, was ordered to report to Brig. General Howe, Sixth Corp, “…and moved to the extreme left of the line and there remained in position without being engaged until the close of the engagement.” This would be C, 3rd Massachusetts’ third position.

The fact that C, 3rd Massachusetts was removed from the Captain Martin’s Fifth Corps’ Artillery Brigade for the rest of the battle and positioned on the other side of Round Top helps explain why Colonel McGilvery did not come across it again was thus never able to identify that illusive volunteer battery.

O.R. Vol. 27-1, 623, 651, 659, 660, 661, 685, 882, 883
National Tribune, 8-2-94, T. Scott letter
Henry Wilson’s Regiment, J. Parker 312. 313, 314
Bachelder Papers, Vol. 1, 513 Garrard letter
Pa. at Gettysburg, Vol.1, 489, 507, 659
Philadelphia Weekly Times, Aug. 4, 1886
N.Y. at Gettysburg, Vol. 2-471

Attached photos courtesy of Google Earth

Battery C, 3rd Massachusetts first position
The blue cross marks the location of Watson’s battery just north of old road leading from trestle farm, the red cross marks the approximate location of Walcott’s battery in the valley between Weikert’s and Trostle’s woods

Battery C, 3rd Massachusetts second position
Just south of J. Weikert house and east of Wheatfield

Battery C, 3rd Massachusetts third position
About 150 yards east of the Taneytown road on Wright Ave. The 1st Vermont’s lion monument is in the distance.

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Bob Velke

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Jan 25, 2014
…a volunteer battery which I have never been able to learn the name of…”
It is interesting to note that part of Wheatfield Road is labelled by the Park Service with a cast iron tablet (like the one in your avatar) that says it is "McGilvery Artillery Avenue".

This is a post about the subject on one of my blogs.
 
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Tom Elmore

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Interesting analysis involving the positions of Walcott’s Battery C, Third Massachusetts Battery.

Regarding Wofford’s attack, I am of the mind that his men only took control of two guns of the battery. One section evidently escaped eastward down the crossroad, per the following account:

“A section came in from the front and passed through or just to the right of our regiment; it came in on the crossroad passing to the right of Little Round Top.” (Major and Brevet Colonel W. H. H. Gore, 6th Pennsylvania Reserves, May 18, 1889, Sheskequin, Pennsylania, Evan Morrison Woodward Papers, Rutgers University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives, New Brunswick, New Jersey)

The other section also appears to have fallen back and ended up between, and in front of, the 11th and 6th Pennsylvania Reserves as they waited on the north slope of Little Round Top:

“Fragments of regiments came back in disorder and without arms. A section of a German battery, whose horses had all been killed, was abandoned by the gunners immediately in front of the right and left of the Eleventh and Sixth Reserves …” (The Reserves at Gettysburg, Report of the Committee, Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, vol. I, p. 112)

Therefore, I would conclude that the 139th and 62nd Pennsylvania were claiming the same two guns belonging to Walcott.

My attached draft map of 1910 (7:10 p.m.) shows all three sections as described above.
 

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jameswoods

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Tom.

Based on the account by a John Reed, the suddenness of the appearance of the Confederates prevented the Massachusetts artillerists from doing anything other than spiking one gun before taking to their heels. I imagine the battery's limbers were able to get away and their dash down the Wheatfield road may have been what Major Gore, 6th Pennsylvania Reserves, saw (sans guns).

Also, had any of the Walcott's guns managed to get away, I'm pretty sure Reed would have been pleased to note it (CW artillerists were somewhat sensitive about losing their guns even if only temporarily).

Besides battery C, 3rd Massachusetts, there was another section of guns to the right front of the 6th Pennsylvania Reserves, those of Lt. Walworth, L, 1st Oh. These guns were abandoned and left a tempting prize for the left wing regiments of Wofford's brigade.
Colonel Goode Bryan, 16th Georgia, recalled, "...No troops went farther than my 16th Georgia. I was lying with my regiment behind a stone wall at the foot of Round Top, considerably in rear of the enemy’s line on Cemetery Hill (the enemy’s rear, not mine), indeed, so much in rear that I was afraid to allow my men to advance to take possession of a battery of four pieces at the foot of Round Top, from which we had driven the cannoneers, only 100 yards in front of my position, for fear I should be cut off from the division.”
[The Second Day at Gettysburg, L. McLaws, Philadelphia Weekly Times, 8/4/1886]

Was Bryan referring to Walworth's section or to the four guns Barnes' C, 1st New York in position on Munshower's hill a little farther to the rear ?

Despite the reference to a four piece battery, I tend to believe it was Walworth's two guns that he remembered seeing just beyond reach and that they were the guns described in the Pennsylvania at Gettysburg quoted, “Fragments of regiments came back in disorder and without arms. A section of a German battery, whose horses had all been killed, was abandoned by the gunners immediately in front of the right and left of the Eleventh and Sixth Reserves …” (The Reserves at Gettysburg, Report of the Committee, Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, vol. I, p. 112).

Lt. Guthrie, L, 1st Ohio, was in command of Captain Gibbs' left section, in position just in front of the 11th and 6th Pennsylvania Reserves on the northern slope of LRT. This is the section famous for its "German Captain" concerned that he would lose his guns.
The same Pennsylvania at Gettysburg account (page 114) has him thanking the Reserves on the morning of July 3rd, "The Pennsylvana Reserves saved mine pattery, py-----. I gets you fellers all drunk." Reassured by the Pennsylvanians, he hadn't abandoned his guns.

Captain Martin's praise of Guthrie's section, "...First Lieut. H.F. Guthrie and his section deserve special mention for the splendid manner in which the section was served" is in marked contrast with his non mention of Walworth's contribution, indicative of his disappointment with that section's performance.

The attached maps depict the regiments and batteries involved. For clarity purposes these units are shown in neat rectangular formations instead of in the ragged and confused condition that would have had to have existed at this time.

7:20 PM:
Wofford's brigade has just captured Walcott's 3rd Massachusetts battery and is driving Day's and Burbank's regulars back into the Plum Run valley. Sweitzer's brigade is retreating down the Wheatfield road as the Pennsylvania Reserves prepare to go into action.

7:37 PM
Their front clear of retreating troops, the Pennsylvania Reserves advance as does Nevin's brigade on their right.
 

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gettysburgerrn

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Interesting analysis involving the positions of Walcott’s Battery C, Third Massachusetts Battery.

Regarding Wofford’s attack, I am of the mind that his men only took control of two guns of the battery. One section evidently escaped eastward down the crossroad, per the following account:

“A section came in from the front and passed through or just to the right of our regiment; it came in on the crossroad passing to the right of Little Round Top.” (Major and Brevet Colonel W. H. H. Gore, 6th Pennsylvania Reserves, May 18, 1889, Sheskequin, Pennsylania, Evan Morrison Woodward Papers, Rutgers University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives, New Brunswick, New Jersey)

The other section also appears to have fallen back and ended up between, and in front of, the 11th and 6th Pennsylvania Reserves as they waited on the north slope of Little Round Top:

“Fragments of regiments came back in disorder and without arms. A section of a German battery, whose horses had all been killed, was abandoned by the gunners immediately in front of the right and left of the Eleventh and Sixth Reserves …” (The Reserves at Gettysburg, Report of the Committee, Pennsylvania at Gettysburg, vol. I, p. 112)

Therefore, I would conclude that the 139th and 62nd Pennsylvania were claiming the same two guns belonging to Walcott.

My attached draft map of 1910 (7:10 p.m.) shows all three sections as described above.
Great map thanks for sharing!! One question- How did you come up with the deployment of the 12th US regiment? Thanks

Ken
 

Tom Elmore

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Great map thanks for sharing!! One question- How did you come up with the deployment of the 12th US regiment? Thanks

Ken
Ken,

The official report of Capt. Thomas S. Dunn of the 12th U.S. explains their initial movement: "... the brigade advanced through the marsh [Plum Run] to a hill immediately under a wood in front, there forming three lines, the Twelfth U.S. Infantry in rear. The men were ordered to lie down. In this position they were exposed to a severe fire from the enemy's sharpshooters, holding a hill to our left and slightly in our rear."

So the 12th U.S. was in the rear of Day's brigade (and the division), presumably on that little rise just west of Plum Run where they would have been exposed to fire from the Devil's Den and Plum Run valley. In retreating, the 12th first "moved by the right flank [northward] a distance equal to [their] front," quoting Dunn again, then faced by the rear rank (an about-face), and marched back toward the north slope of Little Round Top. When about half-way back, the left wing (shown south of the road) halted and fired, then continued the retreat.

Dunn's description rather narrowly establishes the path taken by the 12th U.S. in their retreat, and I show the remaining wing of the 12th U.S. north of the road because Lt. Col. Moody of the 139th Pennsylvania of Nevin's brigade reported that the "Regulars broke through our line."
 

jameswoods

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Ken,

I no longer have a copy of Timothy J. Reese's excellent, "Sykes Regular Infantry Division 1861-1864 A History of Regular United States Infantry Operations in the Civil War's Eastern Theater" and, in checking its availability I see that copies are scarce to come by and have climbed in price since it was published in 1990.

However, Amazon states the following:

Biography​

Tim Reese was raised in Kettering (Dayton), Ohio. He served 18 years as an exhibits specialist with the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History, Washington DC.

Readers will note that scarce copies of his three out-of-print titles are now prohibitively expensive. Prospective buyers should be aware that all three volumes have been converted to PDF format and are available directly from the author for $50.00 each as email attachments.

The first set of files embraces "Sykes' Regular Infantry Division, 1861-1864: A History of Regular United States Infantry Operations in the Civil War's Eastern Theater" re-edited and updated with additional text and photos, full-color maps and illustrations.

The second set of files combines "Sealed with Their Lives: The Battle of Crampton's Gap, Burkittsville, MD, Sept. 14, 1862" with its strategic supplement, "High-Water Mark: The 1862 Maryland Campaign in Strategic Perspective". This too has been updated with additional photos, full-color maps and illustrations.

Those wishing to acquire either or both these books may do so by contacting the author at [email protected]

Jim
 

lelliott19

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Colonel Goode Bryan, 16th Georgia, recalled, "...No troops went farther than my 16th Georgia. I was lying with my regiment behind a stone wall at the foot of Round Top, considerably in rear of the enemy’s line on Cemetery Hill (the enemy’s rear, not mine), indeed, so much in rear that I was afraid to allow my men to advance to take possession of a battery of four pieces at the foot of Round Top, from which we had driven the cannoneers, only 100 yards in front of my position, for fear I should be cut off from the division.”
[The Second Day at Gettysburg, L. McLaws, Philadelphia Weekly Times, 8/4/1886]

Was Bryan referring to Walworth's section or to the four guns Barnes' C, 1st New York in position on Munshower's hill a little farther to the rear ?
I'd sure like to know for certain which battery Goode Bryan was referencing. :unsure:
 

lelliott19

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the suddenness of the appearance of the Confederates prevented the Massachusetts artillerists from doing anything other than spiking one gun before taking to their heels.
Here is that account as published in Henry Wilson's Regiment
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Parker, John Lord. Henry Wilson's Regiment: History of the Twenty-second Massachusetts Infantry, the Second Company Sharpshooters, and the Third Light Battery, in the War of the Rebellion, 1887. pp. 313-314.
 
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gettysburgerrn

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I know this is probably not the right place for this question (as I am unsure where is)...was a biography of Romeyn Ayers ever written? or does anyone know a good articvle about him...he seems like a pretty interesting guy....thanks in advance

ken
 

gettysburgerrn

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Thanks for the info on Reese's book on the Regulars. Someone was nice enough to let me borrow their copy - byt the way..I saw a new copy on Amazon....for 919.00...lol

Ken
 

Scott F

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This is the rock wall General Wofford mentioned to McLaws that they advanced to. It is the same wall that Col. Bryan of the 16th Georgia also claimed was their advanced position. The photograph was taken in 1867 just 4 years after the battle and runs parallel to modern Sedwick Ave. Just out frame to the left and about 100 yards beyond the wall was Captain Gibbs' right section of his battery consisting of two guns commanded by Lt. Walworth. His left section commanded by Lt. Guthrie was positioned on the northern slope of LRT (where their monument now stands), again just out of frame. There was, however, another section of a different battery also on the other side of the Wheatfield Road but closer to the wall than Gibbs' left section. Given that Walcott's right section was recaptured by the 62nd New York where their monument (the 62nd's) now stands and the 139th PA recaptured Walcott's middle section at the crossroads (where the 139th and Battery C monuments are located) it stands to reason that Walcott's left section was originally posted south of the Wheatfield Road in the Valley of Death. They however would have been in the field of fire of Gibbs' right section and therefore may have been moved back further to the foot of LRT, just as Tom Elmore suspected.

Tyson 555.jpg
 

Scott F

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Lt. Page from the 3rd U.S. Infantry wrote about his experience as they retreated across the Plum Run Valley.

As we were falling back, we saw the battery and officers at the base of Round Top waving their hats for us to hurry up. We realized that they wished to use canister, so took up the double-quick. As I was crossing the swampy ground. Captain Freedley, 3d U. S., was shot in the leg, fell against me, and knocked me down. When I got the mud out of my eyes, I saw the artillery men waving their hats to lie low. I got behind a boulder with a number of my men when the battery opened with canister. The rebels came from all directions for the guns, and lost all formation. They waved their battle-flags — a dozen being just in front of me. They- came to where we were when a number were shot down ; then they recoiled, and retreated through the wheat field and woods. To my right and rear, among the rocks, I could see a twelve-pounder mountain howitzer at work. A soldier asked me what kind of a gun it was ; he said it kicked over at every discharge. When the guns in our rear ceased firing, I saw a line of troops wearing the Sixth Corps badge. I was going back to see them, when Colonel Penrose, 15th New Jersey Volunteers, rode down to me and shook hands. The battery men called to us to get out of the way. I ran to the left of the battery and met the ' bucktails ' just coming over the ridge on the road, in columns of fours.

What Lt. Page had seen was not a "mountain howitzer" but one of the guns from Gibbs' right section. Lt. Gildea commanding the middle section (held in reserves) explained,

We could only use the 3 guns as one of the right sections could not be fired on account of the rocks around it caused hot recoil and jumped straight up, but we fired 90 rounds of canister in that little fight and although under fire of shot and shell and bullet, all the next day we took no active part but lay there to meet a charge which we never received after that.
 

lelliott19

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Lt. Page from the 3rd U.S. Infantry wrote about his experience as they retreated across the Plum Run Valley.

As we were falling back, we saw the battery and officers at the base of Round Top waving their hats for us to hurry up. We realized that they wished to use canister, so took up the double-quick. As I was crossing the swampy ground. Captain Freedley, 3d U. S., was shot in the leg, fell against me, and knocked me down. When I got the mud out of my eyes, I saw the artillery men waving their hats to lie low. I got behind a boulder with a number of my men when the battery opened with canister. The rebels came from all directions for the guns, and lost all formation. They waved their battle-flags — a dozen being just in front of me. They- came to where we were when a number were shot down ; then they recoiled, and retreated through the wheat field and woods. To my right and rear, among the rocks, I could see a twelve-pounder mountain howitzer at work. A soldier asked me what kind of a gun it was ; he said it kicked over at every discharge. When the guns in our rear ceased firing, I saw a line of troops wearing the Sixth Corps badge. I was going back to see them, when Colonel Penrose, 15th New Jersey Volunteers, rode down to me and shook hands. The battery men called to us to get out of the way. I ran to the left of the battery and met the ' bucktails ' just coming over the ridge on the road, in columns of fours.

What Lt. Page had seen was not a "mountain howitzer" but one of the guns from Gibbs' right section. Lt. Gildea commanding the middle section (held in reserves) explained,

We could only use the 3 guns as one of the right sections could not be fired on account of the rocks around it caused hot recoil and jumped straight up, but we fired 90 rounds of canister in that little fight and although under fire of shot and shell and bullet, all the next day we took no active part but lay there to meet a charge which we never received after that.
Thanks for sharing these accounts. Could you share the source of the quote from Lt. Gildea? And does it include information about earlier activity of Gibbs'?
 

Scott F

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A Magnificent Irishman from Appalachia: The Letters of Lt. James Gildea, First Ohio Light Artillery, Battery L Pg. 64-65.

We came behind them and taking fire arrived on the file in the rear of Little Round Top. Could not find the Chief, Capt. Martin, to direct us where to go.

Captain Gibbs told me to accompany him and we rode out in front where we found Genl. Sykes with about 1200 regulars. As we rode up to the General, Captain Gibbs requested to know where he was wanted as he could not find the Chief. Syke looked around for a moment, replied, "Captain choose your own position to cover this front. I leave it to yourself'. As we turned, Gibbs said, "James, you place the left on the side of that slope, I will place the right here and you take the center. Place them about fifty yards in the rear and do not fire a shot until we are all captured".

After showing Guthrie his location and going to my own, I found the ground covered with scrub and brush which I directed them men to cut down so as to give a clear view to the front. While engaged in this, Corpl. John W. Craig said, "Lieutenant, what troops are those coming up behind us"? As there was considerable smoke and haze in the air, I could not see very clear and as the road was sunken so that nothing was to be seen but their guns and flag, which was furled up, I mistook it for an Irish Flag and I replied that it must be the 9th Mass., Col. Cass's old command, I did not look further but the head of the column swung around us and came on the regulars who did not see them until they received a volley which sent the remainder of them up to my section where they formed a support.

This was Wilcox's Division, who having driven the 3rd Corps back to the Baltimore Road, were try to find their way back to their own lines and having opened a passage through the regulars now swing out in front and not more than 70 or 80 feet from the front of our four advanced guns.

Seeing how things were, I directed my men to carry canister to the left section as the rapid fire now going on would soon exhaust the supply in the limbers, the caissons not being yet up.

As soon as our boys opened double shot canister (54, 4 oz. ball) the rebs dropped on their face behind the rocks which were here in plenty and never raised until driven out by the charge of the 9th Penna. Reserves, Col. Fisher, Commdg. When Fisher passed my guns, he became a little excited for fear that the rebs would get our front guns before he arrived, so his men fired one volley through our men by which 2 of our men, Harri'son Massie and Asa Kline were wounded. Lieutenant Guthrie yelled to him to charge or cease firing, so he advanced and drove the rebs out of their holes which ended the fight there.

When Fisher charged, I looked back for the first time and found 6 lines of battle in the rear of my guns The Sixth Corps had arrived and Genl. Sedgwich was standing between the two' guns. When I saluted him he remarked that we had got work and done splendid by holding the ground against such a force. An opinion which our Corps Commander. Genl. Sykes, corroborated that night by sending for Gibbs and told him he should have the credit of saving that Part of the line in his official report. Our General did not allow an Army correspondent in this Corps. He wanted only a wax officer record.

We could only use the 3 guns as one of the right sections could not be fired on account of the rocks around it caused hot recoil and jumped straight up, but we fired 90 rounds of canister in that little fight and although under fire of shot and shell and bullet, all the next day we took no active part but lay there to meet a charge which we never received after that.
 
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