LC Civil War Maps (2nd ed. The first day was a Confederate victory, but the Union was able to maintain the high ground. Casualties in this early contest were severe for both sides and though the Union army had lost one of its most distinguished generals, the Confederates had suffered more than their Union counterparts. Heavy fighting in Herbst's Woods (near the Lutheran Theological Seminary) and on Oak Ridge finally caused the Union line to collapse. The three Union regiments lost 390–440 of 1,184 engaged, but they had blunted Davis's attack, prevented them from striking the rear of the Iron Brigade, and so overwhelmed the Confederate brigade that it was unable to participate significantly in combat for the rest of the day. Major General George G. Meade was ordered to take command of the army. Meredith had just ordered the first regiment of the brigade, the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry, to deploy into battle line when the first volley from Archer's men struck them from the edge of the woods. On the morning of July 1, advance units of the forces came into contact with one another just outside of Gettysburg. Whether he was fully ready or not, Lee had been drawn into battle and Meade was prepared to fight it to the finish at Gettysburg. As pressure eventually increased, Wainwright ordered his 17 remaining guns to gallop down Chambersburg Street, three abreast. Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard was surveying the area from the roof of the Fahnestock Brothers' dry-goods store downtown at about 11:30[24] when he heard that Reynolds had been killed and that he was now in command of all Union forces on the field. Gen. J. Johnston Pettigrew and Col. John M. Brockenbrough, had arrived on the scene, as had the division (four brigades) of Maj. Gen. Dorsey Pender, also from Hill's Corps. The general turned toward Seminary Ridge to see what troops and officers were following, when he suddenly slumped in his saddle. George Doles' brigade of Georgia troops sparred with Schurz's Eleventh Corps positioned in the fields north of Gettysburg. "II" in the upper right margin. The commander of the 147th New York, Lt. Col. Francis C. Miller, was shot before he could inform his troops of the withdrawal, and they remained to fight under heavy pressure until a second order came. Rodes, Heth, and Early attack, 2:00–4:00 p.m. Thanking Hancock for his services, Meade set about planning for the next day's battle. Within a few minutes he was startled by the report of a blue-clad column approaching Gettysburg from the south. Well-liked by General Lee, (Heth was the only Confederate officer Lee addressed by his first name), the plucky general was uncertain of what lay ahead of him, be it Pennsylvania militia or troops from the Army of the Potomac, so he ordered his lead unit to deploy in a skirmish line and drive away the blue-clad troopers. [39] It had nine color bearers shot down, and its commander, Col. Henry A. Morrow, was wounded in the head and captured. Overview of the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863. Early did not tarry for long in Gettysburg, but moved on toward York and Columbia where he was stopped by Pennsylvania militia that burned the bridge over the Susquehanna River. The Confederates applie… They were able to pour enfilading fire from both ends of the cut, and many Confederates considered surrender. The private citizens of Gettysburg panicked amidst the turmoil, and artillery shells bursting overhead and fleeing refugees added to the congestion. Brandy Station -- 2nd Winchester -- Aldie -- Middleburg -- Upperville -- Sporting Hill -- Hanover -- Gettysburg (1st day) -- Gettysburg (2nd day) -- Gettysburg (3rd day) -- Carlisle -- Hunterstown -- Fairfield -- Monterey Pass -- Williamsport -- Boonsboro -- Funkstown -- Manassas Gap. Stuart were still out of the area, on a wide-ranging raid to the northeast. Howard recalled that he selected this line as a logical continuation of the I Corps line formed on his left. General Abner Doubleday, having assumed command of the First Corps upon the death of General Reynolds, arranged his troops in a defensive line starting on McPherson's Ridge. Two of the three divisions of the First Corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, arrived in the morning. Union cavalry outposts north of the town detected both movements. Hancock immediately set out for the battlefield. The job was given to the 5th Alabama Infantry Battalion, which advanced in good order and quickly encountered groups of cavalrymen who fired on them from the protection of fences and trees. Lee's argument was reasonable to Jefferson Davis and though the Confederate president was nervous about Richmond not being fully protected by Lee's forces, he approved the plan. Outnumbered, low on ammunition and with his rear threatened, there was nothing more Doubleday could achieve by holding Seminary Ridge. Upon reaching the edge of Gettysburg, scouts spied a column of Union cavalry south of town, closing fast. The flamboyant Hooker had rebuilt morale and discipline in the army after the disastrous "Mud March" in the winter of 1863, and in late April brilliantly moved the bulk of his forces around Lee's army concentrated at Fredericksburg. Forward for God's sake, and drive those fellows out of the woods," he fell from his horse, killed instantly by a bullet striking him behind the ear. 23,055Killed: 3,155Wounded: 14,531Missing or captured: 5,369, 23,231Killed: 4,708Wounded:12,693Missing or captured: 5,830. As the Union line neared the Confederates, its flanks became folded back and it took on the appearance of an inverted V. When the Union men reached the railroad cut, vicious hand-to-hand and bayonet fighting broke out. "Of course there is no end of milk and butter which our soldiers enjoy hugely." [47], On the left flank of the XI Corps, the attack focused on Gen. Schimmelfennig's division. Determined to stand their ground. "I have been tried and condemned", the surprised general remarked after receiving word of his appointment. Seeing his opportunity, General Doles sent his brigade forward and the two wings of the Confederate column came together around "Barlow's Knoll". )[43], Making the Federal defense more difficult, Barlow advanced farther north than Schimmelfennig's division, occupying a 50-foot (15 m) elevation above Rock Creek named Blocher's Knoll (known today as Barlow's Knoll). In more than twelve hours of fighting, approximately 16,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or captured during the first day of battle. With a casual salute, Reynolds rode off to hurry his troops forward. Responsibility for the failure of the Confederates to make an all-out assault on Cemetery Hill on July 1 must rest with Lee. [2] He decided to utilize three ridges west of Gettysburg: Herr Ridge, McPherson Ridge, and Seminary Ridge (proceeding west to east toward the town). Under orders from General Lee not to get involved in a full scale battle, Hill and his officers obviously believed that only troublesome militia were in their way. Gen. Alexander Schimmelfennig was one such person who climbed a fence and hid behind a woodpile in the kitchen garden of the Garlach family for the rest of the three-day battle. The 16th Maine started the day with 298 men, but at the end of this holding action there were only 35 survivors. TS: The first shot of the Battle of Gettysburg is said to have been fired by a Union cavalry officer at 7:30 A.M. on July 1, 1863 along the Chambersburg Turnpike three miles west of the town. Some soldiers sought to avoid capture by hiding in basements and in fenced backyards. Scott Eastwood narrates this educational AR 360-degree experience from QuantumERA. God helping us, we will stay here till the Army comes. Meanwhile other Confederate forces had occupied a large area of south central Pennsylvania and some had even closed on Harrisburg, threatening the state capitol. Pender was oddly passive during this phase of the battle; the typically more aggressive tendencies of a young general in Lee's army would have seen him move forward on his own accord. Many of the regiment were taken prisoner, including its commander Colonel Tilden. Early approached on the Harrisburg Road. A longtime Gettysburg historian offers a detailed account. Supported by Maj. General William Pender's division, Heth sent his two remaining brigades forward to hit a re-enforced line posted behind strong farm fences and in the woods above Willoughby Run. Parts of the corps conducted an organized fighting retreat, such as Coster's stand in the brickyard. Numerous historians and proponents of the Lost Cause movement (most prominently Jubal Early, despite his own reluctance to support an attack at the time) have speculated how the more aggressive Stonewall Jackson would have acted on this order if he had lived to command this wing of Lee's army, and how differently the second day of battle would have proceeded with Confederate artillery on Cemetery Hill, commanding the length of Cemetery Ridge and the Federal lines of communications on the Baltimore Pike. Not only were Lee's intentions perplexing Hooker, his relationship with War Department officials in Washington had become almost hostile. Completely frustrated by the mistrust and lack of support from War Department officials, General Hooker requested to be relieved of command, which was quickly granted. Yet, indecision seemed to strike General Hooker again. [1], General Buford realized the importance of the high ground directly to the south of Gettysburg. To the left of the Iron Brigade was the brigade of Col. Chapman Biddle, defending open ground on McPherson Ridge, but they were outflanked and decimated. Three miles (5 km) west of town, about 7:30 a.m., Heth's two brigades met light resistance from cavalry vedettes and deployed into line. From the left, the brigades were Schimmelfennig's (under Col. George von Amsberg), Col. Włodzimierz Krzyżanowski, Brig. Pegram. The brigade withdrew, all except for one regiment, the 16th Maine Infantry. What began as an orderly retreat soon turned into a confused race through Gettysburg as soldiers trotted through unfamiliar streets and alleys while other lost souls ploughed into the crowd from intersecting streets. But like every endeavor, step one is the most crucial and initial errors are often very difficult to overcome. The coolness, self possession, and discipline which held back our men from pouring a general volley saved a hundred lives of the enemy, and as my mind goes back to the fearful excitement of the moment, I marvel at it. [11] While the general rode his horse along the east end of Herbst Woods, shouting "Forward men! General Paul was horribly wounded when a bullet struck him in the face, passing through both eyes. The officer replied not a word, but promptly handed me his sword, and his men, who still held them, threw down their muskets. The commander of the mystery column was Brig. On the Union side, Meade arrived after midnight. Howard climbed to the roof of a building in Gettysburg where he spotted some Union troops break through the woods on Seminary Ridge and run toward town. Behind him, a wisp of wind revealed a red banner. Hill's remaining division (Maj. Gen. Richard H. Anderson) did not arrive until late in the day. This time Rodes was more successful, mostly because Early coordinated an attack on his flank. His army's movement north of the Potomac River would not only force the Union Army out of Virginia, but hopefully also draw Union troops away from the ongoing siege of Vicksburg. John Reynolds was the highest ranking officer of either side to lose his life at Gettysburg and was the general who had recommended General Meade to replace General Hooker in command of the Army of the Potomac. Davis's line overlapped the right of Cutler's, making the Union position untenable, and Wadsworth ordered Cutler's regiments back to Seminary Ridge. Setting out early that morning, Ewell's 8,500 troops closed in on Gettysburg from the north and northeast. On the morning of June 30, a Confederate column under Brigadier General James J. Pettigrew approached Gettysburg on the Chambersburg Road. [18], The men of the three regiments nevertheless faced daunting fire as they charged toward the cut. When Archer was taken to the rear, he encountered his former Army colleague Gen. Doubleday, who greeted him good-naturedly, "Good morning, Archer! A thunderous roar of artillery announced his arrival as ranks of southern infantry set out across Rock Creek. With his artillery unlimbered and ready to fire, Heth ordered his two lead infantry brigades under Brig. Seating himself by the light of a candle in his tent, Lee pondered the day's events. Christ Lutheran Church on Chambersburg Street was one of the first churches in Gettysburg to be used as a hospital. "[19] Dawes later described what happened next:[20]. There was no alternative but to retreat through Gettysburg to Cemetery Hill. He waited for nearly a week before ordering his troops to break camp and then marched cautiously northward, keeping his army between Washington and the suspected Confederate route of march. As the Confederates crossed Willoughby Run and climbed the slope into Herbst Woods, they were enveloped on their right by the longer Union line, the reverse of the situation north of the pike. Based on the first day's fighting, Lee was convinced he could defeat Meade at Gettysburg. At one point Dawes took up the fallen flag before it was seized from him by a corporal of the color guard. Seeing that a major assault was underway, he lifted his restriction on a general engagement and gave permission to Hill to resume his attacks from the morning. His five regiments of 1,400 North Carolinians were virtually annihilated in one of the fiercest artillery barrages of the war, rivaling Pickett's Charge to come, but on a more concentrated scale. Fighting also erupted in fields north of the McPherson Farm, where Davis' Brigade of Mississippi and North Carolina regiments routed part of General Lysander Cutler's Union brigade. Gen. Gabriel R. Paul. But Federal troops held the high ground as more reinforcements were still arriving. Anything that was of use to the southern army was quickly inventoried and carried away, much to the dismay of Federal authorities. Borrowing a carbine from his sergeant, the lieutenant took aim at a mounted figure in front of the column and fired. After Johnson's division arrived via the Chambersburg Pike, it maneuvered toward the east of town in preparation to take the hill, but a small reconnaissance party sent in advance encountered a picket line of the 7th Indiana Infantry, which opened fire and captured a Confederate officer and soldier. The XI Corps arrived from the south before noon, moving up the Taneytown and Emmitsburg Roads. Hill. He used troops of General Robinson's Division to extend the line northward on Oak Ridge, which is the northern extension of Seminary Ridge, and then sent an aide to find General Howard to report his position. The regiment, commanded by Col. Charles Tilden, returned to the stone wall on the Mummasburg Road, and their fierce fire gave sufficient time for the rest of the brigade to escape, which they did, in considerably more disarray than those from the Seminary. Heth deployed no cavalry and led, unconventionally, with the artillery battalion of Major William J. By early afternoon, the Union XI Corps had arrived, and the Union position was in a semicircle from west to north of the town. Most historians agree that the Battle of Gettysburg on 1-3 July 1863, when a Confederate army attacking the North was defeated by Union troops, was the turning point of the Civil War. What to do about this column of soldiers would be the decision of his corps commander, General A.P. The southerners spotted by Jones' picket post were veteran troops of Major General Henry Heth's division, leading the march toward Gettysburg that morning. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren, chief engineer of the Army of the Potomac, inspected the ground and concurred with Hancock. Riding behind the 2nd Wisconsin, General Reynolds cheered the men on as they scrambled into the woods. James A. The Battle of Gettysburg (locally /ˈɡɛtɨsbɜrɡ/ , with an ss sound), was fought July 1–3, 1863. Junius Daniel and Dodson Ramseur. Coster's battle line just north of the town in a brickyard was overwhelmed by Hays and Avery. Within a half-hour, the vanguard of Reynolds' corps arrived near the Seminary and moved toward the McPherson Farm, while more soldiers filed into the field west of the school building. [60], As the Union troops climbed Cemetery Hill, they encountered the determined Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock. The Wisconsin men paused at the fence along the pike and fired, which halted Davis's attack on Cutler's men and caused many of them to seek cover in the unfinished railroad cut. 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