National Park Service black bar with arrowhead logo
History and Culture
   
 
Gettysburg Seminar Papers

MR. LINCOLN'S ARMY:
The Army of the Potomac in the Gettysburg Campaign
 

"UNION ARTILLERY ON JULY 3"
Bert Barnett

The early afternoon of July 3, 1863, was hot, humid and uncomfortable. With the temperature destined to reach 87 degrees by 2 p.m., [1] soldiers of the Army of the Potomac lay sprawled about Cemetery Ridge, seeking whatever relief could be found from their enemy of the moment, the unrelenting summer sun. Some had erected crude shelters, using muskets and shelter-halves to escape the direct rays beaming down upon them. [2] These proved of dubious value, and many of the men had simply gone to sleep. As Lt. Frank Haskell, ADC to General John Gibbon, recalled:

We dozed in the heat, and lolled upon the ground, with half open yes...A great lull rests upon the field. Time was heavy; - and for want of something to do, I yawned and looked at my watch; - It was five minutes before one o'clock. I returned my watch to its pocket, and thought possibly that I might go to sleep, and stretched myself out accordingly.

A sharp report abruptly interrupted his sleep:

What sound was that? -There was no mistaking it!- The distinct sharp sound of one of the enemy's guns, square over to the front, caused us to open our eyes and turn them in that direction, when we saw directly above the crest the smoke of the bursting shell, and heard its noise.-In an instant, before a word was spoken, as if that were the signal gun for general work, loud, startling, booming, the report of gun after gun, in rapid succession, smote our ears, and their shells plunged down and exploded all around us.- We sprang to our feet.- In briefest time the whole Rebel line to the West, was pouring out its thunder and iron upon our devoted crest. [3]

In preparation for General James Longstreet's large-scale infantry assault to follow, a massive cannonade of nearly 150 Confederate artillery pieces, designed to cripple the Union artillery and clear the way for the infantry, had begun. [4] How effective would the Union artillery response to this challenge be? In large part, victory or defeat rested upon whether the Union gunners could hold their own against this onslaught.

Meade's Defense, Bg. Hunt's fire support coordination plan 03 July 1863 (click on image for a PDF version)

Confederate General Robert E. Lee knew the value of artillery upon high ground in a defensive situation. His experiences at Malvern Hill, in defeat, and at Chancellorsville, in victory, had shown him the tremendous power of artillery massed against infantry. As he now prepared an infantry attack against positions well-covered by artillery, he knew the Yankee batteries must be reduced for his assault to succeed. He issued orders to his artillery commanders that reflected this. Colonel Edward Porter Alexander, acting chief of artillery for Longstreet's corps, remarked that:

My orders were as follows. First, to give the enemy the most effective cannonade possible. It was not meant simply to make a noise, but to try and cripple him-to tear him limbless, as it were, if possible...[T]hen further, I was to "advance such artillery as [could be used] in aiding the attack." [5]

With proper concert of action between the Confederate artillery, hammering away at the Union guns and the Confederate infantry breaking the Union infantry line, success was deemed possible. Much depended upon neutralizing the Federal guns.

On the late morning of the 3rd of July the Federal artillery line extended nearly two miles in length, from Little Round Top, north to the area of Cemetery Hill. Deployed on this position were some twenty-six batteries, representing 132 guns. In the rear of the line, in the reserve park, were twenty more batteries with 112 more pieces. [6]

A Union battery in line, showing proper positions and spacing for crew members, limbers, caissons and horses.

The types of guns in this line, as well as the other artillery employed by the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, were rifled or smoothbore muzzle-loaders (Map 1). While the ammunition was not interchangeable between them, four basic types of ammunition were used: solid shot, common shell, case shot, and canister.

Solid shot, known as "bolts" in rifled guns, were useful against structures or enemy gun carriages. They could also be used effectively against massed troops, to demoralize and weaken infantry units at long range.

Two types of exploding shells, common shell and case shot, or shrapnel, were available for antipersonnel use. While shells could be fired at targets a mile distant, they were much more effective at intermediate ranges of approximately 1200 yards down to 600. Both were hollow, cast-iron projectiles containing a bursting charge of powder ignited by a fuse or percussion primer. [7] Depending upon the nature of the intended target, the shell would burst on contact or in the immediate area, and scatter fragments about. Common shells were also useful for igniting fires, and were the ammunition of choice when attempting to burst an enemy's limbers or caissons during counter-battery fire.

Where common shells contained only a bursting charge, case shot also contained a handful of round lead musket-balls. This improved the efficiency of the exploding shell as an antipersonnel round at intermediate distances. For close-up work of 500 yards or less, however, canister was the ammunition of choice. As the name suggests, a canister round was a tin can containing a number of round metal balls (27 cast-iron roughly golf-ball size in a 12-pounder smoothbore, [8] 110 lead large marble-size in a rifled pieces). [9] Upon firing, the tin can was blown apart and the individual balls flew freely out the muzzle of the gun. Canister was the last-ditch defensive round in the artillery service, as the range of an infantryman's rifle-musket was approximately 500 yards.

With the exception of canister rounds, all other projectiles fired from smoothbore pieces were round. As they were fired, a smoothbore would "ring" as well as boom, producing a secondary sound not unlike that of a church bell. This was the result of the loose-fitting projectile literally bouncing its way out the barrel. This loose fit, while helpful in the loading, cost the smoothbore somewhat in accuracy.

The most popular smooth-bore field-piece was made of cast bronze. The twelve pounder, Model 1857 "Napoleon" had developed a reputation among artillerists as a fine weapon. A Napoleon could throw an exploding shell a considerable distance - nearly a mile. Napoleons were often preferred for closer range work, as their larger 4.62 inch diameter bores meant that more metal went downrange with each shot. Another advantage of the smoothbore was that it fired canister rounds more accurately than a rifled gun. [10] As they did in the Confederate artillery at Gettysburg, Napoleons constituted 39% of the Union artillery forces. [11]

Rifled field guns had smaller bores, usually 3 inches in diameter. These guns were primarily made of cast or wrought iron. Since the shells were designed to more tightly fit the rifled bore of the gun at firing, they were accurate at longer distances.

Typical of the rifled artillery piece was the wrought iron 3" Ordnance Rifle. Capable of throwing an exploding shell over a mile at an elevation of 5 degrees, it was an effective weapon. 3" Ordnance Rifles made up 41% of the Federal artillery force at Gettysburg. [12]

To maximize the power of these guns, 360 in all, the Union artillery at Gettysburg employed the brigade system. In this system, each brigade contained from four to six batteries, under the direct control of the corps artillery chief. A battery consisted of six guns, ideally all of the same type. The battery was divided into three two-gun sections. Each gun was provided with its own limber and caisson, stocked with ammunition. A battery wagon for spare parts also followed each gun. Five officers and one hundred and fifty enlisted men maintained and operated this equipment, and 110 horses were provided to move it. [13]

A gun detachment required nine men to load and fire a gun, with each cannoneer performing a specific set of functions. [14] Cross-training within artillery units allowed cannoneers to work a battery with reduced numbers. However, the specialized nature of artillery duties meant that heavier casualties could seriously cripple a battery. Units might be forced to cannibalize gun crews, thus reducing the number of guns available for service. [15] In times of imminent crisis, a battery commander could recruit infantry volunteers to help fill his depleted ranks. [16]

There had been several moments of imminent crisis during the fighting on 2 July, and they had taken their toll on the Federal artillery. Approximately forty batteries with the Army of the Potomac had been engaged this day, reinforced by fifteen of the nineteen available Reserve units. [17] From Devil's Den, where three guns had been taken from Captain James E. Smith's 4th New York battery, [18] north toward the crest of Cemetery Hill, it had been an exhausting fight for many artillerists. As Longstreet's lines had swept to the northeast, batteries had been hurriedly positioned to fill gaps in the Union position. About 2:30 in the afternoon, Captain John Bigelow's six 12-pound Napoleons of the 9th Massachusetts moved from the Reserve to the left to reinforce Major General Daniel Sickles' threatened Third Corps. Going into position under fire, they were soon fighting desperately as the Confederates pressed their attack.

As Captain Bigelow recalled:

Waiting till they (the Confederate infantry) were breast high, my battery was discharged at them, every gun loaded to the muzzle with double shotted canister and solid shot,...they were torn and broken, but still advancing, again gun after gun was fired as fast as possible and enfilading their line when it could... The enemy opened a fearful musketry fire, men and horses were falling like hail... The enemy crowded to the very muzzles of Lieut. Erickson's and Whitaker's sections, but were blown away by the canister. Sergeant after Sergt. was struck down,... bullets now came in on all sides for the enemy had turned my flanks. [M]y men kept up a rapid fire, with their guns each time loaded to the muzzle.

A Federal battery readying for action.

The 9th Massachusetts battery lost six out of seven sergeants, a third of its men, and sixty-eight of eighty-eight horses on the 2nd. It had expended, in addition to its shot and shell, 92 of the 96 rounds of canister it had entered the fight with. Although four of its guns were taken, they were reclaimed that evening. [19] The battery, however, was shattered.

Another hard-hit unit was Lt. Malbone F. Watson's Battery I, 5th U. S. Artillery, assigned to the Fifth Corps artillery brigade of Capt. Augustus P. Martin. Hastily commandeered by "some unknown officer of the Third Corps", the battery was thrust into the fight... "without support of any kind." The enemy appeared shortly-say twenty minutes-after taking position, nearly in front, at a distance of about 350 yards, and the battery immediately opened upon them with shell. As they approached nearer, the battery poured in canister, some twenty rounds, until men and horses were shot down or disabled to such an extent that the battery was abandoned.

While recaptured later that evening, [20] Battery I and other units had been roughly handled on the 2nd. Lt. Col. Freeman McGilvery's Reserve Artillery Brigade and Captain John G. Hazard's Second Corps batteries had been shaken and some reduced to working four guns. [21]

The Artillery had taken losses in officers as well. Captain George E. Randolph, Chief of Artillery of the Third Corps, and Capt. Dunbar Ransom of the Regular Reserve had been wounded, commanding their respective artillery brigades. Captain Charles E. Hazlett, of Battery D, 5th U.S. Artillery, was killed on the crest of Little Round Top that afternoon. One other battery commander had been killed, and eight more wounded. [22] There had also been considerable losses in material and ammunition. Lieutenant Cornelius Gillett, ordnance officer of the Artillery Reserve, reported that the ammunition train of the Artillery Reserve was actively engaged

...supplying ammunition to the batteries of this corps, and by General Hunt's direction, to those of other corps. On the evening of the 2nd, I...was kept busy the entire night sending out wagons and issuing to batteries. [23]

According to Lt. Gillett, the total of rounds issued to the artillery from the Reserve train numbered 19,189. [24] Interestingly, more of it went to supply the trains of the Second, Third and Eleventh Corps artillery than to Lt. Col. McGilvery's Reserve batteries, for whom it was intended. [25] Some of this need was artificial. The Second and Third Corps, in their rush to arrive on the battlefield, had lost contact with part or all of their ammunition trains. [26]

Henry Hunt

In spite of the casualties inflicted on it during the second day's fighting, the Federal artillery was still a powerful portion of the Army of the Potomac. While some of this power was attributable to external factors such as position and number of guns, much was due to internal changes which magnified its power and effectiveness on the battlefield. These command and organizational revisions were the product of two things: bitter battlefield experience, and the restoration of his command authority in the field to long-suffering Chief of Artillery Henry Hunt.

Henry Jackson Hunt was a professional artillerist. Both the son and the grandson of Regular Army officers, Hunt attended West Point. [27] He graduated on 21 June, 1839, standing 19th in a class of thirty-one. Members of his class included such notables as Edward Ord, James B. Ricketts, Isaac Stevens and Henry W. Halleck. [28] Following graduation, he returned to Detroit to begin his field service as a member of a heavy-artillery unit, Co. F of the 2nd U.S. Regiment. [29] Hunt served in a variety of posts prior to the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, where he won brevet promotions to Captain and Major. [30]

During the inter-war years, Hunt took up the cause of improving and professionalizing the artillery service. [31] This was to become his calling - and his life's work. Artillery had traditionally been viewed as something of a stepchild of military technology, and never fully appreciated for its potential. Hunt saw that with proper application and training, artillery might prove a potent force on the battlefield. He directed much of his efforts, therefore, toward training officers in the correct uses of the arm. In the late 1850's, Hunt also served on a board with two other authorities, William Barry and William H. French, to review and improve current artillery tactics. [32] The final product of this revision was completed in March of 1860. Known as Instruction For Field Artillery, the improvements were the first real changes since 1839. [33] Adopted by the U.S. Army, Confederate artillerists would follow suit shortly afterward.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Hunt, a moderate Democrat, was initially assigned the command of the Artillery Reserve of the Army of the Potomac. On September 28, 1861, he was promoted to Colonel, and assigned to General George B. McClellan as a staff officer. Nearly a year later, in September of 1862, he became the Chief of Artillery in the Army of the Potomac, and a brigadier general. [34] With this promotion came real battlefield authority - McClellan granted Hunt the power to oversee field dispositions whenever he felt such supervision was required. Hunt also retained full control over administration, supply, maintenance and instruction of all artillery units, active or in the Artillery Reserve of the Army of the Potomac. [35] Unfortunately for Hunt, this oral understanding between the two officers was apparently never confirmed with a written order.

To further cloud matters, on March 26, 1862, McClellan had issued General Order No. 110, which stated, in part, that: The duties of the chiefs of artillery and cavalry are exclusively administrative, and these officers will be attached to the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac.

The order also directed: They will not exercise command of the troops of their arms unless specially ordered by the commanding general, but they will, when practicable, be selected to communicate the orders of the general to their respective corps. [36]

Following his promotion to Chief of Artillery after the disastrous Second Manassas campaign, Hunt complained he had much work to do.

On assuming command, I found the artillery much disorganized...Major General Porter...ordered that as rapidly as batteries could be equipped they should be pushed forward, without regard as to the troops to which they belonged...A number of the batteries of the Artillery Reserve then became separated from their command, and attached to troops not only of the Army of the Potomac, but to those of the Army of Virginia as well...I was compelled to obtain on the roads the names and conditions of the batteries and the troops to which they were attached. Not only were the batteries of the Army of the Potomac dispersed as stated, and serving with other divisions than their own, but I had no knowledge of the artillery of the corps that had joined from the other armies than what I could pick up on the road. Many had not been refitted since the August campaign; some had lost more or less guns; others were greatly deficient in men and horses, and a number were wholly unserviceable from all these causes combined. [37]

Following the Maryland campaign, fellow Democrat McClellan was relieved of command in favor of Major General Ambrose Burnside. Although stating that he would honor McClellan's verbal agreement with Hunt regarding the latter's authority in the field, [38] Burnside's attempted tinkering with the artillery was an omen of things to come. Burnside considered implementing plans to abolish the Artillery Reserve and to formally subordinate corps artillery chiefs to infantry commanders. [39] While Hunt was able to persuade Burnside to put these dubious ideas on hold, he was not able to convince his commander to change the divisional deployment of artillery throughout the army. [40] Under this system, each division was assigned a few batteries, under the control of the divisional commander. Given the proclivity of division commanders to jealously husband their own artillery, even at the expense of more needy comrades nearby, it was a recipe for disaster. It had nearly proven so at Antietam. [41]

In the aftermath of that battle, Col. Charles Wainwright, chief of artillery for the First Corps, had presented to Hunt an improved brigade system of artillery. [42] This new system attached a larger number of batteries directly to each corps, under the supervision of the chief of artillery of the corps. Although Hunt was impressed with the plan, Burnside rejected it. [43] It would take the debacle of Chancellorsville to revive it.

The battle of Chancellorsville occurred on May 1-5, 1863. As Major General Joseph Hooker now led the Army of the Potomac [44] into battle, the Federal artillery was poorly organized. The divisional system of artillery dispersion preserved by Burnside was still in place. Hooker later justified it this way:

In my old brigade and division I found that my men had learned to regard their batteries with a feeling of devotion, which I considered contributed greatly to our success. [45]

Whatever success Hooker was referring to did not include such basics as moving batteries from one division to another. Just prior to battle Captain James Smith's 4th New York was ordered transferred from the 2nd Division to the 1st Division of the 3rd Corps. Smith noted the difficulty of the transfer

This (the transfer) created a very ill feeling on the part of the men..[T]he Battery had been attached to the Division longer than any other serving with it, and the men believed they were being discriminated against and refused to move from the park when ordered...General [David B.] Birney was notified, and he detailed the 40th New York Volunteers with instructions to move or bury the battery. Under these circumstances, a transfer was made without further trouble. [46]

To further complicate matters, Hooker had restricted his artillery chief to staff functions, and had denied him command authority in the field. [47] Hooker also presided over the promotion and reassignment of many artillery officers without providing replacements for them. The net effect on the artillery service was to stretch the limits of its command capabilities. At Chancellorsville, Hunt's artillery contained 412 guns and nearly 10,000 men - with only 5 field-grade officers to direct them. [48]

Given these difficulties, therefore, it is understandable that the artillery might fail to function properly. On the third day of battle, Col. Wainwright observed the disorganization

Batteries had been coming in from the front all night,...Several artillery officers from the other batteries came up to me, asking where they could procure ammunition; no one appeared to know anything, and there was a good deal of confusion...I told him [General John F. Reynolds] that it seemed to me all the artillery of the army was running around loose. I had met half a dozen batteries going to the front, and as many more going to the rear, blocking the road to no purpose;... [49]

Even when a battery remained in its proper division, there was no guarantee that an organizational breakdown would not disrupt things. In the 3rd Corps, Smith's battery was stripped piecemeal to support other advanced units.

Smith's (Fourth New York) battery was placed in position near the United States Ford, and much of its material used in rendering the other batteries of the Second Division immediately serviceable, preventing its being ordered to the front...It was against the urgent protests of its officers that it was crippled to render other batteries that could be of more service able to return at once into action if called upon. [50]

With this sort of breakdown at hand, someone had to notify General Hooker. Col. Wainwright approached him and apprised the general of the situation. The conversation, as remembered by Wainwright, went something like this:

General Hooker: Well, Wainwright, how is the artillery getting on?

Self: As badly as it well can. Batteries are being ordered in every direction, blocking up the roads; and no one seems to know where to go. Where is General Hunt?

General Hooker: What is the matter?

Self: As near as I can understand, every division commander wants his own batteries, and battery commanders will obey no one else's orders. It is just the condition I told you of and wanted to provide against, by giving artillery officers of rank actual command, so that they could order any battery. The ammunition trains, too.

General Hooker: Well, we have no time to talk now. You take hold and make it right.

Self: Where is General Hunt?

General Hooker: At Bank's Ford. You take his place. [51]

Before accepting this assignment, Wainwright wrangled from Hooker an admission that the use of the artillery should be controlled by artillery officers in the field. He also received written orders temporarily conferring upon him the requisite command authority. [52] On May 12, 1863, this arrangement was formalized by General Hooker with the issuance of Special Orders No. 129, which stated in part that

...a consolidation and reduction of the artillery attached to the army corps will be effected. The artillery assigned to each corps will constitute a brigade, under the command of the chief of artillery of the corps for its command and administration. [53]

Henry Hunt, the man for whom this order was written, no doubt appreciated the fact that General Hooker had finally realized the importance of correctly handling the artillery. Nevertheless, he could not resist one last and final blast toward the man who had helped to bring about the Chancellorsville disaster.

In his report of the battle, written safely after Hooker's dismissal, he declared

In justice to the artillery...The command of the artillery, which I had held under Generals McClellan and Burnside, ...was withdrawn from me when you assumed command of the army, and my duties made purely administrative, under circumstances very unfavorable to their efficient performance....As soon as the battle commenced on Friday morning, I began to receive demands from corps commanders for more artillery, which I was unable to comply with, except partially, and at the risk of deranging the plans of other corps commanders...Add to this that there was no commander of all the artillery until a late period of the operations, and I doubt if the history of modern armies can exhibit a parallel instance of such palpable crippling of a great arm of the service in the very presence of a powerful enemy [emphasis added]...It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that confusion and mismanagement ensued, and it is creditable to the batteries themselves, and to the officers who commanded them, that they did so well. [54]

After the Chancellorsville defeat, Hunt went about rebuilding his artillery. As he began to re-equip his decimated batteries, he requested an extra 1,000 horses for them. [55] He was also concerned about ammunition. Hunt hoped that this problem would be partially alleviated with the reorganization of batteries into artillery brigades, each with its own supply train. However, he knew that the usual tendency of corps commanders on the march was to neglect their supply trains, including their ammunition wagons. Hunt also felt that battery commanders frequently expended their ammunition far too rapidly at the front. Earlier on, he tried to counter this with orders that forbade a battery from withdrawing from a position merely because it had exhausted its ammunition supply. Instead, the guns and the gunners were required to remain in line of battle, possibly under fire, until the filled caissons returned. [56]

Now the Chief of Artillery was going to try a different tactic: making sure that more ammunition reached the front lines. Enlisting the support of the Army Quartermaster Corps, Hunt created a "secret" ammunition train. [57] Designed to provide an additional 20 rounds per gun over and beyond the 250 called for by regulations, this train would help to insure timely access to ammunition. As Hunt feared infantry interference with this project, he did not inform Hooker of its existence. When Meade later assumed command, Hunt kept this from him for a time as well. [58]

To keep this secret, Hunt used devoted artillery officers who understood the value of artillery organization and supply. However, many good artillery officers had actively sought their fortunes in other branches of service, where promotions came more quickly. Among these were such notables as John Gibbon, author of The Artillerists Manual, Stephen H. Weed, Alexander Hays, Romeyn B. Ayres, Charles D. Griffin and William M. Graham. [59] Typically undergraded for the level of responsibility they bore, the conversion to the brigade system did not improve the lot of the remaining artillery officers. No promotions accompanied the reorganization. Commanding the artillery brigades at Gettysburg were two colonels, one lieutenant colonel, one major, nine captains and one lieutenant. [60]

Prior to the outbreak of the bombardment, General Hunt had noted the Confederate artillery deployment along Seminary Ridge and had correctly surmised its intent. He therefore began to ride along the line, instructing the corps chiefs of artillery and battery commanders to withhold return fire for fifteen or twenty minutes after the Confederate shelling began. He later explained

...it was evident that all the artillery on our west front, whether of the army corps or the reserve, must concur as a unit, under the chief of artillery, in the defense...It was of the first importance to subject the enemy's infantry, from the first moment of their advance, to such a crossfire of our artillery as would break their formation, check their impulse, and drive them back, or at least bring them to our lines in such condition as to make them an easy prey. There was neither time nor necessity for reporting this to General Meade.... [61]

Hunt did not have much time. Just as he delivered his orders to the last battery on the crest of Little Round Top, the bombardment began. In anticipation of the assault to follow, Hunt immediately sent orders to Reserve units to be sent up the ridge as soon as the cannonade ceased.

While in the Reserve area near the Taneytown Road, he observed the effects of the first enemy salvos -the remains of a dozen exploded caissons. As he watched many of the Confederate shells overshoot the crest of Cemetery Ridge and land in the rear of the Union lines, General Hunt felt that the Confederates were not making the most of the occasion. Following the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, Hunt encountered a former student, Col. Armistead Lindsay Long, who had served on Lee's staff during the battle. As Hunt remembered:

Col. Long...had served in my mounted battery expressly to receive a course of instruction on field artillery. At Appomattox...I told him that I was not satisfied with the conduct of [his] cannonade...,as he had not done justice to his instruction; that his fire, instead of being concentrated, was scattered over the whole field. He said, "I remembered my lessons at the time, and when the fire became so scattered, wondered what you would think about it!" [62]

Other Federal soldiers on the eastern slope of Cemetery Ridge thought the shelling quite accurate. Of the shells that landed around General Meade's headquarters on the Taneytown road:

One...burst in the yard amongst the staff horses tied to the fence, another tore up the steps of the house, another carried away the supports of the porch, one passed through the door, another through the garrett, and a solid shot, barely grazing the commanding general as he stood in the open door-way, buried itself in a box by the door at his side. [63]

This sudden barrage of concentrated shell-fire apparently unnerved a staff-officer at headquarters:

One of them, seeing his horse badly wounded by a piece of shell, rushed into the house for his pistol to put the poor brute out of pain, and coming output two bullets into a fine, uninjured horse belonging to Captain [James S.] Hall, Signal officer of the 2d Corps, and would probably have emptied his revolver as he was a poor shot, had not Captain Hall interfered. [64]

Finding it impossible to reliably receive and dispatch communications from the Leister house while the shelling continued, General Meade and his staff moved into a barn several hundred yards down the Taneytown Road. Discovering themselves still under fire, they withdrew to Major General Henry W. Slocum's headquarters on Power's Hill. [65]

For the infantry soldiers on Cemetery Ridge, who could not move out of range, the shelling was a difficult experience. General John Gibbon, an artillerist now commanding the 2nd infantry division of the 2nd Corps, observed:

The larger round shells could be seen plainly as in their nearly completed courses they curved in their fall towards the Taneytown road, but the long rifled shells came with a rush and a scream and could only be seen in their rapid flight when they "upset" and went tumbling through the air, creating the uncomfortable impression that, no matter whether you were in front of the gun from which they came or not, you were liable to be hit. [66]

Colonel Francis E. Heath of the 19th Maine was on Cemetery Ridge as his regiment endured the shelling. With a combat infantryman's gift for understatement, he remembered it this way:

All we had to do while undergoing the shelling was to chew tobacco, watch caissons explode, and wonder if the next shot would hit you. On the whole, it was not a happy time. [67]

While the infantry on the ridge was unable to respond directly to the Confederate bombardment, some of the artillery of Hazard's and McGilvery's brigades began to return fire to the west. As Hunt's orders had specifically stated that Federal artillery was not to immediately respond to the Confederates, Col. Alexander later felt that:

...we must have made it pretty hot for the opposite line from the word go, for General Hunt's orders not to reply for 15 or 20 minutes, I am very sorry to say, were immediately forgotten. I hope that he court-martialed every rascal of them for it afterward; for how much more all of us Confederates might have enjoyed that 15 minutes. But, instead of giving us a beautiful exhibition of discipline his whole line from Cemetery Hill to Round Top seemed in five minutes to be emulating a volcano in eruption. Lots of guns developed which I had not before been able to see, & instead of saving ammunition, they were surely trying themselves to see how much they could consume. [68]

One of the places that Confederate shells had made "pretty hot" was the crest of Cemetery Hill itself. The objects of their attention were some Reserve guns and the five batteries of the 11th Corps artillery brigade under Major Thomas Osborn.

A native of New Jersey, Thomas Ward Osborn attended Madison [now Colgate] University and was admitted to the New York bar in 1861. Later that same year, he accepted an officer's commission and became a lieutenant in Battery D, New York Light Artillery. A veteran of the Peninsula campaign and the battles of Fredricksburg and Chancellorsville, [69] Osborn had recently been made chief of the 11th Corps artillery. Previously a brigade commander with the Reserve artillery, Osborn had been reassigned by Hunt to the 11th Corps because, in Hunt's view, "...the batteries were worthless, and a disciplinarian and an industrious officer was required."

During the period before Gettysburg, Osborn refitted the batteries and instituted regular artillery drills. He reorganized the brigade staff, and felt that "...by close attention and constant watching I can soon get them into fair condition and fit for the field." [70] His efforts produced results. The 11th Corps Artillery at Gettysburg was a far cry from the broken and disorganized outfit that had clogged the roads at Chancellorsville.

After covering the withdrawal of the 11th Corps on July 1, Osborn's guns took position atop Cemetery Hill. There they had remained, commanding its eastern, northern and western approaches. Now, as the bombardment heated up, something of a cross-fire began to play on the batteries on the hill. Osborn noted of the fire from the west that

Their range...was perfect, but...the elevation [was] about twenty feet above our heads.. Indeed, if the enemy had been as successful in securing our elevation as they did the range there would not have been a live thing on that hill fifteen minutes after they opened fire. [71]

Artillery Positions, 03 July 1863 time: approx 1:00 - 3:00pm (click on image for a PDF version)

From the east side of Cemetery Hill, the Confederates soon made things hotter for the Federal gunners. On Benner's Hill, over a mile from Osborn's guns, the 20 lbr Parrotts of Captain John Milledge's Georgia Regular Artillery [72] began to fire:

....[S]everal guns, two batteries or more, began to open on us from the ridge beyond East Cemetery Hill...These last guns opened directly on the right flank of my line of batteries. The gunners got our range at almost the first shot...they caught us square in the flank, and with elevation perfect. It was admirable shooting. They raked the whole line of batteries, killed and wounded the men and horses and blew up the caissons rapidly. I saw one shell go through six horses standing broadside. [73]

Despite the accuracy of this fire, Osborn reacted quickly. He turned the guns of Captain Elijah Taft's 5th New York and one other Reserve battery [74] against the Confederates. Taft's guns were 20 pounders as well, and they soon improved the situation on Cemetery Hill. Osborn related, "...in a few minutes we so demoralized them that they lost the elevation but not the direction, and they too fired high. As it was, we suffered severely."

In the midst of this fire, news was brought to Osborn that, in his words, "roused my temper considerably." It had been reported that a Reserve battery the Major requisitioned was behaving badly. As he wrote years later:

The battery had been under fire but a few minutes when word was brought to me that the men were throwing ammunition out of the [limber] chests into [some] timber. This was in order to get clear of it and then represent that it was expended and so retire from the field. I went to the battery, gave the captain some orders in emphatic English and then left him. A few minutes later several of the men called out, "Look, Major, see the cowards." I did look and saw that Ohio battery with all the men mounted on the ammunition chests going full speed...down the Baltimore Pike. I never saw that battery again, and as it did not belong to my command, I did not report it to its proper superiors. Doubtless, the captain reported to the commander of the Reserve Artillery that he was in the hottest of the fight and that he and all his men were heroes. At all events, the giant monument on Cemetery Hill stands today to the credit of that battery. [75]

Osborn was mistaken. Although Captain William McCartney's 1st Massachusetts Battery did report finding 48 rounds of 3-inch projectiles that had apparently been "dumped" [76] on Cemetery Hill, Osborn, in his account, misidentified the unit and their motive. Captain McCartney stated he was ordered into position to "relieve the 1st New Hampshire Battery, said to have been out of ammunition." [77] That battery, commanded by Captain Frederick M. Edgell, a Mexican-War veteran, [78] had been plagued with ammunition trouble. In his report, Capt. Edgell noted that, "...the Schenkel combination case [shot] seldom exploded. From what experience I have had with this fuse, I think it is not reliable." [79] Edgell's experience was verified later in tests that confirmed that the fuse in question was good only 55% of the time. [80] Roughly one of every two shells exploded.

Under the pressure of an intense cross-fire, such as that which was encountered on Cemetery Hill, it is conceivable that the gunners threw out ammunition found defective and concentrated on using other shell types that worked. As no charges were lodged against Edgell regarding this incident, it is logical to assume that the "dumping" was more a product of bad ammunition than any cowardice under fire.

Defective ammunition surfaced in other batteries as well. Captain Hubert Dilger, commanding Battery I, 1st Ohio Light Artillery, complained in his report to Major Osborn that:

I was completely dissatisfied with the...fuzes for 12 pounder shells and spherical case, on the explosion of which, by the most careful preparation, you cannot depend. The shell fuzes, again, were remarkably less reliable than those for spherical case. The fuzes for 3-inch ammunition caused a great many explosions in our right before the mouth of the guns, and it becomes very dangerous for another battery to advance in the fire of his batteries, which kind of advancing of smooth-bore batteries is of very great importance on the battlefield, and should be done without danger. I would, therefore, most respectfully recommend the use of percussion shells only. [81]

As Captain Dilger's report suggests, faulty ammunition and fuzes were not just inconvenient; they could be deadly as well. Further down the artillery line stood the batteries of Captain John G. Hazard's 2nd Corps Artillery brigade. One of these, Captain James McKay Rorty's Battery B, 1st New York, was posted a few rods south of the Angle, busily engaging targets to the northwest. As the gunners sent shells over the heads of the Federal infantry posted about fifteen feet in front of them, a shell from one of Rorty's Parrotts burst prematurely, cutting down Lt. Henry Ropes of the 20th Massachusetts. Ropes had been reading to his men from a volume of Charles Dickens, [82] helping to steady them during the fierce bombardment. To spare the infantry any more "friendly-fire" casualties, Rorty moved his battery forward. [83]

John G. Hazard

Rorty's commander, Captain John G. Hazard, was a Rhode Islander who had begun his artillery career as a First Lieutenant in a volunteer battery. Commissioned in the summer of 1861, he was promoted to command Battery B, 1st Rhode Island Artillery shortly before the battle of Second Manassas. In the reorganization of the artillery after Chancellorsville, he was appointed to the position of Chief of Artillery for the Second Corps. [84] His batteries saw action on 2 July, and they took some casualties. [85] On the third, Hazard's brigade contained 26 guns, dispersed among five batteries. [86] North of Rorty's four rifles were the Napoleons of First Lieutenant T. Fred Browns Battery B, 1st Rhode Island Artillery. [87] Now commanded by First Lieutenant William S. Perrin, this battery fielded four guns, having sent two to the rear at the close of the fighting on July 2. [88]

In the Angle area itself were six 3-inch rifles of Lieutenant Alonzo Hersford Cushing's Battery A, 4th U. S. Regular Artillery. Six more 3-inch rifles of Battery A, 1st Rhode Island Artillery were posted just to the north of the Angle, under the command of Captain William A. Arnold. On the right flank of the artillery brigade, in the area of Ziegler's Grove, was Battery I, 1st U. S. Regular Artillery. Commanded by Lieutenant George A. Woodruff, the battery possessed six 3-inch rifles.

Of the five batteries in Hazard's brigade, two were commanded by professional soldiers. Lieutenants Cushing and Woodruff were both members of the West Point class of 1861. Woodruff hailed from Michigan, Cushing from Wisconsin. [89] These northwestern men would see much action this day, and both would prove their worth in the afternoon struggle. The other three units were led by experienced volunteer soldiers. [90] These volunteer batterymen of Hazard's brigade, along with their Regular counterparts, would find themselves in the very center of the storm of Confederate shells that afternoon.

Alonzo Cushing

The Regular batteries of the brigade had spent an active morning. Around 8:00, Confederate artillery opened fire on Cushing's battery and detonated three limbers in rapid succession. [91] Woodruff's guns responded, and during the course of the morning engaged the enemy's artillery eight different times. [92]

Due in part to the shelling of the morning hours, Confederate gunners had the range and the elevation of Hazard's batteries as the afternoon bombardment began. As the fire began to focus on Cushing's guns, General Gibbon observed that: Suddenly, with a shriek, came a shell right under the limber-box, and the poor gunner went hopping to the rear on one leg, the shreds of the other dangling about as he went.

Gibbon was still nearby when the Confederates replicated their morning's achievement:

I had made but a few steps when three of Cushing's limber boxes blew up at once, sending the contents in a vast column of dense smoke high in the air, and above the din could be heard the triumphant yells of the enemy as he recognized this result of his fire. [93]

The accuracy of the Confederate shells at this point made the fight intense around Cushing's guns. Under such circumstances, an officer's commanding presence can be an invaluable asset. One of the batterymen, Christopher Smith, recalled an incident that highlighted these qualities in Lieut. Cushing:

The fire that we were under was something frightful and such as we had never experienced before...Every few seconds a shot or shell would strike right in among our guns, but we could not stop for anything. We could not even close our eyes when death seemed to be coming. After the firing had been going on about 15 minutes, a shot struck No. 3 gun -I remember it well- and tore away one wheel. In the terrible excitement the gunners of No. 3 got panic-stricken and started to run just as soon as they saw their gun was dismounted. There is always an extra wheel with the caisson, but the men in their fright had forgotten this. Lieut. Cushing had not. Seeing the men run, he drew his revolver and called out, "Sergt. Watson, come back to your post. The first man who leaves his gun again I'll blow his brains out!" In two minutes No. 3 was thundering away again as hot as ever. [94]

But Lt. Cushing knew that his men were taking terrible punishment and endeavored to find targets along the Confederate line for his guns. Spying a group of Confederate officers under a clump of trees, Cushing directed his cannoneers to fire on them. The first shot was high, but the second shot "...struck in their midst and they scattered at a lively rate." [95]

To the north of Cushing's battery, in the area of Ziegler's Grove, Lt. Woodruff and the men of Battery I were having a difficult time as well. In support of Woodruff's guns stood the 108th New York infantry. Assistant Surgeon Francis Moses Wafer of the 108th watched as the cannoneers returned fire:

Our artillerymen sprang to their posts at once and replied with more than their usual pluck and spirit but it soon became evident that they were being [rapidly] overpowered, worsted and fairly battered out of [sight]. I could plainly see their caissons being frequently blown up, although the explosions of these could not be heard in the general crash yet the sudden bursting up of fleecy clouds invariably told the story. The horses rolled in heaps everywhere tangled in their harness with their dying struggles - wheels knocked off, guns capsized and artillerists going to the rear or lying on the ground bleeding in every direction. [96]

As the smoke from the assembled batteries began to obscure targets on the Confederate line, Hazard's gunners adjusted the elevation on their guns and continued firing into the thickening mist. The only targets now were the murky red flashes of Confederate guns, dimly visible in the smoky fog. Nonetheless, the batteries of the Second Corps continued to shell an enemy they largely could not see.

This, however, was exactly what Henry Hunt did not want to happen. His orders to his artillery commanders, given just before the bombardment began, had specifically enjoined his gunners not to return fire, "... for fifteen or twenty minutes at least". If suitable targets were discovered after that time period, the gunners were to resume firing "...slowly, deliberately, and making target practice of it." [97] The cross-fire of artillery that Hunt wanted to deliver on the enemy's infantry would require the gunners to have sufficient quantities of long-range projectiles on hand as the attack began. Hunt felt that none of it should be wasted in an essentially useless counter-bombardment.

Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, commander of the U.S. Second Corps, disagreed. [98] Hancock readily appreciated the psychological impact that the bombardment had upon his troops. He felt the proper role for the Union artillery during the cannonade was to respond to it immediately, with force. Brevet Brigadier General Francis Walker, Chief of Staff for the Second Corps, later echoed his commander's view on this matter, writing:

Would the advantage so obtained have compensated for the loss of morale in the infantry which might have resulted from allowing them to be scourged, at will, by the hostile artillery? Every soldier knows how trying and often demoralizing it is to endure artillery fire without reply. [99]

Hancock therefore countermanded General Hunt's instructions to Hazard and had ordered Hazard's batteries to open fire. Captain Hazard, placed in a difficult position, chose not to dispute Hancock's orders. This would have serious consequences later in the afternoon.

The dispute between the two generals did not strictly center on how to reply to the Confederate artillery. It also concerned command authority. Was General Hunt, Chief of the Artillery of the Army of the Potomac, a de facto corps commander, commanding all the artillery of the army? Or was he a glorified staff officer, subordinate to the line authority of the infantry corps commanders? It was a difficult question, not easily answered. The debate over which view was correct would resonate for years. [100]

With the guns of Hazard's brigade blazing away, Hancock turned his attention to the 39 guns of Lt. Col. Freeman McGilvery's 1st Volunteer Reserve Artillery Brigade. [101] These guns were positioned to the south of the Second Corps line, stretching from north of the George Weikert farm toward the left of Hazard's brigade. Like Hazard's, McGilvery's units had received orders from Hunt to conserve their ammunition at the start of the bombardment. These guns, in contrast to Hazard's battered batteries, were not under the concentrated volume of fire that the Second Corps guns were. As one artilleryman put it, "The Rebels were not doing us any harm..." [102]

General Hancock rode to McGilvery's position and directed three batteries on the brigade's right flank to open fire. [103] These batteries were Captain Patrick Hart's 15th New York Independent, with four Napoleons, Captain Charles Phillips' Fifth Massachusetts Battery E, with six 3-inch rifles, and Thompson's Battery, F and C consolidated Pennsylvania Artillery, which contained five 3-inch rifles. McGilvery declined to fire, stating that his own commander (Hunt) had instructed when the batteries should open. General Hancock responded that "my troops cannot stand this cannonade and will not stand it if it is not replied to." [104]

Having obtained little satisfaction from McGilvery, Hancock then moved on to the 15th New York Battery. In command of its four Napoleons was Captain Patrick Hart, an Irish-born soldier with seventeen years of Regular Army experience and a somewhat irritating personality. John N. Craig, on Hunt's staff, noted of Hart that: It was exactly his way to be riding about in the manner most likely to attract the attention of anyone swelling for someone to swear at. [105]

Given Hancock's frustration with the artillery that afternoon, the meeting between the two men must have been something. Hart recalled of the encounter:

...[S]ome considerable time after the enemy opened fire General Hancock rode up to me and in not a very mild manner [emphasis added] wanted to know why I had not opened fire. I informed him that I had received my orders from General Hunt Chief of Arty and I would obey them. He ordered me to open fire that I was in his line. I replyed that should he give me a written order that I would open fire under protest. [106]

Captain Charles Phillips, commanding the 5th Massachusetts, had a similar experience. He too was ordered to open fire by Hancock, in his words, "...[T]hereby showing how little an infantry officer knows about artillery." [107] For a short while these batteries returned the Confederate fire. After a few rounds had been fired, however, McGilvery ordered the firing to cease. [108] When the Confederate infantry appeared, McGilvery's guns would be ready.

South of McGilvery's line, on the crest of Little Round Top, were positioned the six 3-inch guns of Battery D, 5th U. S. Artillery. Commanded by Lieutenant Benjamin F. Rittenhouse, these guns marked the end of the Federal artillery line. [109] During the early portion of the bombardment, this battery took some slight casualties from the advanced Confederate guns in the Peach Orchard area. [110] The main focus of the Confederate artillery, however, remained Cemetery Ridge and the Union center.

Hazard's guns continued to suffer the effects of a heavy and accurate fire. In Battery "B", 1st Rhode Island Artillery, the men struggled to keep up a return fire as more Confederate shells found their mark. One of them struck the muzzle of the fourth piece and instantly exploded, killing two cannoneers who were attempting to load it. [111] Corporal J. M. Dye, on detached service from the 140th Pennsylvania infantry, was serving as the gunner. He recalled what happened next:

Billy Jones and old Mr. Gardner were killed, and my No. 3 wounded, and went to the rear; my No. 4 was played out and on the ground. I tried to get him up to thumb [the] vent, while the sergeant and myself tried to load the gun. But he wouldn't budge, so I got a stone and, tearing a piece off my shirt laid it on the vent. I then went and held the shot in place, which the sergeant had placed in the gun, while he swung on with the rammer. I had to hold the shot in on account of a dent in the muzzle, made by the Rebs' shell that killed Jones and Gardner, and we could not get it in. Someone came with an axe, and as they were going to make a strike with it, a rebel shell struck the cheek and exploded knocking out a spoke; this raised the gun up on one wheel, but did not dismount it, but it settled back. This put a stop in trying to load it; the gun, in cooling, had clamped on to the shot, so that we could not get it out again, and the gun went to the rear with the shot in the muzzle. [112]

To the north, in Cushing's battery, Confederate fire also produced dramatic moments. A shell passed through a horse, then entered and exploded inside another. One fragment exited the horse and struck a teamster, partially disemboweling him. Previously wounded at Fair Oaks, he had often stated that if he was ever again seriously wounded, he would rather be shot than endure the pain. Now he begged his comrades to put him out of his misery. Christopher Smith remembered:

We could do nothing for him and of course none of us felt like shooting him as he begged us to do. Finally he got his revolver out of his belt, and saying good-bye boys, turned the muzzle to his head and blew his brains out. [113]

Artillery positions 03 July 1863 time: approx 3:00 - 5:00pm (click on image for a PDF version)

The men also had to contend with "secondary" types of shrapnel. One soldier noted that the air was alive with "fragments of rocks flying through the air shattered from a stone fence in front of Battery A." [114]

Woodruff's gunners were also feeling the heat. Surgeon Moses Wafer of the 108th noted that:

The few large oaks that hung over Woodruff[s] battery were torn in splinters, their limbs dropping in some cases on men of the 108th. Several batteries had concentrated their fire on this battery in order to silence it, but although nearly all the horses were destroyed and one gun of the six dismounted, yet the gallant commander fought them until he had not a round of ammunition left except a few rounds of canister shot... [115]

Cushing's battery was down to only two guns and a few rounds of canister as well. [116] General Hunt's concern about premature exhaustion of ammunition was being borne out. Up and down Hazard's front, long-range ammunition was growing scarce.

The cannonade was now extending into its second hour. By this time a number of senior commanders - Generals Meade, Howard, Hunt, and Major Osborn - had come to the conclusion that the Confederates might be induced to bring on their assault if the Federal artillery fire was halted. General Howard, Major Osborn and General Hunt met on Cemetery Hill to discuss the possibility of doing so. Hunt stated, "General Meade had expressed a hope that the enemy would attack, and he had no fear of the result." Osborn asked Hunt to go see General Meade to get permission to cease fire. Perhaps with the ghost of Chancellorsville dancing in his head, Hunt, "with an expression of anxiety", asked the Major if he could control his men under such a heavy fire if the order to cease was given. Osborn assured him that there was nothing to fear from the order. Hunt then conferred for a few moments with General Howard and announced that he would issue the order at once himself. Invoking his powers as Chief of the Artillery, Hunt commanded the Federal batteries to cease firing. [117] He then rode out to pass the order down the line. As he moved off the hill, toward the batteries on Osborn's left, he was approached by a staff officer bearing orders from General Meade to that same effect. [118]

The decision to stop the return fire helped to convince the Confederates that the bombardment had been sufficient. Initially, the infantry attack was to have followed a short but intense shelling of the Union position. Col. Alexander noted:

Before the cannonade opened, I had made up my mind to give Pickett the order to advance within fifteen or twenty minutes after it began. But when I looked at the full development of the enemy's batteries...I could not bring myself to give the word. It seemed madness to launch infantry into that fire, with nearly three-quarters of a mile to go at midday under a July sun. I let the 15 minutes pass, and 20, and 25, hoping vainly for something to turn up.

As the Confederate fire continued, Alexander became concerned about his available ammunition supply. After waiting the twenty-five minutes, he sent a note to General Pickett, asking him to "come at once, or I cannot give you proper support." Five minutes after sending the note, Alexander noted that the Federals' fire was slackening. He also observed batteries in the "cemetery" [probably the Angle] limbering up and apparently leaving the field.

E. P. Alexander

This gave him some cause for cautious optimism, as he stated later:

We Confederates often did such things as that to save our ammunition for use against infantry, but I had never before seen the Federals withdraw their guns simply to save them up for the infantry fight. So I said, "If he does not run fresh batteries in there in five minutes, this is our fight." I looked anxiously with my glass, and the five minutes passed without a sign of life on the deserted position, still swept by our fire, and littered with dead men and horses and fragments of disabled carriages. [119]

Alexander's optimism was misplaced. While some of the batteries in Hazard's line had sustained serious damage, Reserve units were nearby and prepared to replace them. [120] Osborn's gunners on Cemetery Hill had also taken some casualties, but the batteries still functioned. The guns of McGilvery's line were only slightly damaged. Taken as a whole, the Union artillery line was intact and prepared for the Confederate infantry.

General James Longstreet, commander of the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, did not want to make the infantry attack. Now, as Pickett's division began to move toward the front, Alexander told Longstreet he feared he would not have sufficient stocks of ammunition to properly support the assaulting infantry troops as they advanced. General Longstreet turned to Alexander and instructed him to "Stop Pickett immediately and replenish your ammunition." Alexander replied that it would take too long, and the enemy would be able to recover from the effect of the previous fire. Longstreet then responded, "I don't want to make this attack. I would stop it now but that General Lee ordered it and expects it to go on. I don't see how it can succeed."

Alexander listened, but: ...did not dare offer a word. The battle was lost if we stopped. Ammunition was far too low to try anything else, for we had been fighting three days. There was a chance, and it was not my part to interfere. [121]

With nothing to delay them further, the Confederate infantry began to advance out of the woods into the clear. Almost immediately thereafter, the Federal guns opened upon them. [122] The batteries in McGilvery's line, and Rittenhouse's Battery "D", 5th U.S. Artillery, posted on Little Round Top, were well-positioned to hit the Confederates as they appeared. Captain Phillips of the 5th Massachusetts recalled.

As soon as the rebel line appeared, our cannoneers sprang to their guns, and our silenced batteries poured in a rain of shot and shell, which must have sickened the rebels of their work. I never saw artillery so ably handled, or productive of such decisive results. It was far superior even to Malvern Hill. [123]

Captain Hart of the 15th New York Battery, posted to the left of Phillips' guns, fired into the right flank of the line. He observed:

When the great charge came the right, of which would have overlapped my battery, I opened on the right of the enemies line and forced them to incline their left which gave me a infalading fire on their line. [124]

The First Pennsylvania Artillery, Batteries "C" and "F" Consolidated, also under McGilvery, was posted to the north of Phillips' and Harts' guns. From their position, they did good execution on the advancing infantry. Sergeant Joseph B. Todd remembered:

On they came whooping and yelling on double quick time their artillery playing on us all the time. When within about 300 yards of us we got the word to fire... We mowed them down like ripe grain before the cradle. They could not advance under our galling fire and began to recoil. [125]

From his lofty perch, Lieutenant Rittenhouse and his Regular guns were also able to effectively assist McGilvery's units as they smote the Confederate flank. He too opened upon Pickett's men as they advanced and delivered an oblique fire. As the Confederate lines moved closer, however, the limited space of the hill restricted him to using only his right section. These guns were manned by two Irishmen, Lt. Peeples and Sgt. Grady, who, in the words of Lieutenant Rittenhouse, "would rather fight than eat." Rittenhouse remembered that these "splendid shots"

...tried to make up for the loss of fire from the other guns. Many times a single percussion shell would cut out several files and then explode in their ranks, several times almost a company would disappear, as a shell would rip from right to left among them. Every shot pointed by these two men, seemed to go where it was intended. [126]

The Federal fire was effectively hammering the Confederate infantry. From their positions, the batteries of McGilvery's line continued to blast away at Pickett's men and the infantry supports that followed.

Captain Hart reported: ...[The] second line appeared to be coming direct for my battery. I turned all my guns on this line, every piece loaded with two canisters. I continued this dreadful fire on this line until there was not a man of them to be seen. [127]

In the rear of the line, Col. Alexander had inspected the ammunition supply of his guns, and ordered those with roughly fifteen rounds of long-range projectiles to follow the infantry and support it.

While leading this impromptu battery forward, he encountered a casualty of Kemper's command:

We were halted for a moment by a fence, and as the men threw it down for the guns to pass, I saw in one of the corners a man sitting down and looking up at me. A solid shot had carried away both jaws and his tongue. I noticed the powder smut from the shot on the white skin around the wound. He sat up and looked at me steadily, and I looked at him until the guns could pass, but nothing, of course, could be done for him. [128]

Nothing could be done for the rapidly increasing number of other wounded Confederates, either. The unwounded ones, however, could do something. They began to drift to their left, toward the guns of Hazard's brigade and the Second Corps line. Captain Hart observed: During all this time [the] Hancock Arty was as silant as the grave. They had exhausted all their ammunition and were ready to lumber to the rear. [129]

General Hunt, after locating and ordering up the Reserve batteries, took position near the center to watch the results. He was disappointed with what he saw. He wrote later

to my great surprise and chagrin, for I never saw a finer opportunity to display the power of the arm, (emphasis added) Hazard's guns were silent and the heavy crossfire relied upon to drive the enemy back, or throw his troops into disorder and so deliver them a comparatively easy prey to our infantry, was not obtained. We had between 70 and 80 guns, nearly equally divided into two masses, the crossfire of which would have added more than one half to the value of their combined direct fire, so that the effective power of our artillery defence was reduced by Hazard's silence to less than a third of what it ought to have been. But it was too late to rectify this... [130]

The Confederates continued to close the distance to Cemetery Ridge and the Second Corps batteries. They were now close to canister range. As Lieutenant Perrin and Captain Arnold prepared to withdraw what was left of their shattered Rhode Island batteries out of the line, some of the attacking infantry began moving toward Captain Rorty's battery, on the left of the brigade. Now reduced to one workable gun, the battery had also taken many casualties, losing by one account fifty-six men in half an hour. [131] With the Confederates closing in, Rorty needed to work his gun. Volunteers were detached from the nearby 19th Massachusetts infantry and hastily pressed into service. [132] No time could be spared for anything beyond the most rudimentary instruction; the enemy was too close. The novice artillerists took their positions and began to work the gun.

To the north of Rorty's gun, Captain Andrew Cowan's First New York Independent Battery moved in to replace Petit's battery. When the bombardment began, that battery had been positioned to the south of Hazard's brigade. As the smoke lifted, Cowan was ordered to report to General Webb. Cowan remembered

I saw an officer standing near the clump of trees, waving his hat at me, and I saw that a battery at the left of the trees was withdrawing. The officer was General Webb and the battery was Brown's B, First Rhode Island, disabled and out of ammunition. [133]

The battery moved in at a gallop to fill the vacated space. In the rush to move into position, the sixth piece advanced to the north of the clump of trees and came into battery close on Cushing's left. Captain Cowan recalled, "At this moment Pickett's troops were seen forming for the assault, and we lost no time in getting our shell among them." [134]

Cowan's battery moved in as the guns of William Arnold's Battery A, 1st Rhode Island, began to withdraw from the line. They had almost completely exhausted their ammunition supply, and messengers were unable to locate Captain Hazard or Lieutenant Gamaliel Dwight, the Corps ordnance officer, to obtain more. General Hunt was informed of the situation, and he issued a written order moving a battery from the Reserves to replace it. [135] The entire battery, however, appears not to have withdrawn at the same time. A member of the 14th Connecticut infantry, posted just to the right of the battery, observed that "One or two pieces which had been pushed out further to the front were left behind." When the other guns moved back to the rear, the 14th extended its left to cover the open position. [136]

To the north, in Woodruff's battery, Lt. Tully McCrea was momentarily overwhelmed when first he saw the Confederate advance. Many years later he wrote, "...I thought our chances for Kingdom Come, or Libby Prison were very good." McCrea, a member of the West Point class of 1862, quickly recovered and as the Confederates approached, observed:

Never was there such a splendid target for Light Artillery... We with the smoothbores, loaded with canister and bided our time.... When the enemy's Artillery fire ceased and we saw his Infantry preparing to charge our position, Woodruff had his guns run to the crest of the hill, and gave the necessary orders to prepare for the struggle which was coming. He would not fire a shot until the enemy got in close range where our canister would be effective. [137]

The left section of the battery was run up and obliqued to the southwest as the enemy moved forward, to catch the exposed Confederates in the flank. Lieutenant McCrea wrote:

At the command "Commence firing" everybody worked with a will and two rounds of cannister per minute was delivered from each gun. The slaughter was fearful, and great gaps were made in the mass of the enemy upon each discharge. [138]

Down the line, the infantrymen-turned-artillerists of Rorty's battery clustered around their remaining rifle. As Confederates of General James Lawton Kemper's brigade gained ground toward the gun, the improvised cannoneers attempted to stop them. Loading the gun with a triple charge of canister, which probably included three powder charges as well, the piece was discharged. The force of the blast overturned the gun in its recoil, "but deal[t] death amid the opposing ranks." [139]

To the left of Rorty, the four 3-inch rifles of Lieutenant William Wheeler's 13th New York Battery moved into position. Assigned to the 11th Corps Artillery Brigade of Major Thomas Osborn, the battery had been in reserve behind Cemetery Hill. Receiving orders from Osborn to assist the Second Corps, Wheeler was directed by General Hancock to come into line above the head of Plum Run. He later reported:

Upon coming into battery, I found the enemy not more than 400 yards off, marching in heavy column by a flank to attack Petit's battery, which was on my right and somewhat in advance of me. This gave me a fine opportunity to enfilade their column with canister, which threw them into great disorder, and brought them to a halt three times. [140]

To the north, the men of Cushing's battery were also preparing for close quarters. Christopher Smith stated:

We had now only two guns and four rounds of ammunition... We saw the Johnnies coming out towards us and knew there was no time to lose. The two pieces were still about 150 feet back from the stone wall...So we run the pieces down to the wall and I remember taking out a stone so that the muzzle of the gun protruded just over the top of the wall. [141]

Lieutenant Cushing moved forward with his pieces. With the Confederate infantry still some 450 yards distant, he ordered that the remaining canister be brought up close to the guns. As this was done, he was hit by a Minie ball in the right shoulder. A few seconds later, he received a painful wound in the testicles. Cushing instructed Sergeant Fuger of the battery to stay close and repeat his commands to the battery. Fuger saw the severity of his commander's wounds and suggested that he move to a safer location in the rear. "No," he replied firmly. "I stay right here and fight it out or die in the attempt." He would soon be given that opportunity. Shortly afterwards, at his guns, Cushing was shot in the mouth and died instantly. [142]

With their lieutenant down, the battery continued its work. Christopher Smith claimed that the Confederates did not see the muzzles of the two rifles until they were close in:

As soon as they saw the muzzles of the pieces the poor wretches knew what it meant - it meant death within the next three seconds to many of them, and they knew it. I remembered distinctly that they pulled their caps down over their eyes and bowed their heads as men do in walking against a hail storm. They knew what was coming. [143]

Near the battery were the soldiers of the 69th and 71st Pennsylvania infantry. Although some of these soldiers stepped up to assist the cannoneers, one infantryman noted how the artillery and infantry did not mix well at the wall. Anthony McDermott of the 69th PA recalled of the guns:

These pieces done more harm in that position to us than they did the enemy, as they only fired two or three rounds when their ammunition gave out, and one of those rounds blew the heads off two privates of the company, who were on one knee, at the time, besides these pieces drew upon us more than our share of fire from the battery that followed Pickett from the woods opposite to us, the gunners left us leaving their guns behind, hence they were useless. [144]

The long-range shelling from Alexander's battery noted by McDermott was also remarked upon by Major Edmund Rice of the 19th Massachusetts, who later wrote:

A Confederate battery near the Peach Orchard commenced firing, probably at the sight of [our] men leaving their line and closing to the right upon Pickett's column. A cannon-shot tore a horrible passage through a dense crowd of men in blue, who were gathering outside the trees; instantly another shot followed and fairly cut a road through the mass. [145]

The fire from the Union guns, however, remained focused on the attackers. One of Cushing's pieces was pressed into service even after it had fired its last round of canister and was abandoned by its gunners. Some of the men of the 71st Pennsylvania moved the rifle down into the Angle and proceeded to load it:

...[U]p to the muzzle with all sorts of things they even put a bayonet in it, and while we were there a non-commissioned officer of Cushing's battery came up and told us to sight it along the Emmittsburg Road. [146]

Long-distance fire also continued to plague the Confederates as they approached. Lt. J. Irving Sale of the 53rd Virginia remembered that: It was just beyond that fence beyond the Emmittsburg road where a solid shot from Round Top struck the right of my company's line and killed a dozen men. One of them was cut completely in two. [147]

The Confederate organization began to dissolve as their lines crossed over the Emmittsburg road. The batteries on the ridge fired at ever-shortening ranges, but still the broken Confederate units advanced. As contact was finally made between the opposing infantry lines, Federal troops shifted to repulse the brief penetration made at the Angle. This movement uncovered the front at Cowan's battery. Upon seeing this, some Confederates of Kemper's brigade leapt up and rushed forward to capture the guns. Captain Cowan recalled:

A Confederate officer, followed by a number of men, crossed the wall close to the southerly edge of the trees, and I heard him shout, "Take the gun!" as I shouted the order "Fire!", hurling 220 chunks of lead from each of the five guns upon them and those who had stopped at the wall. [148]

Just before this attempt to seize the guns, General Hunt had appeared in Cowan's battery. Hunt feared that Cowan's canister would cut down some of the Union soldiers. Captain Cowan, who was on foot and, in his opinion, "could see what we were doing better than the General mounted", continued to fire. [149]

As the Confederates advanced, Hunt unholstered his revolver and began firing it at the approaching troops. Exclaiming "See 'em!" "See 'em!" "See 'em!", the Chief of Artillery of the Army of the Potomac added a bit of mounted firepower to the line at this critical moment. No Confederate casualties were observed from this fire, but Hunt's horse was killed under him - shot in the head behind the ear. [150]

When Cowan fired his last rounds of canister, the Confederates were swarming over Cushing's guns, and were within ten yards of his. To keep them out of the enemy's reach, he pulled his pieces by hand over the hill to the rear of the line. [151] Meanwhile, the charging Confederates had rushed the batteries north of the Angle, and had received much the same treatment at the hands of the gunners there. One of Arnold's guns, along with possibly a section of Lt. Gulian V. Weir's Battery C, 5th U. S. Artillery, delivered withering blasts of canister at very short ranges into the Confederates as the advance stalled in that sector. [152] During this phase of battle, Lieutenant Woodruff of Battery I, 1st U. S. Artillery received a mortal wound in his side. [153]

It was time for the artillery to turn the fight over to the infantry. The gunners had done their part to break up the assaulting columns of enemy infantry, but there were limits to the usefulness of the big guns now that the Confederates were upon them. As the opposing infantry lines closed and struggled together, the risk of firing and hitting friendly troops was too great. Some cannoneers, feeling they could do no more, attempted to leave their pieces. [154] Other batteries, to the north and south of the Angle area, continued to sporadically plink away at occasional targets of opportunity as the attacking lines began to recede. Hunt, ever mindful of the need to conserve his ammunition, ordered those batteries to cease fire. [155]

It remained for the artillerymen to get their batteries in order, prepared for whatever might yet come against them. Hunt was taking no chances, and he wanted his guns to be ready. Much needed to be done to get some of his shattered units back in shape. The batteries of Major Osborn's Eleventh Corps brigade on Cemetery Hill had taken serious punishment from the cross-fire in their exposed position. The brigade casualties numbered sixty-nine men and ninety-eight horses. [156] The men would be replaced later, but Osborn wrote, "Unless these horses were replaced, I should be compelled to dismount one battery, take its horses for the other batteries, and leave it." Obtaining permission to impress private horses into service, he sent

...out the quartermaster sergeants of all the batteries with instructions to take from the citizens the horses that each battery required and give memoranda receipts for them. [This was done] much to the consternation of the farmers. The receipts were given, and the government soon after paid $125 for each horse without inquiring as to its market value. It was a good sale for some, a bad one for others. [157]

The losses in Captain Hazard's Second Corps brigade were much more severe, with one hundred and forty-nine men listed as casualties. By one account, the brigade lost two hundred and fifty horses. [158]

"Caisson and battery horses near the grove of trees and Corps front the scene of Pickett's Charge Gettysburg July 4th 1863" Sketch by Edwin Forbes showing the wreckage of a 2nd Corps battery.

Sergeant Fuger of Cushing's battery claimed that in his battery alone

The loss in Battery A was very great. Out of nintey horses, we lost eighty-three killed; not a sound wheel was left, nine ammunition chests blown up, two officers killed, one officer wounded, seven enlisted men killed, thirty-eight enlisted men wounded. [159]

The losses in the other units were nearly as high. Woodruff's battery had the lightest casualties of any in the brigade, [160] yet Lieutenant Haskell noted seventy dead horses in a fifty-yard square around the position. [161] Captain Hazard reported that it was necessary to consolidate the shattered remnants of the two Regular batteries into one serviceable unit. The same was done with the two Rhode Island batteries, "thus reducing the five batteries that entered the fight to three." The Confederates had effectively pummelled the Second Corps artillery posted on the ridge. [162]

What the Confederate gunners had not done, however, was drive the Federal artillery off and clear the way for the assaulting infantry. This failure, in conjunction with the determination of the Union troops to hold the position, proved disastrous. General Hunt noted in his report. Their artillery fire was too much dispersed, and failed to produce the intended effect. It was, however, so severe and so well sustained that it put to the test, and fully proved, the discipline and excellence of our troops. [163]

The discipline and excellence referred to by Hunt were not casual qualities that accidentally settled into the artillery of the Army of the Potomac. They were the positive results of improvements made by dedicated volunteer and professional soldiers working to create a more efficient service. Changes in command and organization made after Chancellorsville had proven their worth at Gettysburg.

Key among the changes had been the adoption of the brigade system for the artillery, which more easily allowed for massed firepower on a large front. In 1896, Brigadier General Tully McCrea wrote

One of the main features of [Gettysburg] was the grouping of the batteries, thus giving to their fire the effect of concentration and mass. Gettysburg has been discussed from every point of view except that of the artillery; yet every account of the battle refers to the effectiveness of the arm...The Artillery of the Army of the Potomac had at last received the same efficient organization so long in use in the Army of Northern Virginia, and in this battle the whole of the artillery in both armies was fought for all it was worth and fully demonstrated the power and influence in battle of this arm when properly managed. [164]

According to General McCrea, proper management was important to the successful utilization of artillery. General Hunt shared that sentiment. He felt that, for as much as the artillery had achieved on 3 July, 1863, it could have achieved more if it had not been denied the opportunity of catching the Confederates in a massive cross-fire by Winfield Scott Hancock.

Hancock later criticized the fire of the Second Corps artillery upon the Confederate advance, stating that:

No attempt was made to check the advance of the enemy until the first line had arrived within about 700 yards of our position, when a feeble fire of artillery was opened upon it, but with no material effect and without delaying for a moment its determined advance.

This was too much for Hunt, who responded with a stinging rebuttal:

Why was this? Simply because under his own imperative orders...the artillery of his corps had thrown away in an utterly useless cannonade every round of its long range ammunition, and therefore it could not open on the advancing troops until they came within canister range of his batteries...[I]t was with the object of making the advancing troops pass through, not a "feeble fire of artillery" but a heavy cross-fire from the whole line-if indeed they could do that from the first moment of their advance and before they came under infantry fire. His counter orders...resulted in the artillery fiasco he describes and moreover in a fearful loss of life and a narrow escape from defeat. [165]

It would take time for some commanders to fully appreciate this lesson from the Gettysburg victory. On August 6, 1863, Colonel Wainwright noted in his diary:

General Hunt complains that Meade is treading in the old footsteps and fights shy of giving him control of the artillery. When Hunt was here the other day he wanted a copy of the order Hooker gave me on the field at Chancellorsville, as proof that in time of a general engagement it was necessary to have a chief of artillery with actual powers. I regret exceedingly that I have lost the original order, for it was a paper to be proud of [emphasis added]. [166]

It was indeed a paper to be proud of. For from it developed the reforms that allowed an improved artillery service to help repulse the Grand Assault of 3 July and bring about the Federal victory at Gettysburg.

NOTES

1. Star and Sentinel, July 30, 1885, Meteorology of the Battle of Gettysburg Henry E. Jacobs (Transcribed copy in Gettysburg National Military Park Library file; hereafter cited as GNMP)

2. Ernst Linden Wiatt, History of the Nineteenth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865 (Salem: The Salem Press Co., 1906; repr., Baltimore, MD.: Butternut and Blue, 1988), 234.

3. Frank L. Byrne and Andrew T. Weaver, eds., Haskell Of Gettysburg: His Life and Civil War Papers, (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1970), 147-148

4. Different accounts of the cannonade estimate anywhere from 130 to 200 Confederate guns were involved. A more realistic estimate of "over 150" is cited in some more scholarly works, such as Edwin B. Coddington's The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1984), 493

5. Edward Porter Alexander, Fighting For The Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander, Gary Gallagher, ed. (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 245-246. Hereafter cited as Fighting For The Confederacy.

6. Report of Brig. Gen. Henry J. Hunt, U.S. Army, Chief of Artillery, Army of the Potomac, The War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1880-1900), Series I, vol. 27, pt. 1, p. 238. Hereafter cited as O.R.

7. The two types of projectiles required different fuzes. Rifled shells could employ a burning time fuse, ignited by the firing of the gun, or they could use a contact "percussion" fuse, designed to burst the shell upon striking the target. Smooth-bore shells used burning time fuzes almost exclusively. Faulty fuzes of both types gave gunners fits. For a detailed discussion of the finer technical points of fuzes, consult Jack Coggins, Arms And Equipment Of The Civil War, (Wilmington: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1987) 82-83. Hereafter cited as Coggins.

8. U.S. War Department Instruction For Field Artillery (J. B. Lippincott, 1861; repr., New York, Greenwood Press, 1968), 11. Hereafter cited as Field Artillery Manual.

9. New York Herald, July 2, 1911 "When Cowan's Battery Withstood Pickett's Splendid Charge." by Andrew Cowan. GNMP files.

10. In rifled guns, canister balls have a tendency to guide along the rifling grooves, distorting them away from the center of the intended target area.

11. Dean S. Thomas, Cannons: An Introduction To Civil War Artillery, (Arendtsville: Thomas Publishing Co., 1985), 28. Hereafter cited as Cannons.

12. Cannons, 39.

13. Field Artillery Manual, p. 6. The breakdown of battery personnel is as follows: Officers: 1 Captain, 4 Lieutenants. Enlisted men: 70 cannoneers, 52 drivers, 2 buglers, 6 artificers, 12 corporals, 6 sergeants, and 2 staff sergeants.

14. Ibid, p. 107-119. Briefly, the positions of the cannoneers as firing begins and their duties while loading and firing are thus: The No. 1 is to the right of the muzzle, outside the wheel. Equipped with a sponge-rammer, he cleans out the gun between shots and rams the ammunition home to the breech. No. 2 is to the left of the muzzle, outside the wheel. He receives the ammunition from the No. 5, who has brought it from the rear, and places it in the muzzle of the gun for the No. 1 to ram home. The No. 3 stands behind the No. 1. As the No. 1 sponges and rams, No. 3 stops the vent with his thumb, cutting off air to anything burning in the gun, preventing a premature discharge. At the conclusion of ramming, he then moves to the rear of the gun and points it to the left or right, as directed by the gunner. He then moves to the breech of the gun, pricks open the powder bag using a long vent wire, and assists the No. 4 by holding the friction primer in the vent. The No. 4 stands behind the No. 2. He fires the piece, using a friction primer and a lanyard. No.'s 6 and 7 are to the rear, selecting the ammunition called for by the gunner, and preparing any needed fuzes. A sergeant, known as the chief of the piece, is posted between the gun and the ammunition source. He oversees the operation of the cannoneers as they work.

15. L. Van Loan Naiswald, Grape and Canister: The Story Of The Field Artillery Of The Army Of The Potomac, 1861-1865. (New York: The Oxford University Press, 1960; repr., Washington, D.C.: Zenger Publishing Co., 1983), 409-410. Hereafter cited as Naiswald.

16. In the 2nd Corps Artillery brigade alone, at least three of it's five batteries are known to have utilized some infantry volunteers - Cushing, Brown and Rorty.

17. Naiswald, 409.

18. Although Henry Hunt had predicted Smith would lose the 4 guns posted there, Smith was able to save one before being overrun. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, vol. 3, Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel, eds., Henry J. Hunt, The Second Day At Gettysburg. (Secaucus: Castle Books, n.d.), 305. Hereafter cited as Battles and Leaders.

19. The Bachelder Papers. David L. & Audrey J. Ladd, Dr. Richard A Sauers, eds., (Dayton: Morningside House, Inc., 1994) vol. 1, pp. 172- 177. Hereafter cited as Bachelder Papers.

20. O. R, Ser. I, vol 27, Pt. 1, p. 660. Report of Captain A. P. Martin, commanding 5th Corps Artillery brigade.

21. Naiswald, 410, 577. Brown's B, 1st R.I.A., Phillips' 5th Mass. Battery E, and possibly Rorty's B, 1st N.Y. While Hunt reports Rorty's battery as reduced to four guns at the end of the second day's fight, Naiswald suggests that it entered the fight with four. Capt. Hazard's report gives no specific details.

22. Ibid, 410, 577

23.Report of Lt. Cornelius Gillett, Ordnance officer, Artillery Reserve, O.R., Ser. I, vol. 27, pt. 1, p. 878.

24. Ibid, 879.

25. Lt. Gillett's report states that a total of 4,030 rounds were sent to McGilvery. 7,325 rounds were delivered to the 2nd, 3rd and 11th Corps, with another 7,474 going to other batteries. 360 rounds of light 12 lbr. were sent to General Hunt.

26. Bachelder Papers, vol. 1, p. 675.

27. Ezra J. Warner Generals In Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1977), 242. Hereafter cited as Generals In Blue.

28. Register of Graduates and Former Cadets of the United States Military Academy, (West Point: Association of Graduates, USMA, 1990), 264. Hereafter cited as Register of Graduates.

29. Edward G. Longacre, The Man Behind The Guns, (South Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes and Company London: Thomas Yoseloff Ltd., 1977) p. 33. Hereafter cited as Longacre.

30. Ibid, passim, 34-42, Generals In Blue, 242.

31. Longacre, 66-67.

32. Ibid, 68-69.

33. Ibid. This work succeeded Major Ringgold's 1845 revision of Major Robert Anderson's 1839 artillery manual, itself an adaptation from a yet earlier French work.

34. Special Orders No. 2. O.R., Series I, vol. 19, Pt. 2, p. 188, Generals In Blue, 242

35. Edward G. Longacre, The Man Behind The Guns, (South Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes and Company London: Thomas Yoseloff Ltd., 1977) 119

36. O.R., Series I, vol. 11, pt. 3, p. 40

37. Report of Gen'l. Hunt, Operations of September 5-20, 1862. O.R., Series I, vol. 19, pt. 1, p. 205

38. Longacre, 124

39. Naiswald, 229-230, Longacre, 125-126.

40. Longacre, 125

41. Ibid, 126

42. Allen Nevins, ed., A Diary of Battle, (Gettysburg Stan Clark Military Books, reprint, 1962), pp 107, 114, 129, 131. Hereafter cited as Wainwright, Diary.

43. Ibid, 131

44. William Marvel, Burnside, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), 216

45. Chancellorsville: The Battle and Its Aftermath Gary Gallagher, ed., John J. Hennessy, We Shall Make Richmond Howl: The Army of the Potomac on the Eve of Chancellorsville, p. 13 quoting Joseph Hooker to Samuel P. Bates, August 28, 1876. Hereafter cited as Hennessy.

46. Captain James E. Smith, A Famous Battery And Its Campaigns, 1861-'64 (Washington: W.H. Lowdermilk & Co., 1892), 95-96

47. Hennessy, 13.

48. Henry J. Hunt's Chancellorsville report, August 1, 1863. O.R., Ser. I, vol. 25, Pt. 1, p. 252

49. Wainwright, Diary, 192-193.

50. Report of Capt. George E. Randolph, Chief of Artillery, 3rd Corps. O.R., Ser. I, vol. 25, pt. 1, p. 406-407

51. Wainwright, Diary, 193-194

52. Ibid.

53. Special Orders No. 129, O.R., Ser. I, vol. 25, Pt. 2, p. 471.

54. Hunt's Chancellorsville report, August 1, 1863. pp. 252-253

55. Rufus Ingalls to Col. D.H. Rucker, May 7, 1863. O. R. Ser. I, vol. 25, pt. 2, p. 440.

56. Orders of Henry J. Hunt, December 4, 1862. O.R., Ser. I, vol. 21, pp. 828-829.

57. Longacre, 159.

58. Naiswald, 331.

59. Ibid, 322

60. Ibid.

61. Battles and Leaders, vol. 3, Henry J. Hunt, The Third Day At Gettysburg, p. 372

62. Battles and Leaders. vol. 3. Henry J. Hunt, The Third Day At Gettysburg, pp. 372 - 374.

63. Capt. George Meade, The Life And Letters Of George Meade George Gordon Meade, ed., (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913), vol. 2, p. 106. Hereafter cited as Life And Letters Of George Meade.

64. Bachelder Papers, vol. 3, pp. 1360-1361, Report of Lt. Col. Charles H. Morgan.

65. Life And Letters Of George Meade, pp. 107-108.

66. John Gibbon, Personal Recollections of the Civil War. (Dayton: Morningside Bookshop, 1978), 147. Hereafter cited as Gibbon, Recollections

67. General F.E. Heath, Account of the 19th Maine, Maine State Archives, Adj. General's Records, 1895 History Material. GNMP Files

68. Fighting For The Confederacy, pp. 257-258

69. The Eleventh Corps Artillery at Gettysburg: The Papers of Major Thomas Ward Osborn, Herb Crumb, ed. (Hamilton: Edmonston Publishing Co., 1991), p. 85. Hereafter cited as Eleventh Corps Artillery.

70. Ibid, pp. 2 - 3.

71. Ibid, 36.

72. Jennings Cropper Wise, The Long Arm Of Lee: The History Of The Artillery Of The Army Of Northern Virginia, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959), p. 668

73. Eleventh Corps Artillery at Gettysburg p. 72

74. Ibid

75. Ibid, 36 - 38.

76. Report of Capt. Wm. McCartney, 1st Mass. Battery. O. R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 1, pp. 688-689.

77. Ibid

78. Edmund G. Raus, A Generation on the March - The Union Army at Gettysburg, (Lynchburg. H.E. Howard, Inc., 1987), p. 49. Hereafter cited as Raus.

79. Report of Capt. Frederick M. Edgell, 1st New Hampshire Battery. O.R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 1, p. 893.

80. Major Henry L. Abbot, Siege Artillery In The Campaigns Against Richmond, (New York: D. Van Nostrand, Publisher, 1868), p. 112

81. Report of Capt. Hubert Dilger, 1st Ohio Light Artillery. O. R., Ser. I, vol. 27, pt. 1, pp. 754-755.

82. Fallen Leaves: The Civil War Letters of Major Henry Livermore Abbot Robert Garth Scott, ed., (Kent: Kent State University Press, 1991), p. 184.

83. Elbert Corbin, "Petit's Battery at Gettysburg", The National Tribune, February 3, 1910

84. Stewart Sifakis, Who Was Who In The Union, (New York: Facts On File, 1988), p. 189.

85. Capt. Hazard's report, O.R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 1, p. 478.

86. Report of General Hunt, O.R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. I, p. 238

87. Ibid

88. Report of Capt. Hazard. O.R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 1, p. 478

89. Register of Graduates, 284

90. Lt. Brown, "B", 1st R.I.L.A., had been a college student at Brown University. Lt. Perrin, who took over after Brown's wounding, had enlisted in 1861 as a corporal and had risen through the ranks. Capt. Arnold "A", 1st R.I.L.A., had been a bookkeeper in Providence, R I., while Capt. Rorty, "B", 1st N.Y.L.A., had been a bookseller in New York City. (See Raus, pp. 86 and 147, and John H. Rhodes, The History of Battery B. First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery, (Providence: Snow and Farnham, Printers, 1894), p. 352.) Hereafter cited as History of Battery B.

91. Captain Hazard's report, O. R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 1, p. 478. The limbers exploded so quickly that the Confederates thought they hit a caisson. See also Major Poague's report, O. R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 2, p. 674

92. Ibid.

93. Gibbon, Recollections, p. 148-149.

94. Buffalo Evening News, May 29, 1894, Bloody Angle, Christopher Smith and G.S. Finley (Gettysburg Newspaper Clippings, GNMP), vol. 4, pp. 41 - 44. Hereafter cited as Smith, Bloody Angle.

95. Ibid, 42.

96. Diary of Francis Moses Wafer, 108th New York. GNMP files. Hereafter cited as Wafer Diary.

97. Bachelder Papers, vol. 1, p. 228. Hunt to Bachelder, January 6, 1866.

98. Glenn Tucker, Hancock The Superb. (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1960), p. 150. Col. E.P. Alexander disagreed with Hunt as well. In Fighting For The Confederacy, p. 260, he states, "I...concur with General Hancock's idea that the Federal policy ...should have been to keep their batteries firing at least as long as ours were. For they had superiority in number and caliber of guns,...and in quality and quantity of ammunition. Their policy should have been always to fight us to exhaustion if [given] the chance. Exhaustion would have come to us first."

99. Battles and Leaders, vol. 3, Francis A. Walker, General Hancock and the Artillery at Gettysburg, p. 386

100. It would never be solved to the satisfaction of its main antagonists. Even after Hancock's death, Hunt continued to espouse his viewpoint on the subject to anyone willing to listen. See also endnote 118. The Bachelder Papers contain many of Hunt's lengthy missives on this subject.

101. Report of Lt. Col. Freeman McGilvery, O.R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 1, p. 883.

102. History of The Fifth Massachusetts Battery, Luther E. Cowles, ed., (Boston: Luther E. Cowles, Publisher, 1902), p. 652

103. Ibid.

104. Bachelder Papers, vol. 1, pp. 432-433. Hunt to Bachelder, January 20, 1873.

105. Raus, p. 92, and Harry W. Pfanz, Gettysburg: The Second Day, (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987), p. 312. Quoting John N. Crag to Henry Hunt, 17 July, 1879, in the Hunt Papers in the Library of Congress.

106. Bachelder Papers. vol. 3, p. 1798. Hart to Bachelder, February 23, 1891.

107. History of the Fifth Massachusetts Battery. Luther E. Cowles, ed., (Boston: Luther E. Cowles, Publisher, 1902), p. 652. Hereafter cited as Fifth Mass. Battery.

108. McGilvery's Report, O.R., vol. 27, Pt. 1, p. 884. Note that in his report McGilvery refers to Hancock as "Some general commanding the infantry line."

109. Hunt's O.R. Report, Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 1, p. 238

110. Martin's O.R. Report, Ser. I, vol. 27, pt. 1, p. 659-661. Also, see the letter from Longstreet to Long in Southern Historical Society Papers, Rev. J. Wm. Jones, ed., (Richmond: Southern Historical Society, 1878), p. 50. Hereafter cited as SHSP.

111. History of Battery B, p. 209

112. History of Battery B, 210. This was the creation of the famous "Gettysburg Gun", which now rests in an honored place in the Rhode Island statehouse. It has been there on display since 1904. In 1962, the powder charge was finally removed.

113. Smith, Bloody Angle

114. "Lt. Col. Frederick Fuger's Personal Recollections", (GNMP File)

115. Wafer Diary, (GNMP Files)

116. Bloody Angle, (GNMP Files)

117. Eleventh Corps Artillery at Gettysburg. pp. 75-76.

118. Battles and Leaders, vol. 3, Henry J. Hunt, The Third Day at Gettysburg. p. 374. The officer was Major Bingham, of Hancock's staff. This fact was remarked upon with some irony later after the question of command authority over the artillery had become an issue. In his letter to Bachelder dated Jan. 20, 1873, Hunt wrote, "It is curious too that Gen. Meade's order to cease our fire sent to the Chief of Artillery and thus recognizing all the batteries on the line as under his command, should have reached him through one of Gen. Hancock's staff officers!"

119. Battles and Leaders, vol. 3. E. P. Alexander, Artillery Fighting at Gettysburg. p. 364.

120. Battles and Leaders, vol. 3. Henry J. Hunt, The Third Day At Gettysburg, p. 374

121. Battles and Leaders, vol. 3. E. P. Alexander, Artillery Fighting At Gettysburg, p. 365.

122. Ibid.

123. Fifth Mass. Battery, p. 652-653.

124. Bachelder Papers. vol. 3, p. 1798. Hart to Bachelder, Feb. 23, 1891.

125. Diary of Sgt. Joseph B. Todd, Hampton's Battery. (GNMP Files)

126. The Gettysburg Papers, Ken Bandy and Florence Freeland, eds., (Dayton: Morningside Press, 1978). The Battle of Gettysburg As Seen From Little Round Top vol. 2, p. 526.

127. Report of Captain Hart, O. R., Ser. I, vol. 27, pt. 1, p. 888.

128. Battles and Leaders, vol. 3. E. P. Alexander, Artillery Fighting At Gettysburg, p. 365.

129. Bachelder Papers, vol. 3, p. 1798. Hart to Bachelder, Feb. 23, 1891.

130. Ibid, vol. 1, p. 431-432. Hunt to Bachelder, Jan. 20, 1873.

131. Wiatt, Nineteenth Massachusetts, p. 235.

132. Ibid.

133. New York Herald, July 2, 1911 "When Cowan's Battery Withstood Pickett's Splendid Charge", by Andrew Cowan. GNMP files.

134. Bachelder Papers, vol. 2, p. 1146. Cowan to Bachelder, Nov. 24, 1885.

135. Thomas M. Aldrich, The History Of Battery A, First Regiment Rhode Island Artllery, (Providence: Snow & Farnham, Printers, 1904), p. 218. Hereafter cited as History of Battery A.

136. Charles D. Page, History Of The Fourteenth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, (Meriden: The Horton Printing Co., 1906), p. 150.

137. Brigader-General Tully McCrea, "Reminiscences About Gettysburg" (GNMP Files)

138 Ibid.

139. New York At Gettysburg, Report of The Commissioners, (Albany: J. B. Lyon & Co. Printers, 1902). Address of Rev. W. O. Beauchamp, vol. III, pp. 1183 - 1184.

140. Report of Lt. William Wheeler, 13th N.Y. Battery. O. R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 1, p. 753.

141. Smith, Bloody Angle.

142. Fuger, Recollections.

143 Ibid.

144. Bachelder Papers vol. 3, p. 1410. Lt. McDermott to Bachelder, June 2, 1886.

145. Battles and Leaders, vol. 3. Repelling Lee's Last Blow At Gettysburg, p. 389.

146. Smith, Bloody Angle, Transcript on Appeal, Reed, et al. v. Gettysburg Memorial Association, Nos. 20 and 30 (Sup. Ct. of PA., May Term, 1891), p. 243. Ammunition for rifled artillery was "semi-fixed", consisting of a projectile and a separate powder charge. When firing double loads of canister, only one powder charge was used. Therefore, there would have been powder bags available for the men of the 71st to use when loading their "junk round".

147. Transcribed account in The Philadelphia Press, July 4, 1886. (GNMP Files)

148. New York Herald, July 2, 1911, "When Cowan's Battery Withstood Pickett's Splendid Charge".

149. Undated remarks by Andrew Cowan, Alexander Stewart Webb Collection, Yale University Library (photocopy in GNMP files)

150. Ibid. In all fairness to General Hunt's marksmanship, Edward Longacre presents a different scenario for the demise of the General's horse. In The Man Behind The Guns, p. 176, Longacre states that Hunt's horse was hit by five Minie balls. His source is "Repulsing Pickett's Charge-An Eyewitness Account", by Capt. Andrew Cowan in the August, 1964 Civil War Times Illustrated, page 29. It does not, however, mention any rifle balls striking the General's horse.

151. Bachelder Papers, vol. 2, p. 1156. Cowan to Bachelder, December 2, 1885.

152. Aldrich, History of Battery A, p. 216 - 217.

153. Report of Captain Hazard, O. R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 1, p. 481

154. Smith, Bloody Angle.

155. One example of this may be seen in the report of First Lieutenant A. N. Parsons, commanding Battery A, New Jersey Light Artillery. As the Confederate infantry withdrew, he engaged an enemy battery. He stated that he received an order from Hunt to cease fire in spite of the fact that "My shells were telling upon the enemy battery, and I [Parsons] believe that I could have completely silenced it in five minutes more." O. R., Ser. I, vol. 27, pt. 1, p. 900.

156. Revised Statement of Casualties, O. R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 1, p. 183.

157. Osborn, Eleventh Corps Artillery, p. 44-45.

158. Revised Statement of Casualties, O.R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 1, p. 177. Dear Belle: Letters From A Cadet & Officer to his Sweetheart. 1858 - 1865. Catherine S. Crary, ed., (Middleton: Wesleyan University Press, 1965), p. 211. Hereafter cited as Dear Belle.

159. Fuger, Recollections, p. 18. These numbers vary from the Revised Statement of Casualties in the O. R.'s, which list 1 officer and 5 enlisted men killed, 1 officer and 31 enlisted men wounded. The difference in officers killed may be the result of the death of Second Lieutenant Joseph S. Milne. Although technically a member of Battery A, 1st Rhode Island, he was mortally wounded while serving in Cushings battery. In any case, both previous totals conflict with the battery muster report of 31 August, 1863, which states that 25 enlisted men were wounded, with 29 horses killed and 36 horses wounded. (GNMP Files)

160. The official total of casualties is shown as twenty-five, although it mistakenly indicates that Lieutenant Woodruff was wounded and not killed. Revised Statement of Casualties, O. R., Ser. I, vol. 27, Pt. 1, p. 177

161. Dear Belle, p. 210, citing Franklin A. Haskell, The Battle of Gettysburg, Bruce Carton, ed., (Boston, 1958), p. 92

162. Report of Captain Hazard, O.R., Ser. I, vol. 27, pt. 1, p. 480

163. Report of General Hunt, O. R., Ser. I, vol. 27, pt. 1, p. 240

164. Dear Belle, pp. 211 - 212, quoting McCrea in Light Artillery, Its Use and Misuse, pp. 11 - 12.

165. Bachelder Papers, vol. 1, p. 814. Hunt to Bachelder, Feb. ?, 1882.

166. Wainwright, Diary of Battle, p. 271

Previous Top Next


   
 

History and Culture