Friday, July 4, 2008
145th Anniversary of Gettysburg.
Ranger Hartwig's tour, Behind the 69th Pa. Infantry, near Copse of Woods.
On Thursday July 3, 2008 my wife and I took one of our road trips to Gettysburg for the purpose of taking in one of the Ranger Walking Tours. We were very fortunate to be on Scott Hartwig’s tour of the Union Defense and repulse of Pickets Charge. The 2 ½ hours walking tour was fascinating. I highly recommend if you ever get the chance take up one of theses tours.
On the Union Line the tour.
Since we were on the defensive line of the Union Army on Cemetery Ridge I wanted to write a little about the 69th Pennsylvania who was positioned in the center of the line in front of and to the right of the copse of woods. We had three men from Schuylkill who were with the 69th at this point ion the battle. Charles Jenkins who was wounded in the stomach and died later that day.
I have always wondered how Lt. John Ryan , who was born in North Manheim township, was captured, but after yesterdays talk I now know how, in the confusion and the mayhem that was going on at that point in the battle he was probably carried away with retreating rebels. Ranger Hartwig gave such fascinating info. One item of interest was the 69th had picked up muskets from the day before and almost every man had one or two loaded muskets to repulse the charge. It was great to stand where they fought 145 years ago.
JEFFERY D.WERT wrote about the 69th:
"The 69th Pennsylvania refused to break and clung to the wall. On it's right, however, the left wing of the 71st Pennsylvania abandoned the wall as the Southerners closed, running up the slope. On the 69th Pennsylvania's left, the 59th New York buckled and then cracked. Earlier, Webb had ordered forward the 72nd Pennsylvania and two companies of the 106th Pennsylvania from behind the crest. Now, as their comrades raced past them, these Federals stood on the western slope below the crest, refusing to counterattack."
"Along the section of the wall held by the 69th Pennsylvania, the opponents stood paces apart. The green flag ... of the Pennsylvanians were only yards from the red
flags of the Virginians. "Everyone was loading and firing as fast as they could" declared a Federal".
The 69th Pa. Position and Flank Markers. Along this line is were Jenkins took a fatal hit to his stomach, and Lt. John Ryan fighting hard was captured.
69th PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY
2nd Corps 2nd Div. 2nd Brig.
329 engaged 40k-80wd-17m
Monument located on Webb Ave.
" This position was held by the 69th July 2nd and 3rd 1863 in the afternoon of the 2nd this regiment assisted in repulsing a desperate attack made by Wright's Brigade. About 1 O'clock P.M. of the 3rd, these lines were subjected to an artillery fire from nearly 150 guns, lasting over an hour after which Pickett's Division charged this position, was repulsed and nearly annihilated. The contest on the left and centre of this regiment, for a time being hand to hand."
1. Pvt. Charles Jenkins Co. D/ Minersville
Killed in Action on July 3rd by being wounded in the stomach.
2. Pvt. Henry Owens Co. E/ Lost Creek. Fought the entire war was M.O. In 1865
3. 1st. Lt. John Ryan Co. F/ North Manheim Twp./ Captured.
The 3rd Pa. cavlary Monument East Cavalry Battlefield.
Also on this road trip I had to visit the place I love the best at Gettysburg, East Cavalry Battlefield. The place were my favorite Civil War Pesrsonality fought, Gen George Armstrong Custer. It is also where the 3rd Pa cavalry fought. We had few men who fought hard on the right flank of the famous Michigan cavalry charges that day. Included in this section are a couple of stories, actually letters I found on the 3rd. The first is a letter written in June of 1863 by members of company L. And the later is their glory at Gettysburg.
SCHUYLKILL BOYS HAVE AN EXCITING DAY IN CAMP.
THE 3rd PENNA. CAVALRY.
CAMP MARCY, VA.
Dear Journal:- Having quite a patriotic and exciting day here on the 13th we think it worth publishing in the Journal not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of your readers. Some may think it a disgrace, but we do not. It is understood. I believe by all that the Schuylkill County boys are game, and if they do not get a show at the rebels, why they will fight among themselves merely to keep their hands in. Well on the night of the 12th inst. the boys thought they could get a barrel of whiskey by drawing a staple, and about 10 o'clock, P.M. a squad of about six were lead by a distinguished small one in the company to where the whiskey was located. As they approached the place where it was kept, which was in a barn they were encouraged to go on further, thinking there was less danger of being caught, on account of the camp being very lively with the serenading of bands near where the whiskey was. The whiskey was taken from the Garibaldi's by what I can understand. They let here with a camp kettle that would hold about four gallons. They went to where the whiskey was drew staple from the door; went in and filled the kettle and were about to start off when one of the brave squad proposed to take the whole barrel. It being agreed by all they picked up the barrel and carried it about half way from there to our camp, where they put it in among some underbrush so it could not be found. Then they left the barrel and had the kettle full to bring into camp. So all being pretty well "snooked" they started away for camp, but M.D. who was left there to guard the barrel.- The balance of them got into camp about 3 o'clock on the 13th. The first place they pitched for was the Orderly Sergeant's tent. In they came with the kettle of whiskey and a tin cup to deal it out. There were only three of us in this tent and we were sound asleep. We were awakened very suddenly by a tin full of poison held to our noses. We were almost obliged to drink; but with a great deal of difficulty we got clear of drinking at the time; but they left a tin full with us, and then went into all the other tents, and dealt it out not by the smaller but by the larger quantity. By Reveille a good many had as much as they could carry. Previous to roll call a fight occurred between two privates, G.W. and E.F. It was to be a fair set to. G.W. however, getting a little to the advantage after the first round, mounted E.F. and bit his ear, which pronounced foul play by E.F's. second, Corporal J.C. He rolled G.W. off E.F. when G.W's. second, Corporal W.G. thought it unfair, and made an attempt to strike E.F's. second, when private J.M. who was standing in reach of G.W's. second and let him have a plug about the ear somewhere, when they clinched and put it into one another smartly for a moment. They were however, parted and came up to roll call. All was quiet while roll call was in order. After roll call, private J.M. told Corporal W.G. that he thought that it was mean for him to interfere when fair play was shown. Private E. McA. also told Corporal W.G. of his faults when Corporal W.G. called E. McA. a liar, and they at it very quietly, and had a pretty hard fight, which was witnessed by our Captain and pronounced a hard although a fair fight. It soon ended by Corporal W.G. being pronounced the best man. The next on the program was breakfast. After that stable call. They all groomed their horses, washed themselves, and then some of the squad went off to get their canteens filled from the barrel in the woods. They had a big time to find the barrel. Private M.J. who they left to guard it drank a little too much and crawled away from the barrel. They found him at last but he could not find the barrel on account of having taken too much before he left it. But the squad would not give up until they found the barrel. At last they found it and brought more whiskey into camp. They all kept taking a little in the forenoon until they all got pretty well "How came you so?" Just before water call, which is about 11 o'clock, A.M., a quarrel occurred between private M.D. , who was left to watch the barrel in the woods, and W.D.. But one being afraid and the other to drunk, they postponed the fight. It then was near dinner. Dinner call sounded. The roll was called. They were dismissed and then made for the cook house. Being there but a few moments, Corporal J.C. and private W.W., The assistant cook, got into contact with each other. They had hardly got to fighting until private E.A. mixed in. After him, in came private G.W., and then E.McA. It was a free fight for a few moments, but was finally settled, and they ate their dinner, and had a splendid appetite. During this time the officers were trying to arrange the matter to have it stopped. They were afraid it would come to a shooting yet; but it was no go. Their dinners had scarcely settled, until Corporal W.R and private J.S. who goes by the name Major, had to have a set to in a ring. The ring was back of the cook house, and the two mentioned got into it, ready for action. The fight lasted about a half hour and was decided in favor of J.S. or the Major, as we call him; but they would not let them fight it out. Before this fight has ended, private E.McA. and G.W. had a good opinion of themselves and E.McA. proposed to G.W. to come to one side and they would have a little fun to themselves. It was no sooner said than done. They striped off and fell to work. They were at it but a moment until private J.C. wanted to part them, when a fellow out of company B came up and gave J.C. a kick and ran. He had hardly made the kick at J.C. until private J.M. who was standing close by let drive at this fellow and missed; but being long in the flanks, he made out to kick him on the shins as he was running. The fellow from company B expected to settle the fight, and he thought by interfering he would strike someone and then run and probably they would all follow him. His intention answered very well. It broke up the fight. All that saved him from getting a good hammering, was because he was good on a run. We have not seen anything of this fellow since. No doubt he is running yet if some one has not stopped him. By the time the fight was over the Officer of the Day came around, and arrested everyone of our boys that looked as if they been fighting. He gathered up fourteen altogether, and put them in the guard house. Everything was pretty quiet then until after retreat. The worst of all came then. It might have been death. Corporal J.S. and private J.H.M. had a quarrel and private J.H.M. struck Corporal J.S. on the head with a pistol and knocked him senseless. We thought he was dead; but he fortunately came to again, and was carried to the hospital where he still remains. This ended all the fighting; but now and then we could see one going from one tent to another, with such an awful loud on, that he could hardly get along. The last man of all was a particularly small one, who was carried into my tent and laid on the wood in one corner. Presently I got a glimpse of him. I didn't know whether it was a human being or not; but after looking the second time I recognized him. I picked him up and laid him on my bed. He had laid there until morning. This morning at the guard house, the prisoners were called out to answer their names. They all were battered very much about the face, except one little individual C.S., our cook who when he answered his name jumped up and said "here is I, a better cook as never was" The Colonel looked at them. He hardly knew how to punish them; but as no one made any complaint of being whipped or hurt bad, and all seemed to be satisfied, he discharged them all and sent them to their quarters. He is a bully Colonel. And so it ended. Our company officers punished none of them but let them go and they settled it among themselves. We must give much praise to our gallant superiors for taking everything so coolly for had they interfered
it would have ended worse. It may seem horrible to some of your readers, but where many would call it mutiny in camp or rioting we call it a sham battle. Since our boys have shown their patriotism our captain has been offered one hundred by other captains in the regiment to trade companies, but it is no go. We had hard fights and still we are alive. And if it is no more difficult for us to handle Jeff's men, than handle our own, we will come home at the end of three years victorious. There is no news of any importance at present. The company is enjoying good health.
Co. L, 3rd Penna. Cavalry, Camp Marcy, Va.
" An exciting day at camp" was the common occurrence for the young Civil War volunteer who was new to the ways of the army. Young men who went away for the first time in their lives had many a new adventure. Whiskey drinking and fighting were all common pastimes to these soldiers. The soldiers' day was occupied mostly by drilling and learning the basics of fighting and cavalry troopers had a particularly long day with horse care, dismounted drilling, mounted drilling, guard mount and dress parade. Soldiering would be come common place to these boys and the fun and frolicking would soon find a place reserved for the winter camps only, as fighting and dying would become the norm.
The boys from Schuylkill County listed in this narrative are mentioned by their initials only, but a little research from muster rolls revealed their true names. The boys in company L 3rd Pa. Cav, were predominantly from Reilley, Blythe, Butler
Frailey and Cass Townships. Listed below are the soldiers who loved drinking and fighting.
G.W. George Wilson, Who will be killed at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863
E.F.- Edward Ferguson. Would muster out with regt.
J.C.- James Cox, Corporal. Would muster out with the regt.
W.G.- William Green. Corporal. Would muster out with the regt. J.M.- John Maley. Would muster out with the regt.
E. McA.- Edward Mc Andrew. Absent at muster out.
M.D.- Michael Donnley. Would muster out with regt.
W.D.- William Devine. Captured Aug. 27, 1863. And would muster out with the regt.
W.W.- William Waterhouse. Dies in Andersonville prison Ga.
J.S.- John Stonehouse. Corporal Musters out with regt.
J.H.M.- John H. Miller. Died at Yorktown. Date unknown.
C.S.- Charles Stomier. The cook would muster out with regt.
Looking down the line of the 3rd Pa. Cavalry.
THE RIGHT FLANK AT GETTYSBURG
THE 3RD PENNA. CAVALRY
On July 3rd 1863 General J.E.B. Stuart and 3 brigades of cavalry numbering about 6500 men moved to the left of General Ewell's position near Culps Hill. Stuart trying to avoid Federal cavalry screened his Gettysburg over looking the Rummel farm fields.
One of the theories surrounding Gen. Stuart's battle plan called for him to attack the Union rear and try to turn the union right flank while General George Picket's infantry attack would assail the Federal front located on Cemetery ridge. Although there is no evidence to support this theory, it now appears to some historians that General R.E. Lee just wanted Stuart to protect his left flank and to harass any Federal troops that would be routed in Picket's charge.
Arriving at Cress ridge, Stuart observed that there were no federal troops in view, and an open area to his front seemed clear for any attack. The only obstruction facing Stuart was the farm buildings of the Rummel farm. Stuart sent out sharpshooters to occupy the farm buildings and snipe at any federal troops in range. He also split up his cavalry brigades putting Wade Hampton and Rooney Lee on the right and General John Chambliss's cavalry on the left along with Col. Milton Ferguson's mounted infantry.
Around noon General David McMurtrie Gregg's federal cavalry division with two brigades lead by Col. John B. McIntosh and Col. J. I. Gregg was reinforced by General George Custers Michigan brigade. Close to 1 P.M. Col. McIntosh relieved Custers Brigade which had been ordered to go to the Union left near the roundtops. Riding with McIntosh was the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry containing 28 men from Schuylkill County. They were placed in a field west of the Lott farm house. During this deployment, the great artillery barrage that preceded Pickets charge was heard by all the men present.
At 2 P.M. McIntosh sent out the first New Jersey cavalry as dismounted skirmishers toward the Rummel farm where they met a fierce fire from the rebel sharpshooters placed there by Stuart. Joining the 1st New Jersey were two squadrons of the 3rd Pa. under the command of Captains Rodgers and Triechel. Under Rodgers were the Schuylkill Countians of company L led by Lt. Howard Edmonds of Ashland. Two other squadrons under Captain Miller of the 3rd Pa. remained mounted on a small road in the woods near the Lott house. The road lead directly toward the rebel lines on Cress ridge.
The Field which the 3rd fought in.
Stuart's horse artillery commenced firing from behind the Rummel farm which caused Col. McIntosh to call for reinforcements. He also sent word to Gen. Gregg that he was outnumbered. General Gregg met with Custer and decided to countermand his orders to go to the left and sent him in support of McIntosh near the Rummel farm.
The Rummel Farm
The fighting around the Rummel farm continued into the early afternoon when the 1st New Jersey and the boys from Schuylkill in the 3rd Pa. began running low on ammunition. The 5th Michigan was ordered to relieve them. While falling back, a dismounted charge was made upon the 3rd Pa. but was immediately checked by the arrival of the 5th Michigan armed with the Spencer repeater.
A mounted charge was attempted by the rebels but was halted short by the fire on their flanks by the dismounted members of the 3rd Pa., 1st. New Jersey and 5th Michigan. The 7th
Michigan, lead by Gen. Custer, went out to meet the rebel attack and came face to face with the 1st Virginia near a stone and rail fence. With all the shooting from the dismounted men on the flanks and from the mounted troopers of the 7th Michigan, the 1st Virginia fell back in a disorganized mass caused by artillery fire in their front and small arms fire on their flanks.
The famed Michagan Brigade Monument, One of my favorites.
After the fight, a short pause occurred until shortly after 3 P.M.. At that time General Wade Hampton and General Fitz Hugh Lee's brigades formed with sabers drawn in front of Cress Ridge. The rebels advanced in close columns of squadrons, the Union artillery opened on them with canister inflicting many casualties. The Schuylkill countians in the 3rd Pa. Cav, who were dismounted, fell back toward their horses. In the mean time General Gregg rode toward the men of the 1st Michigan which had already formed into close columns of squadrons and ordered them to charge. They drew their sabers and advanced. At the same moment General George A. Custer rode to the front of the 1st Michigan and took the lead.
General Custer still looking from the monument toward the rebel line.
Advancing toward each other, the columns drew closer. Men of the 3rd Pa. located on the flanks could hear the commands of the advancing rebel officers, "Keep to your sabers, men keep to your sabers". As the men drew nearer, their pace quickened from a walk to a trot to a gallop and finally to a charge. Men yelling, horses thundering, the sound would almost drown out the sound of firing. The artillery was taking a heavy toll on the Confederates. Ranks were completely blown apart only to be replaced by other troops. The artillery ceased firing when Custer's men came into their line of fire. General Custer, seeing the Confederate cavalry waver, shouted to his men while at a full gallop, "Come on, you Wolverines".
Given orders to rally their men, Captains Rodgers, Triechel and Edmonds ordered their men to charge the right flank of the rebels as they passed them. Only sixteen men could get to their horses in time, and with their officers they charged. Heading directly for Wade Hampton's colors, Captain Newhall of company A was just about to seize the enemy colors when he was struck in the face by the rebel standard bearer's flag staff, knocking him off his horse to land heavily upon the ground. Captain Rodgers was wounded as was Captain Treichel. Lieutenant Howard Edmonds was seriously wounded in the charge on the flank, Private George Wilson from Fraiely Township fell from his horse and was instantly killed by a rebel horseman. At the same moment charging from the direction of the Lott house, Captain Miller of the 3rd Pa's remaining squadron hit the rebel left rear and cut off their rear section and caused them to retreat back toward the Rummel farm. Riding with Captain Miller was Quatermaster Sergeant John Heistine from Schuylkill Haven and Thomas Bull from Port Carbon. They both would survive the attack.
In the initial charge when the heads of both columns met, horses were seen to go end over end crushing their riders beneath them. The fight then developed into a hand to hand melee. It was only minutes but it seemed like hours as the rebels held their positions. Quickly their flanks started to collapse and they started to retreat. Their retreat turned into a mad rush toward the cover of the Rummel farm and Cress Ridge. The Union troops followed in close pursuit capturing many straggling and wounded rebels.
The Union troopers remained in control of the field all night and into the morning. Then they moved out in pursuit of the rebels. All six officers of the 3rd Pa. were wounded 3 enlisted men were killed and two died later of wounds that they received.
When Mr. Rummel was helping to remove the dead soldiers from his farm area, he came upon a private in the 3rd Pa. and rebel who had cut each other with their sabers and were lying with their feet toward each other. There heads were in opposite directions and their blood stained sabers werein each of their hands. He also found a Virginian and another 3rd Pa. cavalryman who must have fought on horse back with each other. Both men were severely cut on the head and shoulders and when found had their fingers around each other firmly embedded in each others flesh. Mr Rummel also removed thirty dead horses from his farm. One might wonder whether one of the scenes would be of the body of George Wilson, a private in the 3rd Pa. from Schuylkill County.
3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry
Cavalry Corps, 2nd Div., 1st Brig.
394 Engaged 3k-15wd-6m
Monument located on Gregg Ave. East Cavalry Battlefield.
"July 3rd engaged mounted and dismounted with the confederate cavalry divison on this field from 2 P.M. until evening. Portions of the regiment advancing in a mounted charge and driving the enemy beyond the Rummel Farm Buildings."
Company L was armed with 264 Sharps carbines during the battle, 165 men carried colt 44 revolver's and 184 men carried colt 36 Navy revolvers. Also they were armed with 332 sabers.
1. 1st. Lt. Howard Esmonds/ Ashland/ Wounded 7-3-63
2. Sgt. Dan Jones/ Captured 8-1-63 dies in Richmond12-30-63.
3. Corp. William Green.
4. Corp. David Reese.
5. Corp. Joseph Mann/ Ashland
6. Corp. James Johnston/ Frailley.
7. Corp. John Stonehouse/ Branch Township
8. Pvt. John Brennan/ Cass Township
9. Pvt. Calvin Brower/ Frailey.
10. Pvt. William Bainbridge/ Reilley Township.
11. Pvt. William Devine/ Reilley Township/ Capt. 8-27-63
12. Pvt. John Donnelly/ St. Clair/ Captured and dies in Richmond.
13. Pvt. Fredrick Gunther/ Minersville.
14. Pvt. Daniel Kent/ Frailley.
15. Pvt. George Kries/ Frailley.
16. Pvt. James Lawler/ New Castle/ KIA Mine RUn 11-18-63.
17. Pvt. Joseph Miller Bugler/ Butler Township.
18. Pvt. Erneiquildo Marquez Bugler/ Pottsville.
19. Pvt. John Mealey/ Cass Township.
20. Pvt. Larry Mc Knight/ Branch Township.
21. Pvt. James McCabe/ St. Clair/ Captured 11-29-63 dies at Andersonville.
22. Pvt. William Knoble.
23. Pvt. Christian Ochner/ Minersville.
24. Pvt. Joseph Patton/ Branch Township.
25. Pvt. Andrew Wilson/ Ashland
26. Pvt. George Wilson/ Donaldson/ KIA July 3 1863 Gettysburg.
27. Pvt. William Waterhouse/ Reilley Township./ Captured 1-27- 64 and dies in Andersonville.
28. Pvt. Calvin D. Wright/ Donaldson.
29. Pvt. George Kriese/ Tremont.
Detail of the top of the Michigan Monument.. What a great day this was.