The Gettysburg Campaign
Chapter 19 (June 30, 1863 – July 3, 1863)
An old lady who was standing with her arms folded and was looking at us marching by said, “My grund, wu wella oll de lite schloffa de nocht? Gook wos un grosser schnopsock hut seller gla cal uff sime bookel. Orma drep, wos mere se dowera. De soldauda sin oll so hallich und ferlicht sin se oll dode bis morya.” [“My goodness, where do all these people want to sleep tonight? See what a large handkerchief that little guy has on his back. Poor guy, what a pity. The soldiers are all so jolly and happy. I am afraid they will all be dead by tomorrow.”] And many other expressions of like nature.
Littlestown was the only place since we left Harrisburg in the fall of 1862 in which we were recognized as friends, and this kind reception encouraged us wonderfully. We encamped near the town having traveled 15 miles.
Here the writer was detailed to fetch a box of cartridges from the ammunition train to the company. A box contained 1,000 rounds and weighed 100 pounds. He had quite a little distance to carry it, and after a march of 15 miles thru the heat and dust of the day I thought I would have to quit, but I rested often and finally got back to the regiment entirely tired out. This being the last of the month, we were mustered for pay, and after a night’s rest we were ready for another day’s march.
July 1st. From this camp we returned to Littlestown, took Baltimore Pike and marched to Two Taverns, situated midway between Littlestown and Gettysburg, where we halted for dinner. In the afternoon we marched to Little Round Top, quite near the terminus of the trolley road and restaurant as it is today. There we encamped for the night, traveled 12 miles.
On our front in the ravine General Green was posting the pickets. The writer with a number of canteens was out searching for water and, it being moonlight, he saw a house in the distance for which he started. He passed General Green who asked, “Where are you going?” I replied “Over to that house for water.” The General said, “You get back, for if you go to that house for water, you will go to Richmond as the rebels are in that yard.” I gladly took his advice and later found water back of Round Top. Very hard fighting today. General Reynolds killed. Loss heavy on both sides.
July 2nd. We were relieved this morning by the Berdan Sharpshooters and taken past General Meade’s headquarters to the kettle back of Culp’s Hill on the right of our line. Here several pieces of Knapp’s Battery were taken to the top of Culp’s Hill and a number of Company G boys also went up but were soon ordered back by General Geary who was there posting the artillery.
Soon after we came off the hill an artilleryman was brought back on a stretcher with his breastbone entirely torn away by a shell from a rebel battery. About dusk the enemy opened on us with artillery and musketry and were advancing their lines on our right with the intention of striking the Baltimore Pike upon which were our wagon trains. We received orders to move down the pike about one and a half miles to McAllister’s Mill. We remained there until towards morning.
July 3rd. Captain Davis was home on sick furlough and First Lieutenant Nelson Byers had command of the company. When we returned to our former position on Culp’s Hill our brigade inspector came from General Geary’s headquarters and said that they had a Rebel Brigade bagged and wanted the 147th to tie the string.
Soon after daylight, probably 5 o’clock, the Rebels advanced to the stone wall on our direct front. We had thrown up temporary breastworks with rails on the ridge, after which, the Colonel, seeing the disadvantage to us in this position, ordered the regiment to advance into a narrow timbered ravine just in our front and somewhat lower than the breastworks. This move was our salvation, for when the Confederates advanced and saw the breastworks, they supposing we were there, directed their fire on said works, while we were shielded behind rocks and trees. When the order to fire was given by Colonel Pardee, the Rebel line of battle, which had advanced to within a short distance of our own hidden line, dropped almost out of sight. So severe was our fire that the writer saw five Confederates drop side by side, who had just touched elbows on this their last charge.
The enemy with their famous Rebel yell made repeated charges upon our lines, but were as often swept back with fearful slaughter, our men holding their fire until the enemy was at close range and finally, broken and dispirited, the Rebels were driven from the field. Owing to the nature of the ground where our regiment stood, the enemy’s fire passed, for most part, harmless over our heads, and consequently, the loss was small compared with that which we inflicted, and with the mortal nature of this wonderful battle. The loss in the regiment was five killed and sixteen wounded. Lieutenant Wm. H. Tourison, of Company E, was among the killed. In Company G only three were wounded. Corporal Harris Bower received a severe wound in the abdomen, Calvin E. Parks index finger of his right hand was shot off, while J. A. Lumbard received a slight scalp wound.