James Hemphill Maclay (Continued)

 

 

James Hemphill Maclay

James Hemphill Maclay departed this life Saturday evening, Aug. 20, at 8:30 o'clock, at his home on North Washington street, Shippensburg, aged 82 years. Mr. Maclay was born June 12, 1839, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Herron Maclay, and was reared on the old Maclay homestead at Maclay's Mill, in Lurgan township, Franklin county.

At the beginning of the Civil War Mr. Maclay enlisted as a private in Battery B, 1st Penn'a Light Artillery, later known throughout the entire army of the Potomac as "Cooper's Battery," and served in all the engagements, including the Battle of Gettysburg in which this battery participated. He was discharged as a sergeant at the termination of the war in 1865.

In 1867 he married Miss Anna Margaret Fickes, a daughter of the late Josiah and Elizabeth Fickes of near Roxbury, Franklin county. Their family consisted of the following children: Ralph Maclay of Shippens-burg; Mrs. Margaret Maclay, de-ceased of Shippensburg; Mrs. Geo. E. Hykes of Shippensburg; Mrs. John Kelley of Newville, R.R. 5; Mrs. Richard Woods of Oakville; John Maclay of Hagerstown; Mrs. Richard Cramer of Atlantic City, N.J.; Mrs. Arthur S. Gregory of Willow Grove; David Maclay of Harrisburg, and C. F. Maclay of Willow Grove. Aside from nine children who survive him, are twenty-nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

From the end of the Civil War until a few years ago, Mr. Maclay was engaged in farming and in milling, later assisted in the milling business by his oldest son Ralph. In 1917 Mr. and Mrs. Maclay celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. In 1913 they removed to Shippensburg where Mrs. Maclay died in the fall of that year.

Mr. Maclay was Scotch-Irish in descent, a Presbyterian in faith and a life long member of the Middle Spring congregation. Mr. Maclay was of the same family of Maclays who played such a large part in the early history of our country, among whom were soldiers of the Colonial and Revolutionary wars, United States and State Senators, members of the General Assembly, ministers, doctors and lawyers.

The funeral services were held from his late home Tuesday morning at 10 o'clock, Rev. Crawford assisted by Rev. Dr. Wylie, both of Middle Spring , officiated. Interment was made in the Middle Spring cemetery.

 

The Chronicle, Shippensburg, Pa.

Thursday, August 25, 1921

 

 

BATTERY B

Cooper

First Pennsylvania Light Artillery

(Penna. Reserve Vol. Corps)

1861 Engagements 1865

Dranesville ~ December 20, 1861

Mechanicsville ~ June 26, 1862

Gaines' Mill ~ June 27, 1862

New Market Cross Roads ~ June 30, 1862

Malvern Hill ~ July 1, 1862

Gainesville ~ August 28, 1862

Groveton ~ August 29, 1862

Second Bull Run ~ August 30, 1862

South Mountain ~ September 14, 1862

Antietam ~ September 16, 1862

Fredericksburg ~ December 13, 1862

Fitzhugh's Crossing ~ April 30, 1863

Chancellorsville ~ May 2, 1863

Gettysburg ~ July 1, 1863

Mile Run ~ November 27, 1863

Wilderness ~ May 5, 1864

Spotsylvania ~ May 12, 1864

North Anna River

Totopotomoy Creek

Bethesda Church

Cold Harbor ~ June 3, 1864

Petersburg ~ June 17, 1864

Weldon Railroad

Petersburg (capture) ~ April 2, 1865

Appomattox ~ April 9, 1865

Mustered out at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, June 9, 1865, after four years' service

 

 

Dedication of the Monument at Gettysburg

This address of First Lieutenant James A. Gardner was given on September 11, 1889 at the dedication of the monument on Cemetery Hill which commemorates the positions and deeds at the Battle of Gettysburg of the First Pennsylvania Light Artillery, Cooper's Battery B*, of which James Hemphill Maclay was a member.

 

Comrades: - By invitation of the Pennsylvania State Commission on Gettysburg Monuments, we have come from our distant homes to this, the Nation's shrine, to unite in the services dedicatory of the memorials erected here by our grand old Commonwealth to mark the positions of her patriotic sons upon this historic battlefield, where armed rebellion received the crushing blow.

Standing upon this sacred place (which marks our position in the second day's engagement), surrounded by innumberable blessings and a universal prosperity on every side, and looking back and over these twenty-six years since last here met, we are able to determine with satisfaction and accuracy the value of our work.

To you, who left your homes and stood up as a mighty wall of defense between the misguided South and the loyal North, who so nobly fought upon the many bloody fields in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, for the preservation of the Union, the Constitution and the Laws, come this day the fruits of victories dearly won, and the proud recollections, the honors and the glories of duties well and faithfully performed.

This monument before you, was erected out of an appropriation made by this state, supplemented by some few individual contributions almost wholly given by members of our association. It marks one of the five positions occupied by this battery at the battle of Gettysburg, and testifies not only to your valor, courage and heroism upon this memorable field; but by its approved inscriptions, will show something of the services of this organization during the war, to those who shall visit this historic spot in the years to come. And it was fitting that this memorial should be erected here in Pennsylvania, at Gettysburg, the high-water mark of the rebellion; upon this position where you were subjected to a most trying fire from the enemy, remained the longest, and had your greatest casualties; here where the Union troops fought with a supreme courage, and a determination to stay upon these lines and defeat the enemy.

On such an occasion as this, I can but briefly speak of the services of our organization: and following the recommendation of those who directed this memorial service, shall principally address you upon the work done by this battery at the battle of Gettysburg.

Battery B, First Light Artillery, Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, was organized at Mount Jackson, Lawrence county, April 26, 1861, composed mainly of farmers' sons, business men and school teachers, all in the prime and vigor of manhood; from a locality unexcelled in thrift and in the intelligence and religious culture of its inhabitants. Henry T. Danforth, who served in Bragg's regular battery in the Mexican war, was its first captain,

*Organized at Philadelphia August 5, 1861, to serve three years. The original members (except veterans) were mustered out of

service June 28, 1864, and the Battery composed of veterans and recruits retained in service and mustered out June 9, 1865.

from which he was promoted to the lieutenant-colonelcy of the regiment. He was killed in action at Charles City Cross Roads, Virginia. Our next captain was James H. Cooper, who commanded more than three years, till August 8, 1864, refusing all promotions. It was the judgment of this organization, and of those in high place in the army, that for bravery, coolness, deliberation and ability to command upon the battlefield, Captain Cooper had no superior, if indeed, he had an equal.

June 8, 1861, this command entered the State service, was formally mustered June 28, and was early in front of Washington, attached to General John F. Reynolds' First Brigade, of General George A. McCall's Division of Pennsylvania Reserves, with which it was at the battle of Dranesville (December 20, 1861) where was achieved the first victory for the Army of the Potomac. As part of General Irvin McDowell's First Corps we advanced to Fredericksburg, Virginia, and from there were taken to the Peninsula and united to General Fitz John Porter's Fifth Provisional Corps. With the Pennsylvania Reserves, we opened the Seven Days' Battles at Mechanicsville (June 26, 1862), by firing the first artillery shot from the Union lines; with four guns to the right of the Bethesda Church road, and two at Ellerson's Mill, we successfully contested with McIntosh's, Johnson's and Braxton's batteries, and repelled charge after charge made by the brigades of Archer, Anderson, Pender, Field and Ripley. Our firing was fast, accurate and fatal; by it the enemy were terribly slaughtered - the greatest comparative loss to the enemy, during the war; the Union loss, three hundred and sixty-one; the Confederates between three and four thousand!

Next day at Gaines' Mill, "the Valley of the Shadow of Death", one of the best fought battles of the war, this battery to the right of the Watts house, beat and kept back the pressing lines of the enemy till darkness threw its shades around us, when we withdrew from the last line of battle, section by section.

At Charles City Cross Roads, or Glendale (June 30, 1862), on the left of the L. Bridge (or New Market) road, being that part of McCall's line where occurred Longstreet's terrific onslaught, we repelled charge after charge, exhausting all our canisters, and met the last fatal crash with shells only, fixed with short cut fuses - standing, finally alone, without artillery or infantry supports. At Malvern Hill, we lay under the fire of the enemy, in full view of the disastrous repulse of Lee's army.

Abandoning the Peninsula, with the Pennsylvania Reserves then under General Reynolds, we were the first of the Army of the Potomac that came to the assistance of General John Pope.

At Gainesville (August 28, 1862), we engaged the right of Jackson's Corps. Next day at Groveton, our battery advanced to the attack of Jackson's right, and when coming into action we were met at grapeshot range, by two batteries of the enemy in front, and one upon our left flank. There poured upon us the hottest and most disastrous fire ever received by us during our entire term of service - four men killed and fifteen wounded, in about twenty minutes.

At Second Bull run (August 30, 1862), by the Chinn house on the extreme left, we received the fatal stroke of Longstreet's Corps, meeting it with shell and canister, and repelling the charges until the infantry supports (Milroy's) on our left were flanked and driven. This compelled our withdrawal, wherein we narrowly escaped capture. At Chantilly we were in the line of battle; but of this there is no official report.

At South Mountain (September 14, 1862), with General Joseph Hooker's First Corps, we ascended the mountain slope, took position on a knoll, shelled and engaged the enemy until they were driven from our front. At Antietam, on the evening of September 16, we advanced with the skirmish line, and with the brave "Bucktails" opened the battle near the "East Wood."

Next morning and day we were in position on Poffenberger's ridge whereon were thirty guns. Here we shelled and engaged the enemy south of us, towards the Dunker Church, protected the Union right, and repulsed an effort made by the enemy during the afternoon.

At Fredericksburg (December 13, 1862), we were at the angle of the Union left, from which General Meade successfully made his charge, under cover of our guns. Our accurate fire here blew up several limber chests of Jackson's artillery stationed on the ridge west of Hamilton's Crossing. When the enemy had repulsed our attacking division and were exultingly following in force, the guns of this battery stood fast when others left, and belching forth most furiously double charges of canister, with the support of Thirty-seventh New York, we repulsed the enemy, maintained the integrity of the Union left, when to be driven at that time would have brought disaster to our army. It was a moment of great danger, a most critical moment; this battery proved itself equal to and worthy of the occasion, and General Reynolds, who was with us at the time, complimented our commander for the noble defense he had made, saying "Captain Cooper, you are the bravest man in the army."

At Fitzhugh's Crossing (April 30, 1863), below Fredericksburg, we covered the advance of our First Corps; but the disaster at Chancellorsville took us there, where we moved to the front, and upon the reluctant retreat, we covered the withdrawal across United States Ford, shelling the enemy.

We now come to the march for Gettysburg. The First Corps arrived at Emmitsburg, Maryland, June 29, 1863, and we were placed in battery on the Fairfield road. The next day we advanced three or four miles north to the vicinity of Marsh creek, and were again placed in battery on the Fairfield road, supported by General Abner Doubleday's division of our corps.

On the morning of July 1, with Doubleday's Division (then under General Thomas A. Rowley) , we moved on the extreme left toward Fairfield, with videttes thrown out, while the other divisions of our corps marched directly for Gettysburg. With Colonel Chapman Biddle's Brigade of Doubleday's Division, we crossed Marsh creek at the White Bridge, which point afterward became the rear of Longstreet's line. Here we first heard the sound of artillery. Passing up the west bank of Willoughby run, we entered the Hagerstown (Fairfield) road, turned to the right and came to near the Seminary ridge. Leaving the road, we moved to the left and forward, and came into battery on a crest, the east bank of Willoughby run, south of the McPherson wood (Reynold's Grove) supported by Biddle's Brigade. This was 12 m., and the situation at that time was: General Lysander Cutler's Brigade of General James S. Wadsworth's Division of our corps, north of Chambersburg (Cashtown) pike, and General Solomon Meredith's "Iron Brigade" of the same division, in the McPherson wood, south of the pike. These brigades had been successfully engaged with Archer's and Davis' brigades, Heth's Division, A. P. Hill's Corps, capturing General Archer and several hundred prisoners. General John F. Reynolds, our able corps commander, had been killed; but knowledge of this fact was withheld from his troops.

As Doubleday's Division arrived, Colonel Roy Stone's Pennsylvania Brigade, being slightly in the advance of Biddle's, was sent to fill a gap between Cutler and Meredith, while Biddle's Brigade was placed, under cover, at the crest, to Meredith's left. In our first position, we engaged Pegram's artillery, then on Herr's ridge, firing upon the infantry and artillery on our right. Pegram's batteries immediately engaged us, but soon ceased firing. About 1 or 1.30 p.m., the enemy opened an enfilading fire upon our lines from batteries posted on Oak Hill near our extreme right.

By direction of Colonel Charles S. Wainwright, our chief of artillery, we were withdrawn from the crest, moved back into the meadow between the crest and the Seminary, at a point south of the (now) Springs Hotel road, and changed front to right so as to face the new enemy and sweep Oak Hill with our fire. The enemy's reinforcement was Rodes' Division of Ewell's Corps, then forming across Oak Ridge at right angles with our line. The enemy's artillery which enfiladed us, were the batteries of Carter and Fry, and their fire caused Cutler to withdraw his brigade back to the Seminary Ridge, Biddle to change front to right, and Stone to place two of his regiments along the Chambersburg pike facing northward. These changes of Cutler and Stone, made an angle through which this battery could fire with effect from its position in the meadow, and we immediately opened upon Carter's guns, keeping up a warm contest and an accurate fire until Rodes' infantry came in sight. Iverson's North Carolina Brigade was in the lead, and as it moved in our front and was wheeled to the left to strike General Henry Baxter's Brigade of General John C. Robinson's Division of our corps, and the brigade of Cutler, we poured into it a most galling and destructive front and flank fire of case shot. This was about 2.30 p.m. Iverson was repulsed, his brigade was nearly annihiliated and much of it captured. Following Iverson was Daniel's North Carolina Brigade of the same division, which passed Iverson's right and coming toward our front, upon Stone's troops; but the fire of our guns and the musketry from Stone's regiments, checked the enemy just north of the railroad cut.

While these conflicts were taking place, Hill's Corps was forming on the west side for an attack, and as such a movement would render our situation untenable, Colonel Wainwright ordered Captain Cooper, about 3 p.m., to take a good position at the Lutheran Theological Seminary, in front of the professor's house. Leaving the meadow we took position to the front and right of the Seminary, in rear of a barricade of rails thrown up earlier in the day.

For a short time we were not engaged, the enemy having ceased his attacks. After the repulse of Daniel's Brigade heretofore mentioned, the enemy stationed Brander's (Virginia) battery on a hill to the north of the railroad cut, on the east side of Willoughby run. When it opened, its shots came directly into our front, and to this fire of the enemy we very effectively replied. During this artillery contest, Davis' Brigade formed under cover, and in conjunction with Daniel's Brigade, from the north side of the railroad cut, made another attack upon Stone's position.

We again assisted Stone, and the attempt of the enemy at this time to dislodge our Pennsylvania troops utterly failed. While thus engaged with Brander's Battery and the enemy's infantry we were subjected to a cross fire from Fry's Battery on Oak Hill, Carter's Battery having gone to the east side of Oak Ridge to engage the troops of the Eleventh Corps.

This over, Heth's Division pressed our front and left. Brockenbrough's Virginia Brigade engaged the "Iron Brigade," and Pettigrew's Brigade of North Carolinians swept across Willoughby Run south of the McPherson wood and struck Biddle's Brigade, lapping its left a considerable distance. Biddle, after a sharp contest, was outflanked and his small brigade driven from the crest to the seminary. The One Hundred and Fifty-first Pennsylvania, however, under Lieutenant-Colonel George F. McFarland, which was on Biddle's right near the edge of the wood, remained until pressed back by the next line. Pettigrew's Brigade in attempting further advance was met by fire from our guns and from those on our right, causing it to hastily fall back, excepting the Twenty-sixth North Carolina, which halted in the woods. Heth's Division had thus far failed to drive our lines; but Pender's Division of the same corps advanced and passing over Heth's, attacked us, Scales' Brigade of North Carolinians on the left, and McGowan's Brigade of South Carolinians under Colonel Perrin on the right, the former reaching the Chambersburg pike south into the McPherson wood and the latter being to the south of Scales' right. These fresh troops pressed forward and our lines at the woods and crest were compelled to give way. Scales' Brigade as a first line coming over the crest and in descending the slope encountered a most terribly destructive and withering fire from our guns and from those of Captain G. T. Stevens, Fifth Maine, Lieutenant Wilbur's section, L, First New York, and part of Lieutenant James Stewart's battery, Fourth United States - in all fourteen pieces that poured out case shot, shell and canister, by which Scales was halted with heavy loss, his brigade thrown into confusion and broken up, and himself and every regimental officer of his command either killed or wounded.

By reason of its condition and confusion, Scales' Brigade advanced no further; but McGowan's Brigade on its right escaped much of the artillery fire and was consequently more fortunate. This brigade in its advance was supported by the Twenty-sixth North Carolina of Pettigrew's Brigade, and as they came a galling case shot fire was thrown upon them from our guns. Captain Cooper caused our immediate front at the barricade to be cleared of our infantry, and then bearing the guns slightly to the left, poured into Perrin's troops a most disatrous fire of double charges of canister. Our immediate supports and the infantry to our left in the grove, consisting of Meredith's and Biddle's brigades (Second and Seventh Wisconsin, Nineteenth Indiana, One hundred and fifty-first, One hundred and forty-second and One hundred and twenty-first Pennsylvania and Twentieth New York State Militia), at the same time fired deadly volleys of musketry. The severity of this fire staggered and checked Perrin and almost annihilated the left of this brigade, his troops being wholly swept away from the front of our guns. Of all these attacking forces a single color-bearer only, with a bravery to be admired, reached the rail barricade in front of us. Finding that he could not cross our works, Perrin by a movement placed one of his regiments on the left of our barricade, and turned our position after 4 p.m. At a most opportune time Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred B. McCalmont, of the One hundred and forty-second Pennsylvania, came to Captain Cooper and informed him that the infantry on the left had gone, and unless he immediately withdrew he would be captured. We were then still engaging the enemy; but upon this information we limbered to the rear, passed out on the north side of the seminary, narrowly escaping capture, the enemy being around both flanks. Passing through Gettysburg the battery came to Cemetery Hill. Just prior to the driving of our lines Captain Cooper had ordered full limbers to the guns and had sent the caisson line to Cemetery Hill. The caissons crossed south of the town, and when first within view of the Taneytown road observed the retreat of the corps which had been on our right. The road was full of artillery and infantry, but the First Corps lines were yet on Seminary Ridge.

When this battery arrived on East Cemetery Hill, it was placed in position where we now stand, on the left of the First Corps artillery; after which, at the request of General Doubleday, then commanding our corps, Captain Cooper performed staff duty in assisting to establish and strengthen the Union lines; and when General Winfield S. Hancock first arrived, he came to this spot and consulted with General Adelbert Ames and Captain Cooper. During the first day's fight we expended four hundred rounds of ammunition; Private Alexander P. Alcorn was killed, Lieutenant William C. Miller and Privates John W. Phillips, John Pauly and Asabel Shafer were wounded. One gun was disabled by recoil, but was repaired that evening.

The losses in this day's fight were heavy on both sides. The First Corps were over six thousand men - two-thirds of its fighting force; but of these about two thousand were missing or taken prisoners. The losses of the enemy in killed and wounded were fully as severe. Heth says he lost two thousand and seven hundred in about twenty-five minutes. Scales' and McGowan's Brigades each lost about five hundred. The Twenty-sixth North Carolina of Pettigrew's Brigade went in with "over eight hundred strong," and came out with but two hundred and sixteen for duty; its entire loss at Gettysburg was eighty-six killed and five hundred and two wounded, total five hundred and eighty-eight, most of which loss was sustained during the first day's fight. Carter's Battery lost four killed and seven wounded before it left Oak Hill. The enemy had been so badly punished that he could not follow up his success. A much greater loss, however, had fallen upon the Union army by the death of General Reynolds, our beloved corps commander, who was without doubt the ablest officer then with the Army of the Potomac, and greater by far than any place he had ever filled, the finest of gentlemen, and in all the army, without a peer. He had been our commander when we were in his brigade, in his division, and in his corps; we were always with him up to his dying hour, the only part of the Pennsylvania Reserves that remained under his command, and the only Pennsylvania battery with him in the first day's fight. To us he was greatly endeared; his death caused deep gloom in this organization, and strong men shed tears. But his spirit fought with the First Corps on yonder side of town that day: Cutler's, Meredith's, Stone's, Biddle's, Baxter's and Paul's brigades, against Archer's, Davis', Brockenbrough's, Pettigrew's, McGowan's, Scales', Lane's, Thomas', Iverson's, Daniel's, Ramseur's, and O'Neals brigades - six Union brigades against twelve of the enemy!

On the morning of July 2, the men of this battery finished the construction of these four lunettes, here on East Cemetery Hill. During the day, previous to 4 p.m., we fired occasional shots (scarcely exceeding twenty-five in all) at small bodies of the enemy's infantry and cavalry, which were manoeuvering in the skirting of some timber about one mile distant. The enemy during the same time threw occasional shots into our left flank from his batteries on Seminary Ridge, killing and disabling some of our horses. The enemy's fire was no doubt for the purpose of securing the range of this hill; for we now know that it was part of Lee's plan of battle that Ewell should attack these high grounds if opportunity were afforded. At 4 P.M. the terrible crash of the enemy's artillery came. Opposite this part of the Union line was Ewell's Corps, and in our immediate front was the division of General Edward Johnson. On Benner's hill, directly opposite to us, were placed the batteries of Andrews' battalion under Major Latimer, consisting of the following in order from their right to their left: Brown's Maryland Battery of four 10-pounder Parrotts; Carpenter's Virginia Battery of two 3-inch rifle and two light 12-pounders; Dement's First Maryland of four light 12-pounders; two guns of Raine's Virginia Battery, one 10-pounder Parrott and one 3-inch rifle - in all eight rifle 10-pounders and six light 10-pounders - fourteen guns in all on Benner's hill, about twelve to fourteen hundred yards distant. To the right of these batteries (our left) on the same ridge, beyond the Hanover road, about eighteen hundred yards distant, were posted Graham's Virginia Battery of four 20-pounder Parrotts, and two guns of Raine's Virginia Battery, two 20-pounder Parrotts, the latter being between Graham and the guns of Latimer, in all six 20-pounder Parrotts. To meet this fire we had from right to left Captain G. T. Stevens' Fifth Maine, six light 12-pounders (on the left slope of Culp's Hill); and Captain G. H. Reynolds' "L" First New York, five 3-inch rifle; Captain J. H. Cooper's "B" First Pennsylvania (this battery in this position) four 3-inch rifle; and Captain M. Wiedrich's "I" First New York, four 3-inch rifle (on East Cemetery Hill) - in all thirteen 3-inch rifle 10-pounders and six light 12-pounders. at the hour named, 4 P.M., all these guns of the enemy opened upon us a most accurate fire. But this was not all. Ewell's chief of artillery had placed on Seminary Ridge, Dance's, Watson's and Smith's Virginia batteries, consisting of twelve 10-pounder rifled guns, which with other batteries on that ridge at the same time opened a flank fire upon this part of Cemetery Hill. The enemy's fire upon this position where we now stand was very severe. One of their shells struck and exploded at our No. 3 gun, killing and wounding every man at that place, but before the wounded were removed No. 3 gun was again at work, mention of which is made in Colonel Wainwright's official report. The axle of our No. 2 gun was struck by a shell and broken; but the fire from this piece was also continued until the gun carriage broke down - this shortly before the contest closed. The shots of the enemy came thick and fast, bursting, crushing, and ploughing, a mighty storm of iron hail, a most determined and terrible effort of the enemy to cripple and destroy the guns upon the hill. Situated as we were in the center of this artillery fire, our battery received the full force of the enemy's front, oblique and flank fire. Against the batteries on Seminary Ridge we were powerless; but upon the batteries of Latimer on Benner's Hill, and upon Graham and Raine to our left, an accurate and most telling fire was opened from the batteries on this hill and continued for about two hours. During about one-half hour of this time a part of Knap's Pennsylvania Battery, under Lieutenant Edward R. Geary, and a section of Battery K, Fifth United States Artillery, assisted us by a flank fire from Culp's Hill. At last the batteries on Benner's Hill were forced to withdraw under our destructive fire, as their official report says, "by reason of the unequal contest, the overpowering of their artillery and the untenableness of the position." Brown was so badly used up that at the last he was able to use but two of his guns; and when he withdrew, his two right pieces were hauled off by hand. Shortly after Latimer's batteries had been withdrawn, one of them was brought back and posted to the left (our right); but upon it we brought additional guns and a concentrated fire, which very soon drove it away. The losses of Andrews' Battalion on Benner's Hill were ten killed and forty wounded; among the latter was Major Latimer, the commander, who shortly afterward died of his wounds. Twenty-eight dead horses were left on the field, and the material of their batteries was very badly injured. The losses in our battery were: Privates James H. McCleary and Peter G. Hongland killed; Corporal Joseph Reed and Privates Jesse Temple, James C. Cornelius and Daniel W. Taylor wounded. Soon after this artillery contest had ended, all our ammunition being exhausted, by order of Colonel Wainwright, we were relieved by Captain R. Bruce Ricketts' batteries "F" and "G" of the First Pennsylvania Artillery; but at what precise hour we will not determine. That the enemy opened at 4 p.m., is agreed to by all. Colonel Wainwright says the contest with the enemy's batteries on Benner's Hill lasted one and one-half hours; that the battery which afterward came out to our right was soon silenced, and that "soon after, Captain Cooper's Battery, which had suffered considerably, was relieved." Captain Cooper's official report says we were relieved about 7 p.m. Of the enemy's reports, that of General Johnson says the contest lasted two hours, and that of Colonel Andrews (of Andrews' Battalion) says "till near night." But the best evidence is our expenditure of ammunition. On that second day we fired about five hundred rounds, all we had, and more, for, at the last, we received a few rounds from an adjoining battery. About twenty-five rounds were used prior to 4 p.m., and about four hundred and seventy-five rounds after that hour, from four guns, three only at the last. The length of time required to expend such an amount of ammunition, will fix the time of our relief with reasonable accuracy. Retiring from this position we passed down the Baltimore pike, and turned to the right, by a barn. The enemy's bullets came whistling in among us at that place, but the Twelfth Corps troops returning from the left, drove back the enemy. By order of Colonel Wainwright we proceeded to the camp of the Artillery Reserve, to refit, and refill with ammunition. By 11 a.m. of the next day our disabled gun was repaired and we were again ready for duty.

On July 3, at 1 p.m., when the enemy's one hundred and thirty-eight guns opened their great fire upon the eighty guns of the Union line between the Baltimore pike and Little Round Top, we were at the rear of our center; but shortly after the first burst of the enemy's artillery, General Henry J. Hunt, chief of artillery of the Army of the Potomac, ordered us to the front, to take position, and relieve a battery in Lieutenant Colonel Freeman McGilvery's line of Reserve Artillery, on the left center, the point reached being about one-half mile south of the clump of trees, and north of where the present railroad crosses Hancock avenue. In coming to this position, we passed through a terrible fire at its height, cutting and slashing, and crashing against the rocks; the troops were hugging the ground, and sheltering behind earth, stone and everything and anything which would seem to give protection. The Union artillery, at this time, were replying to the enemy's fire. We opened upon the enemy's line of batteries along the Emmitsburg pike, firing but few shots until Captain Cooper received the order to cease firing. The entire Union line about the same time slackened and almost ceased its fire, for what purpose was, at the time, readily understood. When Pickett's Division of Longstreet's Corps advanced under cover of artillery, in its now celebrated charge, its right flank received the destructive fire of our guns, until a battery of the Washington Artillery (Eshelman's) moved out some four hundred yards and opened upon the batteries and troops upon our right. Upon that battery our guns were immediately concentrated, completely shattering it and compelling its hasty withdrawal. For about twenty to thirty minutes we ceased firing; but were soon confronted by Wilcox's Alabama Brigade, which was coming over the crest about 1,000 yards distant, moving directly toward us. Upon Wilcox's lines as they came, this battery in connection with adjacent batteries poured forth case shot until the enemy reached canister range, when double-charges were thrown into them with such telling effect that they were staggered, checked, routed and repulsed, without infantry assistance, leaving many dead and wounded in our battery front. Of the enemy's wounded and surrendering troops, many were brought within the Union lines at our guns; and this virtually closed the battle of Gettysburg. We expended this third day one hundred and fifty rounds of ammunition, and strangely escaped with but one casualty Private Frederick Workman, wounded. At the beginning of this battle we had one hundred and fourteen officers and men "present for duty," of whom not over seventy-five to eighty were under fire at any one time. We expended in all 1,050 rounds of ammunition, about five tons. We had three killed and nine wounded; others were slightly injured, but Captain Cooper never reported any one as wounded who was able for duty. In commemoration of this the greatest battle of the war, fought under the command of that accomplished soldier, the gallant and able General George G. Meade, a Pennsylvanian, and upon Pennsylvania soil, we have come to and do now dedicate this monument to the memory of our comrades who gave up their lives upon this hill, at the Seminary beyond and upon other fields; and as a testimonial to your valor in the dark days of this great Republic. Our other positions upon this field should yet be marked, especially the one at the Theological Seminary, and the one occupied in the third day's fight, at which it is hoped this association will yet erect suitable memorials.

Leaving victorious Gettysburg, we are next in line at Williamsport, Maryland, but not engaged; then in the game of "strategy" between Meade and Lee, along the Orange and Alexandria railway; then at Mine Run (November 27, 1863), where we warmly engaged the enemy on the Union left.

While the Army of the Potomac was in winter quarters near Culpeper, Virginia, the First Corps was consolidated with the Fifth Corps, under command of General G. K. Warren, a most excellent and worthy officer, with whom we ever afterward served.

On May 5, 1864, coming to the Wilderness with the Pennsylvania Reserves, we advanced to the Chewning farm near Parker's Store, then withdrew, narrowly escaping capture. Were next engaged at the Lacy house, and finally at the front line, on the Orange turnpike. At Laurel Hill or Alsop's farm, we were hotly engaged, and being withdrawn, were hastily sent to the right and assisted the Second Corps in the repulse of the enemy at Po river. Returning from the Po, we were again placed close up to the enemy's line, where we treated the enemy to novel mortal practice from our guns. By another left flank movement, we were in front of Spotsylvania Court House (May 12 to 18), where, in two positions, we engaged the enemy, in one of which they had upon us an accurate range and a raking fire. These three battles of Laurel Hill, Po river and Spotsylvania Court House, are designated by the War Department as "Spotsylvania," and as such is thus inscribed upon our monument. At Jericho Ford, North Anna river, we next engaged the enemy, inflicting severe injury upon batteries on his right; after which we advanced with the front line. Moving forward we engaged the enemy at the Totopotomoy, at Bethseda Church, at bloody Cold Harbor, where we assisted in repulsing an attack upon the Fifth Corps lines; and finally we were in front of Petersburg (June 17, 1864), engaged in the assault of the outer lines, which were carried. From the lines in front of Petersburg, where we had been constantly in action, we were next at the capture and defense of the Weldon railroad, at which, on both occasions, we were heavily and closely engaged with the enemy.

Having participated in the siege of Petersburg until the final attack came, early in the morning of April 2, 1865, we opened from our four guns in Fort Davis and from our two guns in Battery 22, a most accurate, vigorous and constant fire upon Fort Mahone ("Damnation") and the enemy's lines to right (Rives' salient), until the works on the right were captured; after which we directed our fire on Fort Mahone and the works immediately adjacent. During the forenoon of that day, Captain William McClelland, who was in command (Captain Cooper having been previously mustered out), with Lieutenant Thomas C. Rice and two detachments from the guns in Fort Davis, went to the recently captured part of the enemy's line, crossed over into their battery No. 27, and, under a hot fire, turned upon the enemy their own guns of Captain Patterson's Georgia battery of the Sumter artillery, and fired, of their own ammunition, six hundred rounds. The remaining available section in Fort Davis was taken during the day to Fort Sedgwick ("Hell"), where it continued its fire. This was the last great battle in which we participated, and Captain McClelland, by his bravery, courage and ability, proved himself a most worthy and fitting successor to his illustrious predeccessor in command. Our last loss was here - two killed, one mortally wounded and one officer and one non-commissioned officer slightly wounded; and with the race to Appomattox the record is closed. Turning in our guns and munitions of war, we were mustered out at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, June 9, 1865, after full four years' service.

During our term, this battery fought in twenty-seven of the principal engagements of the Army of the Potomac (including Chantilly, Laurel Hill and Po river); and of twelve of the greatest battles of the war, wherein the Union losses in each were from eleven to twenty-three thousand, we were actively engaged in nine of them.

As a part of the Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, we were with the division longer than any other battery of our regiment, having served and fought with that organization during its entire existence, excepting, however, in the battles of Gettysburg and Mine Run, in which we were with the First Corps. And as an original command, we were the only part of the Reserves that served in the Army of the Potomac throughout till the close of the war.

The strength of the battery was one hundred to one hundred and fifty-two, a four gun or a six gun battery, according as we had men. Our total enrollment shows three hundred and thirty-two officers and men; but this includes two different details from the infantry, and a temporary transfer of some recruits, many of whom were finally sent to another battery of our regiment.

Our total expenditure of ammunition was over 11,200 rounds, or about fifty-six tons. We were always at the front, never in the rear; long range or short range, it made no difference, for we excelled in the accuracy of our fire and our shots counted, mention of which is made in the official reports.

Our total casualties were: Twenty-one (21) killed and died of wounds (two officers and nineteen men), seventeen (17) died of disease, etc.; and fifty-two (52) wounded (the latter not including our mortally nor those slightly injured). Our percentage of loss is smaller than that of many infantry companies; but this difference in percentage is not so much because of our less exposure to the enemy, but more by reason of a difference in methods of work on the field, and of our having had in action, at any one time, but two-thirds to three-fourths of those "present for duty." Our loss in killed and died of wounds as it is, stands the greatest loss sustained by any volunteer battery of light artillery in the Union army, which is readily accounted for by our participation in the many principal engagements.

This hour and occasion permits only this brief reference to the service of our organization. I have aimed at accuracy, have given no glowing account, nor have I unduly magnified our work upon the field of battle. The official record will speak for us, and will furnish to faithful historians that which, when examined, will show that for length of term and active service in the field, principal engagements, ammunition expended and losses, we stand among the first, if not the very first, of all the batteries that fought in the Union cause.

And now, comrades, a word in conclusion. Having returned to our peaceful pursuits of life, we look back to the time when, upon this field and elsewhere, you were among the foremost men of this Nation; and right glad the people were then to have you foremost and front. You deserve and ought yet to be among the first in the hearts of this mighty and armed rebellion. Without the full measure of devotion which your blood and your valor won. You are the men who, when treason sped her poisoned arrows at the heart of the great Republic, left your homes and dear ones and stood up as a mighty barrier between the government and armed rebellion. Without the full measure of devotion which you unselfishly gave at the proper time and place, in the great extremity, we would not have this grand and glorious country of ours, of which we are this day so justly proud. In those eventful days we stood hand to hand, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart, and fought upon many fields of bloody strife. Ties of friendship and association were then formed which nothing but the icy hand of death can destroy or tear asunder. Our patriotic devotion to our country's flag has also been increased by the mighty sacrifices we have made - by the times we have followed that starry banner through the iron storms and leaden hail. Its stripes remind us of that great price with which our noble ancestors purchased our precious liberties; its beautiful blue galaxy tells us that by the bravery, courage and heroism of our comrades in arms, not one single star fell from that glorious constellation of States.

Almost a quarter of a century has rolled around since the war closed, and you are all growing old. Soon the cold hand of the destroyer will lay hold of you; and though your locks are becoming gray with fast declining years, though your steps are unsteady and your bodily infirmities are fast increasing, all caused by the hardships and privations of a cruel war; yet this we know - the fires of your lofty patriotism will continue to burn brightly to the end. You have fought a good fight, you have run the course. May the glory of your mighty deeds, and the cloudy pillar which hovered over all of us upon many a well-fought field, ever keep us in the way of truth and righteousness, and direct us onward and upward to the Promised Land, where we shall enroll ourselves anew in the armies of the Great Ruler who hath given all the victories.

 

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Copyright 1997 Richard M. Rogers

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