Shall The Land Forget
Many thanks to Thomas M. McKenna for all his work in transcribing this history of the 147th New York Volunteers. He has also contacted several individuals, who have graciously given permission to use their information on this site of the 147th NY. As Thomas McKenna writes, "This will become a significant resource for genealogists and civil war researchers."
Thomas McKenna is researching the following ancestors from: NY JEFFERSON AND OSWEGO CO: BEARDSLEY, WESTCOTT, CARLEY, RICHARDSON, and would love to share information.
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OSWEGO IN THE REBELLION.
The One Hundred and Forty-seventh regiment
The failure of General McClellan's peninsular campaign in the spring and summer of 1862, the disaster of the second battle of Bull Run, and retreat of the army of the Potomac into the defenses of Washington, had dissipated all hope of a speedy termination of the war, and filled the country with alarm.
President Lincoln had issued his proclamation for " six hundred thousand more." In August, 1862, D. C. Littlejohn passed through every part of Oswego County, and with fiery eloquence sounded the " slogan." The farmer left his field; the artisan his bench; all pursuits gave way to the extreme necessity of the hour, and the men hastened to enroll their names under the sacred banner of their country.
The One Hundred and Tenth Regiment New York volunteers was speedily organized, and left for the field under Colonel D. C. Littlejohn.
The One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment New York volunteers was soon after organized, its ranks filled, and the regiment mustered into the United States service September 23, 1862.
The following were the field and staff of the One Hundred and Forty-seventh regiment:
Colonel, Andrew S. Warner; Lieutenant-Colonel, John G. Butler; Adjutant, Dudley Farling; Quartermaster, Benjamin F. Lewis; Surgeon, A. S. Coe; Assistant Surgeon, John T. Stillman, S. G. Place - Chaplain, Harvey E. Chapin.
Francis C. Miller, late captain Company C, Twenty-fourth New York volunteers, was commissioned major October 4, and joined the regiment in the defenses of Washington. The regiment, comprising eight hundred and thirty-seven enlisted men, left, Oswego, where it was organized and enrolled, under the command of Colonel A. S. Warner, for the front, September 27, 1862, via Elmira, Harrisburg, and Baltimore, and arrived at Washington September 30. It was ordered to Camp Chase, in the southern defenses, about two miles from Long Bridge.
October 3 it was ordered to the northern defenses at Tenallytown, three miles north of Georgetown. It there remained nearly two months, occupied in building forts and digging rifle-pits for the protection of Washington. It occupied an old camping-ground in the midst of a beautiful country, diversified with wooded knolls, open glades, and bosky dells, but this beautiful encampment was infected with a deadly malaria, emanating from decaying animal and vegetable matter, the accumulation of one and a half year's occupation by our armies. Dysentery, typhoid fever, and jaundice soon became prevalent. The regiment was soon decimated by sickness and desertion.
Nostalgia, or home-sickness, often was a fruitful source of more serious illness. Harvey Flint, second lieutenant Company F, died of typhoid fever November 23. Horace G. Lee, sergeant-major was promoted to fill his place December 3. Colonel Warner, Lieutenant Colonel Butler, Captain Woodward, Company C, Lieutenant Slatterly, Company B, and Quartermaster Lewis were stricken with fever and sent to hospital or went home on sick leave of absence. Much discontent and dissatisfaction among the men were caused by enforced labor on the defenses. But little time was afforded for drill and military instruction, important requisites for preparing the regiment for efficient field service. The men had not acquired the pride of a professional soldier, which yields willing obedience, unquestioned, to his superior officer. The officer had not yet the requisite knowledge of his profession which inspires respect from his inferior in rank.
There was also a great lack of experience with officers and men in the practical life of camp and field, hence it was difficult to enforce efficient sanitary measures for the health of the regiment.
November 28 the regiment, under the command of Major Miller, was ordered to join the Army of the Potomac, then stationed at Falmouth and Aquia creek, Virginia.
The enemy occupied the south bank of the Rappahannock about Fredericksburg, a position strong by nature, and made impregnable by art, as the experience of our army soon after proved.
The regiment marched across southeastern Maryland to Port Tobacco, situated on the north bank of the Potomac, opposite to Aquia creek, arriving there December 1. It crossed the Potomac that night on transports. December 2, before the baggage train containing the tents came up, there set in a furious snow-storm. The men had with them their shelter-tents, which afforded to them a partial shelter from the driving storm, but the officers had no tents, save one which was brought up by one officer who went back to the baggage-train after dark to get it. The night was spent by the officers mostly in cutting wood to keep a huge fire burning to keep themselves from freezing. In the morning their garments were frozen stiff on their backs. During the next day the train arrived and the regiment went into encampment. Soon after its arrival at Aquia creek it was brigaded with the Twentieth, Twenty-first, and Twenty-second New Jersey, and One Hundred and Thiry-seventh Pennsylvania Regiments, enlisted to serve nine months, under Colonel Bossert, of the One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Regiment.
The brigade was assigned to provost duty under the direct command of army headquarters. Its duties were to guard the line of railroad from Aquia creek to Falmouth, attend to receiving and forwarding supplies, and perform general police duties. The One Hundred and Forty-seventh regiment was stationed at Falmouth, and witnessed the disastrous battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, but took no active part in the engagement. In the first week of January, 1863, the brigade was transferred to the First army corps, commanded by Major-General Reynolds, forming- the Third brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Paul, in the First division, commanded by Brigadier-General Wadsworth. Colonel Warner, Lieutenant-Colonel Butler, Captain Woodward, Company C, and Quartermaster Lewis had a short time previously returned to duty. Up to this time the regiment had been performing irregular duty, affording little opportunity to become proficient in the details of drill and discipline. General Paul, an old army officer, directly set himself to the task to perfect the organization and discipline of his brigade, attending to the details of drill, sanitary policing, and the personal and soldierly bearing of officers and men. The regiment was encamped at Belle Plain, on the Potomac, four miles below Aquia creek. The country was densely wooded and broken into high conical hills and deep ravines. Access to the camps was sometimes difficult. The roads during the rainy season were nearly impassable. The camping-grounds were excessively uneven, and the men were obliged to excavate or burrow into the hill-side to erect their tents or cabins, and to obtain shelter from the fierce storms of wind, rain, sleet, or snow which almost constantly swept the Potomac throughout that winter ; consequently much sickness prevailed, especially typhoid, pneumonia. Many a brave and patriotic soldier yielded up his life with the regret that it should be thus untimely cut short before he could strike a blow for his country.
January 30 the Army of the Potomac, under the command of General Burnside, started on what is designated " General Burnside's mud march." Its object was to surprise and attack the enemy across the Rappahannock above Fredericksburg.
Previously, there had been a few days of warm, settled weather, the roads had become dry and hard. During the first night after breaking camp there set in a drenching rain-storm, which lasted two days. The second night found the whole army literally stuck in the mud. It had reached the north bank of the stream above Fredericksburg and encamped near the river.
The entire transportation had stuck fast, and could move no farther. The regiment remained encamped in a dense pine grove during the next day the day after it retraced its steps and returned to its old camping-ground at Belle Plain. This was the first experience the regiment had in campaigning. General Burnside was now (January 26) relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac by Major-General Joe Hooker.
During the months of February and March there were many changes in the organization of the regiment by resignation and promotion.
The field and staff and line officers were as follows:
Colonel A. S. Warner, resigned February 4. Lieutenant-Colonel J. G. Butler was commissioned colonel February 24, 1863. Major Francis C. Miller was commissioned lieutenant-colonel February 24. George Harney, captain Company B, was commissioned major February 24.
Company A.-Edward Greyware, second lieutenant,
resigned January 8. John F. Box, private, commissioned second lieutenant
Quartermaster Lewis, after a severe illness, was sent. to hospital at Georgetown, and soon after was discharged on a surgeon's certificate of disability. Henry H. Mellen quartermaster-sergeant, was commissioned quartermaster February 13. Quartermaster Lewis had, with heroic persistence, shared the fortunes of the regiment against tile earnest solicitations of his medical officer and warmest friends, through two or three attacks of illness, barely escaping with his life, each time with a sorrowful heart he was forced finally to submit to the inevitable, or offer up his life as an unnecessary sacrifice. The regiment thereby lost the services of a valuable officer. Harvey E. Chapin, chaplain, was also discharged on a surgeon's certificate and died a few weeks after returning home, with chronic diarrhea. The office was not again filled. April 3, the regiment was transferred to the Second brigade, commanded by Brigadier-General Cutler. The brigade comprised the Seventy-sixth and Ninety-fifth Regiments, New York Volunteers, and Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania and Seventh Indiana Volunteers. James Coey, captain Company E, was prostrated with typhoid fever, and sent home on a sick leave of absence.
The following died in hospital in the northern defenses of Washington:
Alfred Lukin, Company A, private, Nov. 21, 1862;
The following died in hospital at Belle Plain and in general hospital , during the winter of 1862-63, and to May 1, 1863:
Thomas Harrington, Company A, April 11, 1863;
OSWEGO IN THE REBELLION
The One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment. - Battle of Chancellorsville - Battle of Gettysburg.
APRIL 28, the regiment broke camp to set out on the campaign terminating in the battle of Chancellorsville. During the winter of 1862-63 the enemy occupied the south bank of the Rappahannock, extending from Port Royal, twenty miles south, to Kelly's Ford, twenty-seven miles north of Fredericksburg. The fords were few and strongly guarded, and watched with untiring vigilance. No attack or demonstration on the enemy's lines could be made below Kelly's Ford without the immediate knowledge of the enemy.
Parts of the Third army corps, thirty thousand strong, April 27, marched up the north bank of the stream and crossed at Kelly's Ford, with but little opposition, and swept down the south bank to Chancellorsville, skirting, the wilderness and uncovering the United States ford, twelve miles above Fredericksburg ; there they were joined by the remainder of the Army of the Potomac, excepting the First and Sixth corps. In the mean time the enemy became aware of their extreme danger and withdrew all but ten thousand men, under General Early, from Fredericksburg, and hastened to meet General Hooker at Chancellorsville. From May 2 to May 4 was fought the battle of Chancellorsville. The First and Sixth corps were left behind to make a feint on Fredericksburg, or if the enemy's lines became weakened by the withdrawal of a large force, to turn the feint into a real attack, and carry the place and effect a junction with the main army on the south side of the river. The two corps were to approach the river and lay the pontoon bridges in the night under cover of darkness, but, owing to the had condition of the roads, daylight (April 29) found them with the bridges incomplete, and the men received a galling fire from a line of rifle-pits on the opposite bank of the river. The regiment, with General Wadsworth's division, was to cross at Fitzbugh's crossing, about three miles below Fredericksburg. An attempt was made to shell the enemy out of the rifle-pits with Battery B, Fourth United States Artillery, Captain Reynolds, but without avail. General Wadsworth, with the Twenty second New York and Sixth Wisconsin Regiments, crossed below (General Wadsworth swimming his horse) in boats, attacked the enemy on the flank, and captured the entire force, between two hundred and three hundred rebels. The bridges were then speedily laid and the corps marched over, the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York taking the lead. The two corps took position on the enemy's side of the river to menace Fredericksburg, placing the enemy between the two wings of the army. At this point the hills on the southeast, recede about two and a half miles from the river and close in on the stream at Fredericksburg above, and also about two miles below, forming an amphitheatre. The enemy were strongly posted on the hills, with several batteries. Here occurred an artillery duel (the infantry was not engaged) during the next three days. The regiment lost four or five killed and wounded.
In the mean time the battle was fiercely raging at Chancellorsville. On the 2d of May the First corps was ordered to join General Hooker at Chancellorsville. The regiment arrived on the field of battle in the morning of the 3d at the time of a fierce conflict. It was the day after the stampede of the Eleventh corps under Major-General Howard, which fiasco rendered the position of the Federal army untenable. The enemy were striving to follow up their success of the day previous by driving our army into the river. The battle raged two hours afterwards, when all fighting ceased, save occasional exchange of shots on the skirmish-line and between the artillery. The army had safely taken up a new position, changing its lines under a determined attack of the enemy. The regiment remained two days on the field and fell back with the army, recrossin the river in the night. It went into camp in a pine grove, about three miles below Falmouth. The men suffered much from sickness after the fatigue and exposure of the campaign. Typhoid and remittent fevers and diarrhea prevailed extensively. George A. Sisson, captain of Company D, a brave and valuable officer, died from typhoid fever soon after. Colonel Butler was again disabled by sickness, and sent home on a sick leave of absence. He did not again return to his command. He was a thorough disciplinarian; he had a lively and genial temperament; he was strict without being harsh, and possessed the love and respect of his officers and men. He had brought the regiment to a high state of efficiency. F. N. Hamlin, first lieutenant Company K, became ill, and was sent to hospital, and afterwards sent home on a sick leave.
Died in hospitals in May and June, 1863:
Charles H. McCarty, Company C, from wounds received at Fitzhugh Crossing,
below Falmouth, May 1, 1863;
THE MARCH TO GETTYSBURG
June 12, 1863, the regiment commenced its march on the memorable Gettysburg campaign. It was suffering much from sickness. The ambulances were overcrowded, and many of the sick were obliged to follow along the best way they could or be captured by the enemy. A march generally inspirits and invigorates the men, and rapidly diminishes the sick list; but the weather was extremely hot, and the marches long and fatiguing. Each man carried seven days' rations, forty rounds of ammunition, half of a shelter-tent and blanket, besides his musket, making fifty pounds in weight to each man. The soldiers were tormented with blistered feet, and sunstroke became unusually prevalent. Men dropped down exhausted on the march. The sick and disabled accumulated on the route. Requisition was made on all mess and private transportation for tile use of the sick. Mess-kitts and other articles of necessity and comfort were abandoned on the road. Personal convenience and private rights were willingly yielded to the necessities of the sick and disabled. On the 14th the regiment reached Bealton Station, on the Orange and Alexandria railroad. The sick were sent from there to Alexandria. On the 15th the regiment reached Centreville, and there remained till the 18th, affording the weary soldiers much needed rest. The regiment had marched over the racing- and battlegrounds of the two armies of the two years previous. Everywhere were the evidences of the ravages of war. What few inhabitants remained were dejected and poverty stricken. Houses and fences were destroyed; landmarks obliterated; even the county records were seen strewn upon the road. Long stretches of country, on the plains of Manassas and about Warrenton Junction, were an arid waste. The men suffered greatly from thirst. At long intervals stagnant pools were found, the water of a drab color. The march, from that time till the battle of Gettysburg, was regulated by the movements of the enemy. No unusual incident occurred up to that time save the terrible hardships of the march. Several men were prostrated with sickness, and sent to Washington upon every available opportunity. George Huginin, first, lieutenant Company A, was taken ill, and sent to hospital. The regiment crossed the Potomac at Edwards' Ferry, June 26, and encamped near Middletown, Maryland, on the evening of the 27th. On June 28, after a toilsome march over Cotocton mountain, reached Frederick. The next day the regiment was detailed to guard the wagon-train to Emmettsburg. It left Frederick at twelve M., and reached Emmettsburg about eleven P.M., marching twenty-six miles, with scarcely a halt on the route.
Crossing into Maryland was like passing from a desert into a garden, from a land of desolation into a land of peace and plenty. Save the fatigues of the long, toilsome marches it was a succession of delights. The ripening crops, the well-kept fences and the immense painted barns, denoted thrift and comfort. The line of march passed over a succession of low ranges of mountains or hills, cultivated to their tops, with beautiful valleys lying between, presenting long vistas of variegated landscape, dotted with villages and farm houses embowered with trees. It was a picture of Arcadia to the weary soldiers had long been accustomed to the worn-out lands and the stunted, scrubby groves of Virginia, made more desolate by the ravages of war. It made them long for peace, and long for the rural comforts which they saw spread before them. The ravages of armies soon became apparent in this beautiful country. Fences began to disappear, and the ripening grain, ready for the reaper, was soon trampled down.
FIRST DAY'S BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG
The next day the First corps marched to Marsh creek, about four miles from Gettysburg, and went into encampment Many things indicated that the army was on the eve of an impending battle. Batteries were put into position ; a strong picket-line was posted, and the corps encamped in line of battle, as if in readiness to receive an attack. June 30 the regiment was mustered for pay. Early in the morning of July 1 the " long roll" was sounded. The first division was hastily got into marching order, and started on its way towards Gettysburg. As it was crossing the summit of the divide, two or three miles from Gettysburg, overlooking the valley below, puffs of smoke could be seen from exploding shells, about two miles northwest of Gettysburg, but no report could be heard ; the distance was not over two and a half miles. The advance of General Hill's corps was debouching from the mountain pass, and driving General Buford's cavalry before it. The pace was quickened, and as the division approached within half a mile of the town it filed into the fields; it hastened on the double-quick to meet the enemy, the men loading their muskets as they marched. It hastily formed in a grove on Seminary Ridge, in the western outskirts of the town. It was led by General Reynolds in person to a parallel ridge four hundred yards distant, towards the advancing enemy. Through this ridge is a deep railroad cut. General Cutler's brigade was formed on this ridge, the cut dividing the brigade into two unequal parts. The One Hundred and Forty-seventh and Seventy-sixth New York Regiments were stationed to the right; the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania, Ninety-fifth New York, and Seventh Indiana Regiments, to the left of the cut. The One Hundred and Fortyseventh Regiment's left rested on the cut; the Seventysixth joined the One Hundred and Forty-seventh on the right. The two other brigades of the First division formed the centre and left of the line of battle. Captain Hall's battery supported General Cutler's brigade, and was in position on the right of the railroad cut.
The principal force of the enemy was advancing on the Cashtown road against General Cutler's brigade, and the brunt of attack was directed to the right of the railroad cut. The battle opened about ten A.M. In front was a wheatfield, sloping down to a stream which sheltered the advance of the enemy. They suddenly poured a withering volley into the two regiments. General Reynolds was instantly killed. The enemy charged through the railroad cut, within sixty yards of Captain Hall's battery, and poured in a destructive fire, obliging it, with its supports, to withdraw. At the same time the enemy advanced in double lines of battle in front and on the right flank. - General Wadsworth directed this brigade to fall back. The Seventy-sixth Regiment received the order, and fell back in time, but the One Hundred and Forty-seventh Regiment did not receive the order to retire. Lieutenant-Colonel Miller was wounded on top of the head just at the time the order was delivered to him. Confused by the wound, he did not communicate the order to his successor, Major Harney.
Major Harney bravely held the regiment to its position, against overwhelming numbers, until Captain Ellsworth, assistant adjutant-general on General Wadsworth's staff, seeing its perilous position, with great personal bravery hastened forward and ordered Major Harney to fall back; the enemy at the time held the railroad cut, partially intercepting the regiment's retreat. It was none too soon to save the regiment from total annihilation or capture. It had already lost full one-half of its numbers in killed and wounded. Major Harney, ever mindful of the good name and welfare of the regiment saw after the retreat that the colors were missing. Sergeant Hinchcliff, the color-bearer conspicuous for his bravery and fine soldierly bearing was shot through the heart, and had fallen upon the colors. Major Harney was about to return in person to bring them off, when Sergeant Wybourn, Company I, volunteered to rescue them. He returned, rolled Sergeant Hinchcliff off the colors, and bore them off triumphantly amidst a storm of bullets. He was wounded slightly, but was saved by his knapsack ; the ball that hit him first passed through it. At this time General Meredith's brigade, occupying the centre of the line, was in great danger. The right wing had been driven back, and the enemy with a large force held the railroad cut, ready to intercept the retreat of the remainder of the division. Upon the spur of the moment the Sixth Wisconsin, Fourteenth Brooklyn, and Ninety-fifth New York wheeled around perpendicularly to the line of the enemy and charged furiously upon them. They caught then) in the railroad cut, and captured eleven hundred men, two battle-flags, and the rebel General Archer, and bore them safely off. This movement materially facilitated the retreat of the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York. This manoeuvre severely repulsed the enemy, and the Federal lines were re-established. The One Hundred and Fortyseventh New York rallied under cover of Seminary Hill, but at no time during the remainder of the day could it muster more than seventy or eighty muskets. The battle had lasted about thirty minutes at the time of the failing back of the regiment. It returned near its former position after the line was re-established.
The two remaining divisions of the First corps soon came up to meet the enemy as they deployed and extended their lines on the right, and the theatre of action shifted to the northwest of Gettysburg, between the Chambersburg and Mummasburg roads. There the enemy endeavored to overwhelm our right by superior force. The regiment was moved up midway between the two roads about twelve M., and again suffered depletion of its already diminished ranks. Several of its officers were severely wounded and borne to the rear.
General Hill's corps, thirty thousand strong, was kept at bay by the First corps, thirteen thousand strong, until reinforced by General Ewell's corps in the afternoon. It came in on the Carlisle road. The Eleventh corps, commanded by General Carl Schurz, was on the field to oppose it. Between the two corps there was an interval which was not wholly filled up during the battle. The enemy now had a force on the field nearly sixty thousand strong. The two corps, First and Eleventh, were about twenty-five thousand strong. The roads approaching the north side of the town-the Mummasburg, Carlisle, and Harrisburg roads -converge and unite just before the town is reached, forming but one street or avenue of escape through the town. Between three and four P.M. the enemy with a vastly superior force overlapping the Eleventh corps on the right, and closing in on the interspace between the two corps, advanced all along the line. The Eleventh corps made a feeble resistance during a brief interval, and then fled in disorder. It soon became disorganized and panic-stricken, and, as it approached the junction of the converging roads, became wedged and huddled into a mass of frightened humanity the enemy unopposed, pursued and deliberately poured volley after volley into this seething mass. The slaughter was terrible. There were fields of standing grain in the northern suburbs of the town filled with the dead and wounded soldiers. This exposed the right flank of the First corps, and necessitated a hasty retreat.
General Doubleday, successor of General Reynolds in command of the First corps, in his official report says, "About four P.M., the enemy having been strongly reinforced, advanced in large numbers, everywhere deploying, into double and triple lines, overlapping our left for a third of a mile, pressing heavily upon our right, and overwhelming our centre. It was evident that Lee's whole army was upon us. Our tired troops had been fighting desperately, some of them for six hours. They were thoroughly exhausted, and General Howard had no reinforcements to give me. It became necessary to retreat. . . . I gave orders to retreat, the right to fall back first, and the Third division covering the movement by occupying the intrenchments in front of Seminary Hill, which I had directed to be thrown up in the morning as a precautionary measure.
The fortifications were nothing but a pile of rails, but from behind them Rowley's gallant men, assisted by part of Wadsworths command, stemmed the fierce tide which pressed them incessantly, and held the foe at bay until the greater portion of the corps had retired. . . . The batteries were all brought back from their advanced position and posted on Seminary Ridge. They greatly assisted the orderly retreat, retarding the enemy by their fire. They lost heavily in men and horses at this point, and as they retired to town were subjected to so heavy a fire that one gun was left, the horses being all shot down. The bodies of three caissons were necessarily abandoned. . . . I remained at the Seminary myself until thousands of hostile bayonets made their appearance round the sides of the building. I then rode back and regained my command, nearly all of which were filing through the town. As we passed through the streets the pale and frightened inhabitants came out of their houses, offering us food and drink, and the expression of their deep sorrow and sympathy."
The two streams of the retreating corps met in the streets of the town, and impeded each other in their efforts to escape. The enemy did not pursue our retreating forces beyond the town, and they were rallied on Culp's Hill, on Cemetery Ridge. This was about four P.M. The first day's battle of Gettysburg was ended. For some reason, never sufficiently explained, the enemy were contented, for that day, with the advantages already gained. If they had continued the pursuit, in the then broken and demoralized condition of our troops, our army could not have rallied and defended the strong positions which it occupied during the next two days, and the battle which checked the rebel invasion would have been fought elsewhere. The Union losses were five thousand killed and wounded, and five thousand taken prisoners. The enemy's loss was about the same in killed and wounded, but less in prisoners. All the hospitals, wounded, and nearly the entire medical staff of the First corps were captured. Many prisoners were paroled, but, as there was an agreement per cartel that no parole should be binding unless made at certain designated points, and as Gettysburg was not one of them, the men were immediately returned to duty. This was seized upon by the enemy as a pretext for returning to duty thirty thousand rebels captured at Vicksburg by General Grant about this time. The loss of the One Hundred and Fortyseventh New York was about forty killed, two hundred wounded, and thirty missing.
The following officers were killed: Gilford D. Mace, first lieutenant Company F; D. G. Vandusen, second lieutenant Company D; Daniel McAssy, second lieutenant Company I.
The officers wounded were as follows: F. C. Miller, lieutenant-colonel,
slightly; George Harney, major, slightly;
The following is a list of the non-commissioned officers and men
killed in this battle, July 1, 1863:
The list of the names of the wounded cannot be obtained from the final muster-out rolls in Albany, New York.
General Doubleday in his official report, says, " I concur with the division commanders in their estimate of the good conduct and valuable services of the following-named officers and men: General Cutler, commanding the Second brigade, says, " Colonel Hofmann, Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Major Harney, One Hundred and Fortyseventh - New York Volunteers, Captain Cook, Seventy-Sixth New York Volunteers, deserve special mention for gallantry and coolness; Colonel Fowler. Fourteenth Brooklyn for charging the enemy at. the, railroad cut, in connection with the Ninety-fifth New York Volunteers and Sixth 7 Wisconsin, by which the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York Volunteers was released from its perilous position; Lieutenant-Colonel Miller, commanding the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York Volunteers, was severely wounded at the head of his regiment on the Ist instant. . . . Major Harney, of the One Hundred and Forty Seventh New York Volunteers, and Major Pye, of the Ninety-fifth New York Volunteers, on assuming command of their respective regiments, did all that brave men and good soldiers could do, and deserve well for their services. Sergeant H. H. Hubbard, Company D, One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York Volunteers, was in command of the provost guard of the brigade, eighteen strong, on the morning of the 1st instant,. He formed the guard on the right of the Seventy-sixth New York Volunteers, and fought until the battle was over, losing twelve of his men. The color-sergeant of the One Hundred and Forty-seventh. New York Volunteers was killed, and the colors were caught by Sergeant Win. A. Wybourn, of Company I, One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York Volunteers, and brought off the battle-field by him, notwithstanding he was himself severely wounded."
This was the baptism of the regiment: fortunately, in the previous battles, it had escaped with small loss; but in this its fortune was to be placed in the most exposed and trying position of the battle, and receive the furious onset of vastly superior numbers. The brave General Reynolds was immediately shot down in its presence. Manfully had it stood up to its work, and justified the trust imposed in it. It had withstood the attacks of' the enemy when nearly surrounded on all sides, with over one-half of its numbers killed or wounded, its flag, torn into tatters, and the staff completely severed by hostile bullets. Henceforth it was considered an honor to belong to the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York Volunteers, and its deeds in this day's battle were referred to with pride. The enemy not pursuing beyond the streets of the town, gave our shattered and somewhat disorganized forces a breathing -spell. They rallied on Culp's Hill a part of Cemetery Ridge, on the south side of' the town, a strong defensive position.
SECOND AND THIRD DAYS' BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG
General Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac was fifteen miles distant, and hearing that there was fighting at Gettysburg, sent General Hancock, with orders to take command of the two corps. He arrived about the time the forces fell back to Culp's Hill, and immediately selected a defensive position. He chose a ridge running nearly north and south between the Taneytown and Ernmettsburg roads, terminating on the south at Round Gap Mountain, on the north at Culp's Hill, south of Gettysburg. The northern extremity curves around, similar in shape to the bend of a fish-hook. The convexity of the curve is towards Gettysburg. This is called Cemetery Ridge. On the morning of July 2 the remainder or the Army of the Potomac except the Sixth corps, had come up, and were posted all along this ridge. The enemy's army was posted on Seminary Ridge running nearly parallel to Cemetery Ridge except Ewell's corps, which lay opposite to Culp's Hill, its left, extending around to the northern suburbs of the town, where it joined the right of their (the rebel) Army, nearly encircling the town. The One Hundred and Forty seventh New York Volunteers were posted on Culp's Hill. The forenoon was spent by both armies in getting into position. In the afternoon, at 3.30, General Longstreet made his celebrated attack on our left, striving to get possession of Little Round-Top Mountain, the key to the whole position ; that obtained, the enemy could enfilade our whole line. Attack followed attack, until night put an end to the contest.
The enemy had obtained some advantage, but the position still remained in the possession of our forces. During the battle Culp's Hill had been much weakened by the withdrawal of troops to oppose General Longstreet. Between six and seven P.M. General Ewell made repeated charges up the steep bill, crowned by a rude breastwork of loose stones and logs hastily thrown up by our men. The attacks were renewed along in the night. Finally the enemy effected a lodgment. A regiment of the Twelfth corps gave way, and let the enemy in. The One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York and Fourteenth Brooklyn, with some troops of the Twelfth corps, charged upon them and drove them out, restoring the lines. July 3 the enemy placed in position on Seminar Ridge and the railroad embankment next to the town, one hundred and fifty pieces of artillery. At one P.M. they opened fire on our centre. The Union batteries replied, but owing to their position only eighty pieces could be brought to bear at once. After two hours General Hunt, chief of artillery, slackened fire to see what the enemy were intending to do, The enemy, thinking our batteries silenced and the troops demoralized, began the grand attack of the day. General Picket, with twenty thousand men, moved up the slope in dense columns towards our centre. Our batteries opened on them, tearing huge gaps in their lines, which were closed as soon as made. The enemy pressed steadily on until they met our forces in a hand-to-hand conflict. Gunners used their rammers and the infantry clubbed their muskets to beat them off. Lieutenant Haskell, on General Gibbons' staff, speedily collected several fragments of broken organizations of troops, and attacked them " on the flank," throwing them into disorder. During a period of a quarter of an hour the combatants were struggling in close quarters. The attack was soon repulsed, and nearly the entire charging column was either killed, wounded, or captured. On the right, at Culp's Hill, General Ewell had kept up a series of attacks or feints since the evening of the 2d. The hill was steep and rugged, densely wooded, and the surface covered with loose stones. With wonderful persistence and bravery, the enemy had charged up this steep bill to our breastworks during the night of the 2d and through the day of the 3d, until their dead literally covered the ground. Under the breastworks they lay in heaps. Their wounded were mostly removed during the night under cover of the darkness. The One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York had been kept constantly on the alert until exhausted by fatigue and want of sleep. A constant stream of musketry was kept up by our line to repel the enemy. The trees facing the line, scarred to their tops, and the limbs cut off by bullets, attest the severity of the contest.
An incident occurred on the 3d which illustrates the desperate
valor and reeklessness of the enemy. In a charge more vigorous and determined
than usual, after persistent fighting, their line broke ; a number of their
men took shelter behind a large rock in front of the One Hundred and Forty-seventh
New York, but it did not wholly protect them from a flank fire from both
sides. They were being gradually picked off by our men. They commenced
to wave handkerchiefs and give other tokens of surrender. This was seen
by an officer on General Ewell's staff at a distance on our right. He immediately
started to ride across our front to arrest it. He and his orderlies were
immediately riddled with bullets, The wadding of their coats was seen to
fly as the bullets passed through them. The regiment had been fighting
almost constantly from the evening of the 2d to the evening of the 3d without
rations, and without food, save a little fresh beef without salt, and seasoned
with gunpowder. The pickets in the night were relieved every thirty minutes
and the officers every second hour, as it was impossible for them to remain
longer on their posts without falling asleep. Nature could endure no more.
This may well be considered the decisive battle of the war. The enemy kept up a show of continuing the battle till nightfall. In the night they silently gathered their dispirited forces and withdrew from the town, leaving the hospitals and wounded as they had found them. Our army lay on its arms all night; in the morning of the 4th, tidings were brought that the enemy had withdrawn in the night. They fortified Seminary Hill as a menace to our army-keeping up a show of renewing the attack during the 4th-and a cover of retreat for theirs. In the morning General Meade called a council of war, by which it was decided to remain until the enemy's plans were developed. There was some cannonading through the day, but little infantry fighting. In the night a heavy shower set in, and in the morning of the 5th the enemy had retreated from Seminary Hill. The losses of the One Hundred and Forty-seventh New York, during the 2d and 3d, were considerable, in proportion to its numbers. Lieutenant Taylor, I Company E, was killed, and Lieutenant John F. Box, Company A, was wounded in the shoulder, and had his arm amputated at the shoulder-joint.
The following were killed in the second and third days' battle of
Among the incidents of the battle, there was one which occurred at the hospital, illustrating the reckless abandon bonhommie of the life of the soldier during this war. The surgeon of the regiment with the surgeon of the Fourteenth Brooklyn Regiment occupied a large hotel in the lower part of the town, which was very much exposed to the hells of the enemy during the first day, and from the shells of the Union army during the next two days of the battle. In the morning of the first day's battle, the hospital was soon filled with the wounded of these two regiments many of them were wounded slightly. In the confusion, the slightly wounded had the freedom of the hotel. They ransacked the building, and found a quantity of liquor of all descriptions; they soon got somewhat intoxicated. Several of the Fourteenth Brooklyn men, with their arms in their hands, were looking out of the windows into the street, when they saw the enemy come into the town, driving the Eleventh corps before them. They fired out of the windows at the enemy. A volley was immediately returned into the building; thereupon the wounded soldiers, about twelve in number, rushed down and formed a line across the entrance, to defend the hospital against the whole rebel army. Just at that time, one of the surgeons returned from a visit to several officers of his regiment who had been taken into a building in another part of the town, and saw a squad of the enemy, only a few paces off, with their muskets raised to their shoulders, about to fire into these Brooklyn men. He ordered them not to shoot those wounded men ; the rebel officer in command told his men not to fire, and turned to the surgeon and said, " Disarm them, then, or I will have every man of them shot." The surgeon ordered the men to give up their arms and go back into the hospital. All but three or four obeyed; these declared that they would never surrender, and it was with great difficulty that the surgeon finally saved their lives. The enemy were determined to shoot them, and the surgeon once or twice pushed the muzzles of the guns aside when they were about to fire. Finally, with assistance, he wrenched the muskets from the grasp of the wounded men. One man was shot through the heart, and lay across the steps of the hotel. As soon as matters were quieted, the surgeon looked around and saw a mounted rebel officer, considerably intoxicated, across the street, brandishing a pistol, declaring that he would sack and burn the hospital, because they had been firing out of the windows at his men. He caught sight of the surgeon and came riding across the street, saying, " I say, doctor, don't we Louisianians fight like h-l?" at the same time displaying several trophies which he had picked up from the battle-field, but claiming that he had captured them from " Yankee Officers " by his personal prowess. The surgeon, mindful of the real danger the wounded were in, for firing out of the windows was a plain violation of the usages of civilized warfare, flattered the rebel officer to the top of his bent. Finally he rode off, saying nothing more about sacking the building. The men who, a short time before, were ready to defend the hospital with their lives, soon affiliated with the ones who were anxious to shoot them down, and were soon seated on the curb-stone side by side, chaffing each other. They soon found out that they were old acquaintances-they had often picketed the banks of the Rappahannock opposite to each other, and had often, by concerted agreement, crossed the river into each others' lines, and had a friendly game of cards or traded tobacco for coffee. They had many reminiscences to relate, and boostings of their respective prowess in many a hard-fought battle in which they were opposed to each other.
Copyright © 1999 Thomas Michael McKenna / Laura