Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 2, 1863: Battle of Gettysburg, Part Two

On July 2, 1863, John Schoonover, of Oxford Furnace, Adjutant of the 11th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry Regiment was forced to take command of the regiment since Colonel Robert McAllister was wounded, Major Kearney  was killed,  and Captains Luther Martin, Dorastus Logan, Andrew Hiram Ackerman, W. H. Lloyd, and William Dunning were either killed or wounded.  With the regiment under continuous attack by Confederate troops, Schoonover had ordered the line of battle to slowly pull back toward the artillery battery near Trostle's Lane.
Schoonover reported, "At this time we neared the caissons, which were in line across the field to the left, when I was struck a second time, with a buckshot, and being nearly exhausted in my efforts to rally the men, and from the wound in my breast, was compelled to go to the rear.  A portion of the regiment was rallied some distance to the rear by Captain Lloyd - with the flag - and charged in line with the remainder of the brigade to a point near that occupied during the hottest of the action.  Remaining there a short time, it marched some distance to the rear and bivouacked.
"To mention some may seem to do gross injustice to others, but I cannot pass by the untiring efforts of Lieutenant [John] Buckley to rally the men.  Captain Lloyd and Lieutenant [Ira] Cory also deserve special mention for their coolness and bravery.  As an individual act of bravery, I desire to mention Corporal Thomas Johnson, of Company I, who, when two color-bearers had been shot down, I ordered to take the colors and advance twenty yards to the front, as the regiment was wavering, he did so and did not leave his position until ordered to the rear.  The services of Lieutenant Joseph C. Baldwin, on the 3rd, as Acting Adjutant were invaluable. 
"In the action on the 2nd, the regiment sustained a very heavy loss.  Out of the 275 officers and men taken into the fight, 18 were killed, 130 wounded and 6 missing, making a total of 154." 
It should be noted that Lieutenant Cory's Company H had been ordered by General Joseph Bradford Carr to direct its fire against General William Barksdale, who was leading the charge of his Mississippi troops by waving his sword and wearing a red fez on his head.  Barksdale was struck down by five musket balls from the 11th NJ Regiment.
When the fighting was the fiercest at Little Round Top, Devil's Den and the wheat field, the men of the 7th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry Regiment and the 2nd New Hampshire Regiment found they were under fire from behind their line of battle.  They changed their front to a position closer to Emmittsburg Road and Trostle's Lane.  Retreating artillery from the peach orchard ran through the line, splitting the unit in two.  The regiment came under heavy fire from the approaching Southern troops.  The regiment could not return fire because and could not lay down in the lane because the artillery temporarily blocked the lane.  Colonel Louis Francine discussed the situation with his field officers and decided that a charge was the only hope for the regiment.  Francine yelled, "Fix Bayonets!; Forward, Double Quick! Charge!"
The 7th NJ charged across the field of fire, cheering as they ran.  The 7th reached the line of the 2nd New Hampshire, halted and opened fire on the rebels.  Colonel Francine, his adjutant, and one third of the regiment had fallen dead or wounded during the charge.  Lieutenant Colonel Francis Price rallied the remnants of the regiment at the Trostle house.  When Price was shot, Major Frederick Cooper took command.
The losses to the 7th NJ were 114 killed, wounded or missing.  The men of Company E, from Belvidere, Hope, Harmony and Oxford sustained the following wounded: Sergeant Calvin J. Osmun, Sergeant James Roseberry, Corporal Edward Creveling (of Phillipsburg), Corporal David Rockafellow, William Pettit, James McKeever, John S. Gulick, Michael Barry, Robert Dalrymple, and Joseph Weaver.
Colonel Edward Campbell, of Belvidere, and his 15th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry Regiment were in Manchester, Maryland when the battle started.  The 15th NJ reached Gettysburg at approximately 3:00 p.m. on July 2, after a non-stop march of 35 miles in 16 hours.  At 7:00 p.m., after resting and eating, the 15th NJ and the remainder of the old 1st New Jersey Brigade, of the 1st Division, 6th Army Corps, were sent to the front.  They were sent to a rocky knoll fronted with trees, approximately 1/8 of a mile from Little Round Top.  In front was the ground on which many of the men of the 7th, 8th, and 11th NJ regiments had died.  It took almost three hours of fighting to secure the rocky knoll on the morning of July 3.  From their rocky knoll, the men of the 15th NJ witnessed "Pickett's Charge" on the 2nd Corps' line of battle.
Copyright 1997-2013: Jay C. Richards

No comments:

Post a Comment