Bucktails Defense of Little Round Top Retold 1938 p2

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Bucktails Defense of Little Round Top Retold 1938 p2 - BUCKTAILS PART IN DEFENSE OF LITTLE ROUND TOP...
BUCKTAILS PART IN DEFENSE OF LITTLE ROUND TOP RETOLD' (Continued from page one) from north to souths rambled Plum Rum. . A Ht'le . way beyond . Plum Run the ground slopes up to what was then a wheat field, the front of which was partially protected by a stone Vail; beyond this wheat field was a wooded ridge, and beyond this ridge a peach, orchard. The peach frees are gone now, but the writer can rememDer veterans of the battle telling of having eaten fruit from this orchard. On each side of the wheat field are woods, the woods on the left reaching nearly to the base of Round Top( and in the gap thus formed, between the woods and Round1 Top, is a - rocky formation - known as "Devil's Den." - The Confederate right was held by Hood, who was Instructed to assail Sickles' left. Establishing his flank in Devil's Den, Hood at about 4 o'clock pressed forward,, his left extending , to the peach orchard. The fighting was terrific,' but Sickles" position was untenable and he was driven back. By this lime, however, the First division of the Fifth corps, under General Barnes, had reached the field and was advancing to reinforce Sickles. . General Warren, who happened to be at that momant upon Little Round Topk immediately realized the importance of securing the possession of the hill, and upon - his own authority detached Vincent's brigade to hold it. By incredible exertion Hazietf s battery was also drawn to the summits. The Confederates, had by this time, howver, broken through the flank and were running up the front . slope eager to seize the advantage point, and a savage combat ensued. Though fail ing to secure the height, Hood nung on to a position in the Devil's Den. The Confederates then attacked the peach orchard desperately, and the Union line, faultily placed, gave way near the apex of the salient. In an attempt to stem the Confederate tide, Barnes' division Was sent to the assistance of the disrupted Fifth corps. Following that Caldwell's division of Hancock's corps moved forward only to suffer heavy loss. Then Ayres division of two brigades of United States regulars went in, meeting with momentary success till completely flanked they lost 50 per cent, killed and wounded, as they fought their way back. At this moment General Crawford was ordered to charge with his division , of Pennsylvania Reserves. The division consisted of but two brigades, the First and the Third; and of these two the Third had been ordered to the left of Barnes' division, though the Eleventh regi - ment united itself to and fought with, the First brigade. The men had marched the greater portion of the night and had been forced to resume the march during the morning. Passing up the road, frequently referred to as the "Wheat - field road," they' moved to the front. The column was formed with the first line composed of the Sixth, First and Eleventh, and the second line of the Buektails and the Second, the second line being massed on the first. The moment was a critical one. The enemy swarmed In front of the Union line, between the wheat field and Little Round Top. Confused masses of troops came tearing up the rocky Incline seeking sufety, and the men at the battery on the crest made preparations to spike their guns. If the Rebels should effect lodgment on Little Round Top, the Union position was Jost. And Rebef uniforms were everywhere mounting the heights. A change in the line to repef a threatened at - tack on the left, caused the brigade to straighten out into a line of five regiments, and - threw fhe" Bucktail to the extreme left, so that their path lay through the battery, whose men, encouraged both by their presence and promises of assistance stock to their guns. The Bnrktall Charge Seizing the flag of the First regiment, whose color bearer had been shot down, General Crawford rushed to the front, shouting "Forward Reserves!" Two volleys, well - directed, were poured Into the enemy, before, with a cheer, the line charg ed forward at a run. In the front line of the Buektails. Colonel Taylor, on foot, urged his men forwurd, I while Lieutenant - Colonel N41s and Adjutant Hartshorne 'seemed' to be rM.MH.k unilrmami stu unreal Hla slope; tne men pushed their oppon ' r ents. At the foot of tne na Lie - i f.tenant - Colbnel Niles felt wounded' in the - hip; but the line kept ad - vancing. Over Plum Kun ana us marshy borders they forced Ue Confederates. Then up the slope, to wards the wheat fields At the stone wail, the enemy made a short standi but the impetuosity of the Buektails was not to be deniecU and in a few moments tha Confederates were flying through the wheat field' towards the woods at its farther side. . . A few of the men leaped the wall in pursuit, but Colonel Taylor, waving his sword, kept in front of all till he disappeared in the woods in front and to the left. The stone wall marked the limit of their intended advance, and, taking advantage of the protection it afforded, the men prepared to hold the ground they had wrested from the enemy. Numerous prisoners had been captured, but they had: been sent to the rear. The wall, which runs along the front of the wheat.field, crosses the road which runs west from Little Round Top, and though the other regiments of the Reserves were on the right of the road, the Buektails were upon its left. i - The advance had been made with such rapidity that before reaching the wall many men had become separated from their own compa - Jus off? Some of you get in there," nies and now fought in whatever was his comment. Those who command they found themselves, jjcaught the glitter of his eye did Captain Kinsey, of Company C, up - jjnot hesitate bht moved forward, on reaching thejstone wall, had or - After the skirmishers had advanc - dered his men to fake advantage of fed' Hartshorne ordered Captains its cover. Then he devoted his at - Frank Bell and John Wolfe to' take tention to keeping in check the fire - J their companies' to their support, upon his left, proceeding, fromitheir instructions being to attack Devil's - Den, The strength and rap - land develop the strength of the idity of his fire was such that but enemy, few of the enemy advanced into the I open. Lieutenant Kratzer, who was f Attack on Devil's Den everywhere on the field, shortly af - f The vicinity of Devil's Den was ter approached Kinsey, and told f admivably saUed te the tactics em - hiro that Colonel Taylor had sent Ployed by the Buektails, as cover him .to see where he was and what; botb of rocks and trees abounded, he was dokig. Kmsey replied that ( Possessing Sharps rifles, they were what he waa doing was obvious; fable to reload, when necessary, that he thought he could prevent the enemy advancing but, that without, assistance he could do nothing mere, though if Kratzer could obtafn the Colonel's permission to bring up his Company K, to his assistance, he thought he could rout the Confederates out of the rocks. , Death of Col. Taylor f When Company K reached the wall, it was augmented by perhaps a down stragglers from, various companies, among whom was Captain Mack, of Company E. Hardly had cover been taken when the vig - orous fire from the enemy, posted both In the Devil's Den and the woods, upon their left flank, at - tracted the attention of the officers. Captain .Mack, noticing Corporal Brookins, of Company G near him, ordered him to look into the woods to see what was there. It was a dangerous proceeding, but ' Mack, Brookins, and Private Davis, of Company G, started forward. Moving both beyond the left end of the Wall, and a short distance to the front of It, they ran into a line of the enemy of surh strength as to make them seek instant cover, Mack and Brookins behind a tree, Davis behind rock.' At this mo - J ment Lieutenant Kratzer, accom panied by Private Hall, of Company K, came up. With but two or three guns amongst them, to attack would have been madness. The little party, sheltering themselves as best they could, were debating what to do when Colonel Taylor, with Lieutenant Ward, came tearing forward. "Why don't you fire?" he asked, eager as ever to lead an assault. Upon being informed that the party was too weak to warrant an attack, he said he would order up more men .immediately. His men, fearful for hii safety, called to him to take cover. But the warning came too late, for as he spoke a Rebel took aim at him. Brookins threw his gun to his shoulder, but the weapon missed fire. Without a word, the Colonel dropped into Kra tier's arm, a bullet hole In his breat. To save his body from the Rebels, the men carried It bark towards the wall, Lieutenant Ludlow, of Company E. who had come up, helping. Davis remained behind his rock and Cape tain Mack covered the retreating party with savage shots at the enemy. The men - with the body had ,, no proceeded far before the man who had" shot the COloner dropped :Evis, who - called to. then to come back for him. First,, however; they must finish, their present task. At the wait' members, of Company H j relieved the little party of the body and carried lit back to the Field hospital; Remembering Davis, lying wounded, behind' the rock, Captain Mack, Brookins and. the rest determined; to make a effort to. bring him within the lines. Whether it was tribute to. their daring,, or not,, the men were not fired upon while on this errand of mercy, but the man they rescued died the next day. - With Colonel Taylor dead and Lieutenant - Colonel Niles wounded, Major Hartshorne was called upon once again to command the regiment. The orders were not to advance beyond the stone wall, but the firing on the left was - so annoying that he was tempted to order an attempt made to capture the Den. It was, however, rapidly growing dark, and the . companies were ordered to shelter themselves behind the wall as best, they might, and obtain what rest was possible before morning should bring with it a renewal of the conflict. Early the next day Major Hartshorne, alive to. the fact that the Rebels posted' in Devil's Den were in position to throw an enfilading fire - Into his men, ordered a small body forward to reconnoiter. "Are Jyou' going to let those fellows pick 'Without exposing any portions of t their bodies, an advantage not pos sessed by their opponents. Utilizing this advantage to the utmost, they poured ii a hot fire. The fire in return Immediately became severe, and as they crept nearer, of an intensity that plainly showed that the enemy was far too strong numerically to be routed by the small force sent against them. The Buck - tails, therefore, staged behind cover, devoting themselves to picking off their antagonists whenever chances offered. At this game they entirely outclassed the Confederates, who, quickly realizing that their numbers , we' being - steadily depleted with out their opponents suffering a compensating loss, left their protection and charged. To stand against such numbers , would have been farcical, so the two companies beat a hasty retreat and succeeded In rejoining the other companies of the regiment behind the stone wall. In tM retreat Captain Bell was so severely wounded in the leg that. the injured limb was afterwards amputated. About noon. Lieutenant Kratzer, with Company K, made another attempt to clear the Den of Confederates. Deploying his men as skirmishers, he charged forward at a run. When but a few feet separated them from their antagonists, the Confederates springing from their cover, greeted them with a murderous fire, while an - officer called on Kratzer to surrender. The answer waa a revolver shot. The Confederate returned the shot, and Kratzer firing again, though wounded In the elbow, killed him. Both parties now took cover; but ; shortly , after as Confederates were preparing to make a general assault en the Union positions Major Hartshorne recalled the company. 1 With the attack on the Union left that had been finally repulsed on the afternoon of the 2nd, by the charge of the Pennsylvania Reserves, the Confederate attack upon that end of the line ceased. An attack was then inaugurated against the Union right both during the afternoon - of the 2nd and the morning of the 3rd; but by II o'clock on the hitter day the effort was proven to be futile. Lee then decided to assault the renter. Preparatory to launching his columns, he shelled the position he intended to assail. From 1 o'clock to 3 o'clock his one hundred and fifteen guns - engaged in a contest with the eighty guns that opposed' therm. General - Jun, !Who had' charge of the Union - artil - elny, realizing that a charge was to follow, then ordered hi guns to Icease firing,, gradually, in order to I make the enemy belteve that he had succeeded in silencing them. A' soon as the artillery became quiet Lee ordered the charge: Pickett's division, supported on the left by Pettigrew's brigade, numbering probably 15,000 men, moved forward as regularly cut though on dress parade, to attack the left centre. As the column reached the plain the Union artillery re - opened, but any gaps made were instant Iv re filled. Two hundred yards away from the Union line, Pettigrew's brigade, upon being heavily assailed, broke, leaving 2,000 prisoners and 15 flags with Hay's division. Still Pickett's division advanced steadily and with such power that it penetrated the Union line, General Armistead, his hand upon a Union gun inside . his opponent's lines, cheering on his men. The victory was short - lived. General Hancock threw into the gap reinforcements and shortlv after ' the rem - inant of the attacking columns recreated across the plain. It is believed that Pickett's division lost 1 75 per cent in killed, wounded and captured. Repulse Closed! Battle ' This repulse is generally looked upon as closing the three days' battle; but, at about 5 o'clock the First brigade of the division of Pennsylvania Reserves was put in motion. General Meade, who was standing upon Little Round Top, was annoyed, not only by sharpshooters, but by a battery posted beond the wheat - field. Hence General Sykes ordered General Crawford to advance and clear out the woods. The First brigade, with which the Eleventh regiment was still acting, was accordingly formed by Colonel McCandless, the Sixth regiment advancing through the woods on the left to drive out the . enemy's skirmishers. Then right through the open field the regiments charged. The Rehei battery opened fire, but as the brigade approached, turned and fled. Wheeling his men, so as to face to the left, McCandlesS then, ordered his regiments to advance once more.. Again the' line swept forwurd, and though attacking a much superior force, drove the enemy before them. One brig. r mp onienerares, uenerai George T. Anderson's Georgians, had taken position behind a stonewall, made stronger by rails and logs. The brigade dashed around their flank, taking over 200 prisoners, while Sergeant James - B. Thompson, of Company U of the Buektails, captured the flag of the Fifteenth Georgia. The enemy retreated a mile, and thus the brigade, probably firing the last shots of the battle, had re - won all the ground lost on the ivri by other troops on the previous day. Their position flanked Devil's Den so completely that it wus abandoned by the enemy, and during the evening some of the men entered it and examined it with curiosity. In the charge the brigade - cuptured one 12 - pounder Napoleon gun, three caissons, seven thousand stand of arms and over two hundred prisoners. The brigade occupied the position woii till noon of the 4th, when, relieved by fresh troops, it moved buck to the stone wall. Excepting for this movement resulting in the evacuation of Devil's Den, the defeat of Pickett's charge marked the close 6f the battle. Lee, with his shattered forces, prepared to retreat towards Virginia, commencing the retrotcarde movement on the 4th. . Bucktalla Lm Is 4s The Bucktuil loss ut Gettysburg totalled 48. Two officers were killed and eight wounded. Of the enlisted men five were killed: thirtu - nn wounded and two missing. One of tne Killed was P. G. Ellithorpe, who enlisted In Company I, from Mc - Keun county, on Muy 30, 1861. and who Is undoubtedly a for - bear of some of the Ellithoroea residing In Kane at the present time. Among me seriously wounded was Capl. Frank Bell, of Smethnort. who r. crulted the first 22 men In that community for servk - e in Company i. lie was Ihe company's first lieutenant and before the end of the war was promoted to a major. Other members of Company I who t -

Clipped from
  1. The Kane Republican,
  2. 02 Jul 1938, Sat,
  3. Page 2

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  • Bucktails Defense of Little Round Top Retold 1938 p2

    oldisbest – 28 Dec 2013

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