The Sun

Vol., Liv -- No. 5] Baltimore, Monday Morning, July 6, 1863 [price One Cent.

The Battle Of Gettysburg.

Highly Interesting Details Of The Fight On Thursday.

June 25, 2000

A correspondent of the New York Herald furnishes the following interesting account of the desperate battle at Gettysburg on Thursday last:

The Position of the Rebels.

General Reynolds, it seems more and more clear, fought rashly on Wednesday, and very probably against the wishes of the commander of the army; yet this battle, which lost us many men, gave us full information of the where-abouts of the enemy's main body, and committed the enemy to the position north of Gettysburg, or perhaps led him to believe that we had a greater force in his front than we had, and so made him fear to make any such considerable movement as would be necessary to take up a new position in presence of this army. At Gettysburg all the good roads in this part of the country converge. All the other roads, except those that meet here, are mere byways for the use of the neighborhood, narrow and soon cut up, and thus rendered unfit for the use of an army. Northward from Gettysburg run roads to Harrisburg, and southward from it run three good roads, the principal and best of which is the Baltimore turn-pike. For any movement towards it own border, therefore, the possession of these roads which run to the south was necessary to the Southern army, and these roads once in our possession the position of the Southern army became critical; for should Lee attempt to retire by any other roads than these, we should have a shorter line to any point on his route, and could consequently hit him wherever we might choose; while if he should right us without these roads and win, he would win, but little more than a way to get out, and if decisively beaten his defeat would be very disastrous.

Massing the Federal Troops.

General Meade, therefore, began from the first to mass his forces in such a manner as would enable him to hold these roads to the best advantage. South of the town the country is generally hilly; but there are three hills that deserve special mention, as they form the points on which our line is drawn - Cemetery bill, in the southern edge of the town; a nameless hill half a mile to the east of the Cemetery hill, and Sugar Loaf hill, directly south of Cemetery hill and about two miles distant from it. Between Cemetery hill and Sugar Loaf hill the country is open and level, and our men in that position faced directly west from Cemetery hill to the nameless one; we faced to the north, and between the latter and Sugar Loaf hill you looked to the southeast. Our position was there a somewhat irregular triangle, and its peculiarity was that, practically, it had no flanks; for in case of necessity the line could have swept around so that the extreme right and left would meet on the turn-pike. Our line from Cemetery hill to the right was a rocky ridge, very thickly wooded; and here, during the early part of the day, some defenses were constructed under the direction of Generals Williams and Geary, of the Twelfth corps, which was posted at this place. Though many of those who helped to construct those defenses thought that they would, like countless others, amount to very little when the fight came, they proved eventually to be the utmost value.

Gen. Steinwehr occupied Cemetery Hill, which commands the town, while the fight raged on Wednesday, and at the close of that day's battle the remnants of the First and Eleventh corps were posted there and a little down the line to the right and left, and there they remained on Thursday at the commencement of the second battle. On the open country to our left lay the Second and Third corps, and the Fifth was so massed as to fill up the third line. The Sixth was put near to the Fifth when it came up.

Our Batteries.

On Cemetery Hill we had several batteries, and, indeed, every point that could possibly command a fire was crowned with a batter, for, in addition to the guns regularly attached to the corps, we had up the reserve artillery. Throughout the wide extent of the fields enclosed within our lines ambulances and ammunition trains were parked everywhere, and it proved that they were all under fire, for the field of fire of the rebel guns opposite our right met that of the rebel guns opposite our left, in this enclosed space, and shells exploded everywhere, and round shot hustled through the air in every direction.

The Situation of Thursday Morning.

After what had taken place on Wednesday, and with the knowledge of the force that had come up, there was good reason to believe, and all in camp did believe, that the day would be ushered in with the noise of battle. Day broke in quiet, however, and breakfast was taken in ease. Now and then there were little disputes between the enemy's pickets and ours in the streets of the town, for we held part and they part, and sometimes a gun in one of our batteries would send an experimental shell towards the enemy's lines. The enemy, through all this kept marvelously shy with his artillery, and did not fire a shot, which, it was thought, indicated a want of heavy ammunition.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.