Gettysburg by Iain C. Martin

Gettysburg by Iain C. Martin

Author:Iain C. Martin
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Published: 2012-12-31T16:00:00+00:00


HOOD AND MCLAWS ATTACK THE WHEAT FIELD

At the center of the Third Corps’ line was a twenty-acre wheat field owned by famer John Rose. Colonel Régis de Trobriand commanded a brigade in Sickles’s Third Corps assigned to defend this key piece of terrain. It was here alongside the Peach Orchard and the Rose Woods to the west that the Confederates struck, attempting to force their way past the Third Corps and onto Cemetery Ridge, which lay beyond. Trobriand remembered the attack:

A burst of cheering, followed immediately by a violent musketry fire, told us that the rebels were charging across the ravine ... I had then but two regiments in line of battle, and a third prolonging my line as skirmishers, when the avalanche rolled upon me. Hold on there, hard and firm! There is no reserve!

It was a hard fight. The Confederates appeared to have the devil in them ... On the other side, my men did not flinch ... Like veterans, accustomed to make the best of every resource, they sheltered themselves behind the rocks and trunks of trees which were on the line, and when their assailants descended into the ravine and crossed the creek they were received, at a distance of twenty yards, with a deadly volley, every shot of which was effective.

The assault broken, those who were on the opposite slope began a rapid fire at a range still very short. On both sides, each one aimed at his man, and, notwithstanding every protection from the ground, men fell dead and wounded with frightful rapidity. The persistent pressure of the attack showed clearly that we had a contest with superior forces. If they had attacked us entirely with bayonet, we would have been swept away.

So we maintained our hold; but my line was melting away in its position. It seemed to me that nearly half were struck down ... Our position was no longer tenable; our ammunition was nearly exhausted, and already some of the men were searching the cartridge boxes of the dead for ammunition, when, at last, a brigade of the Second Corps came to relieve us ...

The enemy, profiting by our movement in retreat, had advanced into the wheat field, on the edge of which I rallied what remained to me of the 5th Michigan and 110th Pennsylvania. General Birney, who was near, immediately brought into line of battle the 17 th Maine and a New Jersey regiment of Burling’s brigade. I hastened to complete the line with troops I had at hand, and we charged through the wheat field, driving the rebels back to the other side of the stone wall. It was the first charge of the day on that ground which saw so many more before night. It was also the last effort of my brigade.



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