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1863 words of confidence and reliance that had been showered
upon us by the loyal people of Maryland, whose generous hospitality had met us at every turn of the road, perhaps the closing paragraph of this order might arouse his sluggish nature to duty. The fact is that the soldiers of the Army of the Potomac needed no incentive of this kind; it had fought desperately before, when success would have been achieved if the skill of its commanders had been equal to the valor of the men.
When we were dismissed, the merits of this circular were freely discussed, and the boys were pretty generally of the opinion that the sting conveyed in the closing paragraph was undeserved and unnecessary to an army with a record for fighting such as the Army of the Potomac had won. Later on, the boys thought it would be rather a good idea for the rank and file to issue a manifesto to the commander, expressing the hope that he would show more ability and judgment than his predecessors had shown when conducting a great battle, and above all, avoid issuing appeals or circulars reflecting the slightest doubt on the courage of the men.
“ Nelson expects every man to do his duty !” were the only words of that great commander to his men, and they did their duty and did it nobly. It is often within the power of a commander to inspire his men to great deeds by words of confidence in their courage and ability, — not by intimidation.
The First Corps was composed, like other corps, of three divisions ; each division taking its turn in marching at the head of the column, as brigades also do in their respective divisions.
The First, Third, and Fifth Corps were under the immediate command of General Reynolds. The First was at Marsh Creek, the Eleventh at Emmitsburg, and the Third at Taneytown, under orders to relieve the Eleventh Corps at Emmitsburg.
درمورددا و اداران۱۲
ACCORDING to the official report of our adjutant, we Wednesday, started from the camp at Marsh Creek at 6 A.M. for July 1.
Gettysburg, under no pressure of haste.
One could scarcely imagine a more peaceful scene than this lovely valley through which the road wound its way to Gettysburg. The slight shower which we encountered shortly after starting, disappeared, having washed the dust from every blade of grass and from the leaves of every tree; the sun shone brightly and the air was fragrant with woodland odors. On either side of the road were thrifty farms, whose ample crops had already begun to show the effects of the summer sun.
As we approached the town of Gettysburg, we saw on our right the two round tops, as yet unknown to fame, though soon to be inscribed on the indelible page of history; while still farther along we passed the “peach orchard” where the Third Corps so bravely fought on the following day.
As the brigade moved leisurely along, the Thirteenth on the right, we at last came in sight of the church-steeples of Gettysburg to the north of us, when we halted near a house for a rest, the men scattering themselves on the grass or searching for water, as their comfort suggested. During this time the sound of firing was plainly heard from beyond the town, but as yet we knew not what it meant. Presently a staff officer came galloping up in great haste, making anxious inquiries for General Robinson, an l with great excitement gave orders to hurry forward all troops. Immediately “ Attention ! " and “ Fall in" were heard all along the road, and without delay we started for the front in quick time.
Within a mile of the town, not far from the Codori house, we turned from the road, pursuing a northwesterly course across the
1863 fields, afterwards made famous by Pickett's charge, to the
westerly side of the Lutheran Seminary on Seminary Ridge, where we arrived about 11 o'clock, immediately forming in line of battle facing to the west, while the first division of the corps was already engaged near the Mummasburg road to the north of us. As we approached the Seminary, news was received that General Reynolds was killed, whereupon we involuntarily quickened our step. By an order from General Doubleday we proceeded at once, with vigor and haste, to throw up earthworks, which became very useful to others before the day was over.
While we were on Seminary Ridge, spent cannon-balls could occasionally be seen rolling slowly along the earth from the battle-ground to the north of us. Such a sight was common enough during battles, as every soldier knows, and once in a while a man was seen who was foolish enough to try stopping one. While we were busy with our earthworks, such an incident happened close to us. One of our officers saw a soldier of a Wisconsin regiment, with great glee, boldly put out his heel to stop a ball that was rolling toward him, supposing it to be the easiest thing in the world to do. Those who saw his purpose yelled with all their might; but it was too late, for when their remonstrances reached his ear his leg was off. The poor fellow cried like a child to think he had lost his leg in such a manner, when, as he said, he would gladly have lost it in action. It was pitiable to see his grief as he exclaimed, “I shall always be ashamed to say how I lost it.” It is so difficult for a person unacquainted with the fact to appreciate the latent force in a cannon-ball as it rolls innocently along the ground, that old soldiers took pains to caution new recruits about the danger of attempting to stop one with the foot.
In about half an hour after our arrival on Seminary Ridge, orders were received to move to the front, whereupon we filed round the front of the building, then east a short distance to the bed of an unfinished railroad, then north and north-west to an oak grove near the Mummasburg road, where we were faced, at first, to the north-west in line of battle. As we came into position we saw the rebel line advancing by brigades formed en masse. The work of our division now