Original Document
Original Document
Report of Lieut. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, June 3-August 1, 1863.

––– –, 1863.

Col. R. H. Chilton
Assistant Adjutant and Inspector General

COLONEL: The Second Corps, at the time of leaving Hamilton's Crossing (June 4). comprised the following troops:
The division of Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early, containing the brigades of Brig. Gens. H. T. Hays (Louisiana), J. B. Gordon (Georgia), William Smith (Virginia), and R. F. Hoke (North Carolina), temporarily commanded by Colonel [I.E.] Avery, of the Sixth North Carolina, in the absence of General Hoke, from wounds received at the battle of Fredericksburg, May 4. To this division was attached Lieut. Col. H. P. Jones' battalion of light artillery.

The division of Maj. Gen. Edward Johnson, containing the brigades of Brig. Gens. George H. Steuart (Virginia and North Carolina), James A. Walker (Stonewall, Virginia), John M. Jones (Virginia), and F. T. Nicholls (Louisiana), temporarily commanded by Col. J. M. Williams, of the Second Louisiana Regiment, in the absence of General Nicholls, from wounds received at the battle of Chancellorsville. To this division was attached Lieut. Col. R. Snowden Andrews' battalion of light artillery.

The division of Maj. Gen. Robert E. Rodes, containing the brigades of Brig. Gens. Junius Daniel (North Carolina), George Doles (Georgia), A. Iverson and S. D. Ramseur (North Carolina), and Rodes' (Alabama) brigade, commanded by Col. Edward A. O'Neal, of the Twenty-Sixth Alabama Regiment. To this division was attached Lieut. Col. Thomas H. Carter's battalion of light artillery.

Lieut. Col. William Nelson's battalion and five batteries of the First Virginia Artillery, under Col. J. Thompson Brown, acting chief of artillery, in the absence of Col. S. Crutchfield, from wounds received in the battle of Chancellorsville, May 2, formed the artillery reserve of the corps.


Marching via Verdierville and Somerville Ford, the corps reached Culpeper on June 7.

On the 9th, the enemy being reported to have crossed the Rappahannock in force, I moved my corps, by direction of the general commanding, to General Stuart's support, but on reaching Brandy Station with General Rodes' division, found the enemy already retiring.

Resuming the march on the 10th, we passed by Gaines' Cross-Roads, Flint Hill, and Front Royal, arriving at Cedarville on the 12th. At this point I detached General Rodes division, together with General Jenkins' cavalry brigade, which here reported to me, to capture, if possible, a force of 1,800 men, under Colonel [A. T.] McReynolds, reported at Berryville, and thence to press on to Martinsburg. With the remaining two divisions and the Sixteenth Virginia Cavalry Battalion [Regiment], Major [James H.] Nounnan), of Jenkins' brigade, I proceeded to attack Winchester. From all the information I could gather, the fortifications of Winchester were only assailable on the west and northwest, from a range of hills which commanded the ridge occupied by their main fortifications. The force there was represented at from 6,000 to 8,000, under General Milroy.

On the 13th, I sent Early's division and Colonel Brown's artillery battalion (under Captain [W. J.] Dance), to Newtown, on the Valley pike, where they were joined by the [First] Maryland Infantry Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel [J. R.] Herbert, and the Baltimore Light Artillery, Captain [W. H.] Griffin. General Early was directed to advance toward the town by the Valley pike.

The same day Johnson's division, preceded by Nounnan's cavalry, drove in the enemy's pickets on the Front Royal and Winchester road, and formed line of battle 2 miles from town, preparatory to an attack. After some skirmishing, the enemy opened from a battery near the Millwood road, and [J. C.] Carpenter's battery, Lieutenant [W. T.] Lambie commanding, was placed by Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews to the left of the Front Royal road, and opened vigorously, soon driving off the opposing battery and blowing up a caisson. This drew upon our battery a heavy fire from twelve or fifteen pieces in and near the town, but beyond the range of our guns.

About 5 pm. General Early had a pretty sharp skirmish with the enemy's infantry and artillery near Kernstown, Gordon's brigade, supported by Hays', driving them at a run as far as Milltown Mills. Here Early, coming within range of the enemy's fortifications, halted for the night. Before morning, the enemy withdrew all their artillery into their fortifications from Bowers' Hill and the south and east sides of the town. On examining the enemy's fortifications from General Johnson's position, I found they had put up works on the hills I had intended gaining possession of, and were busy strengthening them.

Having reconnoitered with General Early from Bowers' Hill (9 a.m. on the 14th), I coincided with his views as to the best point of attack, and directed him to move his main force to the left, and carry by assault one of the works above mentioned, a small, open work on a commanding hill near the Pughtown road, which overlooked the main fort.

About 11 a.m., finding there was no danger of a sortie, and seeing the enemy fortifying a hill north of their main fort, I directed General Johnson to move to the east of the town, and interfere with their work as much as possible, and so divert attention from General Early. He accordingly took up position between the Millwood and Berryville pikes, and threw forward the Fifth Virginia, under Lieut. Col. H. J.Williams, as skirmishers, who annoyed the enemy so as to force them to leave off work and effectually to engross their attention. General Gordon's brigade and Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert's Maryland battalion, with two batteries, were left by General Early at Bowers Hill, and pushed their skirmishers into Winchester, who were recalled for fear of drawing the enemy's fire on the town.

By 4 p.m. General Early had attained, undiscovered, a wooded hill (one of the range known as Little North Mountain) near the Pughtown road, on the south side of which an orchard and on the north a corn-field afforded excellent positions for artillery in easy range of the work to be attacked–a bastion, front open toward the town. Hays' brigade was designated for the assault, and Smith's for its support, and about 6 o'clock Colonel Jones ran his pieces and those of the First Virginia Artillery, under Captain Dance, forward by hand into position, and opened simultaneously from twenty guns, completely surprising the enemy, whose entire attention at this point was engrossed by Gordon.

In half an hour their battery was silenced, Jones' artillery firing excellently. General Hays moved quietly to within 200 yards of their work, when our guns ceased firing, and he charged through an abatis of brushwood, and captured the Work, taking six rifled pieces, two of which were at once turned upon and dispersed the columns that the enemy were endeavoring to form to recapture it. Two works to the left of the one taken were immediately abandoned, their defenders retreating to the main fort. It was by this time too late to do more than prepare to improve this important advantage promptly in the morning. This result established the correctness of General Early's views as to the point of attack, and rendered the main fort untenable.

Accordingly, anticipating the possibility of the enemy's attempting to retreat during the night, I ordered General Johnson, with the Stonewall, Nicholls', and three regiments of Steuart's brigades, and [W. F.] Dement's battery, with sections of [Charles I.] Raine's and [J. C.] Carpenter's (the whole under Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews), to proceed to a point on the Martinsburg pike about 24 miles from Winchester, so as to intercept any attempt to retreat, or to be ready to attack at daylight if the enemy held their ground.

Finding the road to this point very rough, General Johnson concluded to march, via Jordan Springs, to Stephenson's Depot, where the nature of the ground would give him a strong position. Just as the head of his column reached the railroad, 200 yards from the Martinsburg road, the enemy were heard retreating down the pike towards Martinsburg. Forming line parallel with the pike behind a stone wall, Steuart on the right and the Louisiana brigade on the left (1,200 men in all), and posting the artillery favorably, he was immediately attacked by Milroy with all his force of infantry and cavalry, his artillery having been abandoned at the town, the enemy making repeated and desperate efforts to cut their way through. Here was the hardest fighting which took place during the attack, the odds being greatly in favor of the enemy, who were successfully repulsed and scattered by the gallantry of General Johnson and his brave command.

After several front attacks had been steadily met and repulsed, they attempted to turn both flanks simultaneously, but were met on the right by General Walker and his brigade, which had just arrived on the field (having been left behind by a mistake), and on the left by two regiments of Nicholls' brigade, which had been held in reserve. In a few minutes the greater part of them surrendered, 2,300 to 2,500 in number. The rest scattered through the woods and fields, but most of them were subsequently captured by our cavalry. General Milroy, with 250 or 300 cavalry, made his way to Harper's Ferry.

The fruits of this victory were 23 pieces of artillery (nearly all rifled), 4,000 prisoners, 300 loaded wagons, more than 300 horses, and quite a large amount of commissary and quartermaster's stores.

My loss was 47 killed, 219 wounded, and 3 missing; aggregate, 269. Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews, who handled his artillery with great skill and effect in the engagement of the 15th, was wounded just at the close of the action.


General Rodes encamped near Stone Bridge, on the road to Millwood, on the night of June 12, and, moving on next morning toward Berryville, his infantry were met by a detachment of Yankee cavalry before reaching Millwood. Finding himself discovered, he pushed on rapidly, but before reaching Berryville the enemy's infantry had retreated on the Charlestown road, holding Jenkins at bay for awhile with their artillery, which was withdrawn as soon as ours came up. Turning off by the road to Summit Point, the enemy retreated to Winchester. After securing the small amount of supplies at Berryville, General Rodes, sending Jenkins in pursuit, followed with his infantry to Summit Point, where he encamped. Jenkins failed from some cause to overtake the enemy.

Late on the 14th, General Rodes came to Martinsburg, before reaching which place Jenkins drove the enemy from some barricaded houses at Bunker Hill, capturing 75 or 100 prisoners. At Martinsburg, General Rodes found the enemy's infantry and artillery in position before the town. He immediately sent Jenkins' cavalry to the left and rear of the place, and, putting some of Carter's artillery in position, drove off the opposing battery, which retreated toward Williamsport, so closely pursued by Jenkins' dismounted cavalry and two squadrons mounted that they were forced to abandon five out of their six guns, and many prisoners were taken. The infantry fled by way of Shepherdstown, a fact not known for some hours, which, together with the darkness, will account for their escape. The enemy destroyed many of the stores at Martinsburg, but 6,000 bushels of grain and a few quartermaster's and commissary stores fell into our hands.

The results of this expedition were 5 pieces of artillery, 200 prisoners, and quartermaster's and subsistence stores in some quantity.

General Rodes mentions with commendation the conduct of Major [J. W.] Sweeney, of Jenkins' brigade, wounded in charging the enemy's rear near the Opequon, as they retreated to Winchester from Berryville.


I sent notice to General Rodes of Milroy's escape, but he was not in position to intercept him, Jenkins' cavalry being already (10 a.m. 15th) on the Potomac, near Williamsport. The same evening, General Rodes crossed at Williamsport with three brigades, sending Jenkins forward to Chambersburg, and on the 19th moved his division by my orders to Hagerstown, where he encamped on the road to Boonsborough, while Johnson crossed to Sharpsburg, and Early moved to Shepherdstown, to threaten Harper's Ferry.

In these positions we waited until June 21 for the other two corps to close up, on the afternoon of which day I received orders from the general commanding to take Harrisburg, and next morning (22d) Rodes and Johnson marched toward Greencastle, Pa. Jenkins reoccupied Chambersburg, whence he had fallen back some days before, and Early moved by Boonsborough to Cavetown, where the Seventeenth Virginia Cavalry (Colonel [William H.] French) reported, and remained with him till the battle of Gettysburg.

Continuing our march, we reached Carlisle on the 27th, halting one day at Chambersburg to secure supplies. The marching was as rapid as the weather and the detours made by Major-General Early and Brigadier-General Steuart would admit. Early having marched parallel with us as far as Greenwood, then turned off toward Gettysburg and York. At Carlisle, General George H. Steuart, who had been detached to McConnellsburg from Greencastle, rejoined the corps, bringing some cattle and horses. At Carlisle, Chambersburg, and Shippensburg, requisitions were made for supplies, and the shops were searched, many valuable stores being secured. At Chambersburg, a train was loaded with ordnance and medical stores and sent back. Near 3,000 head of cattle were collected and sent back by my corps, and my chief commissary of subsistence, Major [W. J.] Hawks, notified Colonel [R. G.] Cole of the location of 5,000 barrels of flour along the route traveled by the command.

From [Carlisle] I sent forward my engineer, Captain [H. B.] Richardson, with General Jenkins' cavalry, to reconnoitre the defenses of Harrisburg, and was starting on the 29th for that place when ordered by the general commanding to join the main body of the army at Cashtown, near Gettysburg. Agreeably to the views of the general commanding, I did not burn Carlisle Barracks.


Col. E. V. White's cavalry battalion reported to me at Chambersburg, and was sent to General Early, then at Greenwood. Arriving at Cashtown, General Early sent Gordon's brigade with White's cavalry, direct to Gettysburg, taking the rest of the division on the Mummasburg road. In front of Gettysburg, White charged and routed the Twenty-sixth Regiment Pennsylvania Militia, of whom 170 were taken and paroled. From Gettysburg, Gordon, with Tanner's battery and White's battalion, was sent on the direct road to York, and General Early moved in the direction of Dover with the rest of the division.

On approaching York, General Gordon met the mayor and a deputation of citizens, who made a formal surrender of the place.

Pushing on, by order of General Early, to Wrightsville, on the Susquehanna, he found 1,200 militia strongly intrenched, but without artillery. A few shots drove them across the magnificent railroad bridge, a mile and a quarter long, which they burned as they retreated over it. The little town of Wrightsville caught fire from the bridge, and General Gordon, setting his brigade to work, succeeded in extinguishing the flames. Yet he is accused by the Federal press of having set fire to the town.

General Early levied a contribution on the citizens of York, obtaining, among other things, $28,600 in United States currency, the greater part of which was turned over to Colonel [J. L.] Corley, chief quartermaster, Army of Northern Virginia; 1,000 hats, 1,200 pairs of shoes, and 1,000 pairs of socks were also obtained here.


On the night of June 30, Rodes' division, which I accompanied, was at Heidlersburg; Early 3 miles off, on the road to Berlin, and Johnson, with Colonel Brown's reserve artillery, between Green Village and Scotland. At Heidlersburg, I received orders from the general commanding to proceed to Cashtown or Gettysburg, as circumstances might dictate, and a note from General A. P. Hill, saying-he was at Cashtown.

Next morning, I moved with Rodes' division toward Cashtown, ordering Early to follow by Hunterstown. Before reaching Middletown, I received notice from General Hill that he was advancing upon Gettysburg, and turned the head of Rodes' column toward that place, by the Middletown road, sending word to Early to advance directly on the Heidlersburg road. I notified the general commanding of my movements, and was informed by him that, in case we found the enemy's force very large, he did not want a general engagement brought on till the rest of the army came up.

By the time this message reached me, General A. P. Hill had already been warmly engaged with a large body of the enemy in his front, and Carter's artillery battalion, of Rodes' division, had opened with fine effect on the flank of the same body, which was rapidly preparing to attack me, while fresh masses were moving into position in my front. It was too late to avoid an engagement without abandoning the position already taken up, and I determined to push the attack vigorously. General Rodes had drawn up his division, Iverson's brigade on the right, Rodes' (old) brigade (Colonel O'Neal) in the center (these two on the ridge leading to the west of Gettysburg), and Doles on the left, in the plain. The Fifth Alabama was retained by General Rodes, to guard a wide gap left between O'Neal and Doles. Daniel and Ramseur were in reserve. He at once moved forward, and, after advancing for some distance in line, came in sight of the enemy, and O'Neal and Iverson were ordered to attack, Daniel advancing in line 200 yards in rear of Iverson's right, to protect that flank.

At this time, only desultory artillery firing was going on on the rest of the field. Carter was warmly engaged. O'Neal's brigade, advancing in some disorder in a direction different from that indicated by Major-General Rodes in person to Colonel O'Neal, and with only three regiments (the Third Alabama being by some mistake left with Daniel's brigade), was soon forced to fall back, notwithstanding the Fifth Alabama was sent to its support. The left of Iverson's brigade was thus exposed, but these gallant troops obstinately stood their ground till the greater part of three regiments had fallen where they stood in line of battle. A few of them, being entirely surrounded, were taken prisoners: a few escaped.

The unfortunate mistake of General Iverson at this critical juncture in sending word to Major-General Rodes that one of his regiments had raised the white flag and gone over to the enemy might have produced the most disastrous consequences. The Twelfth North Carolina, being on the right of his brigade, suffered least. A slight change in the advance of General Iverson had uncovered the whole of Daniel's front, and he found himself opposed to heavy bodies of infantry, whom he attacked and drove before him till he reached a railroad cut extending diagonally across his front and past his right flank, which checked his advance. A battery of the enemy beyond this cut near a barn enfiladed his line, and fresh bodies of infantry poured across the cut a destructive enfilade and reverse fire. Seeing some troops of the Third Corps lying down beyond the railroad, in front of the enemy, who were on his flank, General Daniel sent an officer to get them? advance. As they would not, he was obliged - leaving the Forty-fifth North Carolina and Second North Carolina Battalion to hold his line - to change the front of the rest of his brigade to the rear, and throw part across the railroad beyond the cut, where, having formed line directly in front of the troops of the Third Corps already mentioned, he ordered an advance of his whole brigade, and gallantly swept the field, capturing several hundred prisoners in the cut.

About the time of his final charge, Ramseur, with his own and Rodes' brigades, and remnants of Iverson's, under Capt. D. P. Halsey, assistant adjutant-general of the brigade, who rallied the brigade and assumed command, had restored the line in the center.

Meantime an attempt by the enemy to push a column into the interval between Doles and O'Neal had been handsomely repulsed by Doles, who, changing front with his two right regiments, took them in flank, driving them in disorder toward the town.

All of General Rodes' troops were now engaged. The enemy were moving large bodies of troops from the town against his left, and affairs were in a very critical condition, when Major-General Early, coming up on the Heidlersburg road, opened a brisk artillery fire upon large columns moving against Doles' left, and ordered forward Gordon's brigade to the left of Doles', which, after an obstinate contest, broke Barlow's division, captured General [F. C.] Barlow, and drove the whole back on a second line, when they were halted, and General Early ordered up Hays' and Hoke's brigades on Gordon's left, and the three drove the enemy precipitately toward and through the town just as Ramseur broke those in his front.

General Gordon mentions that 300 of the enemy's dead were left on the ground passed over by his brigade. The enemy had entirely abandoned the north end of the town, and Early entering by the York Railroad at the same time that Rodes came in on the Cashtown road, they together captured over 4,000 prisoners and three pieces of artillery, two of which fell into the hands of Early's division. So far as I can learn, no other troops than those of this corps entered the town at all. My loss on this day was less than 2,900 killed, wounded, and missing.

The enemy had fallen back to a commanding position known as Cemetery Hill, south of Gettysburg, and quickly showed a formidable front there. On entering the town, I received a message from the commanding general to attack this hill, if I could do so to advantage. I could not bring artillery to bear on it, and all the troops with me were jaded by twelve hours' marching and fighting, and I was notified that General Johnson's division (the only one of my corps that had not been engaged) was close to the town.

Cemetery Hill was not assailable from the town, and I determined, with Johnson's division, to take possession of a wooded hill to my left, on a line with and commanding Cemetery Hill. Before Johnson got up, the enemy was reported moving to outflank our extreme left, and I could see that seemed to be his skirmishers in that direction.

Before this report could be investigated by Lieut. T. T. Turner, aide-de-camp of my staff, and Lieut. Robert D. Early, sent for that purpose, and Johnson placed in position, the night was far advanced.

I received orders soon after dark to draw my corps to the right, in case it could not be used to advantage where it was; that the commanding general thought from the nature of the ground that the position for attack was a good one on that side. I represented to the commanding general that the hill above referred to was unoccupied by the enemy, as reported by Lieutenants Turner and Early, who had gone upon it, and that it commanded their position and made it untenable, so far as I could judge.

He decided to let me remain, and on my return to my headquarters, after 12 o'clock at night, I sent orders to Johnson by Lieut. T. T. Turner, aide-de-camp, to take possession of this hill, if he had not already done so. General Johnson stated in reply to this order, that after forming his line of battle this side of the wooded hill in question, he had sent a reconnoitering party to the hill, with orders to report as to the position of the enemy in reference to it. This party, on nearing the summit, was met by a superior force of the enemy, which succeeded in capturing a portion of the reconnoitering party, the rest of it making its escape. During this conversation with General Johnson, one man arrived, bringing a dispatch, dated at 12 midnight, and taken from a Federal courier making his way from General Sykes to General Slocum, in which the former stated that his corps was then halted 4 miles from Gettysburg, and he would resume his march at 4 a.m. Lieutenant Turner brought this dispatch to my headquarters, and at the same time stated that General Johnson would refrain from attacking the position until I had received notice of the fact that the enemy were in possession of the hill, and had sent him further orders. Day was now breaking, and it was too late for any change of place.

Meantime orders had come from the general commanding for me to delay my attack until I heard General Longstreet's guns open on the right. Lieutenant Turner at once returned to General Johnson, and delivered these instructions, directing him to be ready to attack, Early being already in line on the left and Rodes on the right of the main street of the town, Rodes' line extending out on the Fairfield road.

Early in the morning, I received a communication from the commanding general, the tenor of which was that he intended the main attack to be made by the First Corps, on our right, and wished me, as soon as their guns opened, to make a diversion in their favor, to be converted into a real attack if an opportunity offered.

I made the necessary preparations, and about 5 p.m., when General Longstreet's guns opened, General Johnson commenced a heavy cannonade from Andrews' battalion and [Archibald] Graham's battery, the whole under Major [J. W.] Latimer, against the Cemetery Hill.

After an hour's firing, finding that his guns were overpowered by the greater number and superior position of the enemy's batteries, Major Latimer withdrew all but one battery, which he kept to repel any infantry advance. While with this battery, this gallant young officer received, from almost the last shell fired, the wound which has since resulted in his death. Colonel Brown says justly of that calamity, "No greater loss could have befallen the artillery of this fire, showing when most needed the full possession of all his faculties." Though not twenty-one when he fell, his soldierly qualities had impressed me as deeply as those of any officer in my command.

Immediately after the artillery firing ceased, which was just before sundown, General Johnson ordered forward his division to attack the wooded hill in his front, and about dusk the attack was made. The enemy were found strongly intrenched on the side of a very steep mountain, beyond a creek with steep banks, only passable here and there. Brig. Gen. J. M. Jones was wounded soon after the attack began, and his brigade, which was on the right with Nicholls' (Louisiana) brigade (under Colonel Williams), was forced back, but Steuart, on the left, took part of the enemy's breastworks, and held them till ordered out at noon next day.

As soon as information reached him that Johnson's attack had commenced, General Early, who held the center of my corps, moved Hays' and Hoke's brigades forward against the Cemetery Hill. Charging over a hill into a ravine, they broke a line of the enemy's infantry posted behind a stone wall, and advanced up the steep face of all other hill, over two lines of breastworks. These brigades captured several batteries of artillery and held them until, finding that no attack was made on the right, and that heavy masses of the enemy were advancing against their front and flank, they reluctantly fell back, bringing away 75 to 100 prisoners and four stand of captured colors. Major-General Rodes did not advance, for reasons given in in his report.

Before beginning my advance, I had sent a staff officer to the division of the Third Corps, on my right, which proved to be General Pender's, to find out what they were to do. He reported the division under command of General Lane, who succeeded Pender, wounded, and who sent word back that the only orders he had received from General Pender were that he was to attack if a favorable opportunity presented. I then wrote to him (it being too late to communicate with the corps commander) that I was about attacking with my corps, and requested that he would co-operate. To this I received no answer, nor do I believe that any advance was made. The want of co-operation on the right made it more difficult for Rodes' division to attack, though, had it been otherwise, I have every reason to believe, from the eminent success attending the assault of Hays and Avery, that the enemy's lines would have been carried.

I was ordered to renew my attack at daylight Friday morning, and as Johnson's position was the only one affording hopes of doing this to advantage, he was re-enforced by Smith's brigade, of Early's division, and Daniel's and Rodes' (old) brigades, of Rodes' division. Just before the time fixed for General Johnson to advance, the enemy attacked him, to regain the works captured by Steuart the evening before. They were repulsed with very heavy loss, and he attacked in turn, pushing the enemy almost to the top of the mountain, where the precipitous nature of the hill and an abatis of logs and stones, with a very heavy work on the crest of the hill, stopped his farther advance.

Half an hour after Johnson attacked, and when too late to recall him, I received notice that Longstreet would not attack until 10 o'clock; but, as it turned out, his attack was delayed till after 2 o'clock. In Johnson's attack, the enemy abandoned a portion of their works in disorder, and, as they ran across an open space to another work, were exposed to the fire of Daniel's brigade at 60 or 70 yards. Our men were at this time under no fire of consequence. Their aim was accurate, and General Daniel thinks that he killed here in half an hour more than in all the rest of his fighting. Repeated reports from the cavalry on our left that the enemy were moving heavy columns of infantry to turn General Johnson's left, at last caused him about 1 p.m. to evacuate the works already gained. These reports reached me also, and I sent Capt. G. C. Brown, of my staff, with a party of cavalry to the left, to investigate them, who found them to be without foundation, and General Johnson finally took up a position about 300 yards in rear of the works he had abandoned, which he held, under a cross-fire of artillery and exposed to the enemy's sharpshooters, until dark. At night my corps fell back, as ordered, to the range of hills west of the town, taken by us on Wednesday, where we remained unmolested during July 4.

The behavior of my troops throughout this campaign was beyond praise, whether the points considered be their alacrity and willing endurance of the long marches, their orderly and exemplary conduct in the enemy's country, their bravery in action, or their patient endurance of hunger, fatigue, and exposure during our retreat.

The lists of killed and wounded, as well as the results gained, will show the desperate character of their fighting. In the infantry, Daniel's brigade, of Rodes' division, and in the artillery, Andrews' battalion, of Johnson's division, suffered most loss. The Second North Carolina Battalion, of Daniel's brigade, lost 200 of 240 men, killed and wounded, without yielding an inch of ground at any time.


By order of the commanding general, the Third Corps was to move at dark on July 4, and the First to follow with the prisoners, mine being rear guard. Next day the Third was to take the rear, &c.

At 10 a.m. on the 5th, the other corps were not all in the road, and, consequently, mine did not take up its march till near noon, and only reached Fairfield at 4 p.m. Here the enemy, who had been threatening our rear and occasionally opening a fire of artillery on the rear guard (Gordon's brigade, of Early's division), showed more boldness in attacking, throwing out a line of skirmishers over a mile in length. They were repulsed, and a battery which was shelling our column driven off.

We encamped for the night on a hill 1½ miles west of Fairfield, and next day, July 6, the Third Corps moving by another road, we were still in the rear, Rodes' division acting as rearguard, and repelling another attack of the enemy. The Forty-fifth North Carolina, Daniel's brigade, under Captain [James A.] Hopkins, being summoned to surrender, attacked the troops making the summons, and drove them out of a wood in which they were posted. The enemy did not follow much beyond Fairfield. The road was again blocked till noon. That night we encamped near Waynesborough, and reached Hagerstown about noon of July 7.

On the 11th, we were moved into line between Hagerstown and Williamsport, our right joining the left of the Third Corps, and began fortifying, and in a short time my men were well protected. Their spirit was never better than at this time, and the wish was universal that the enemy would attack.

On the night of the 14th, I was ordered with my infantry and artillery to ford at Williamsport, the ammunition-chests going in the ferry-boats. I could find no ferry-boats, nor any one in charge; it was dark and raining. The entrance to the river would have been impracticable for artillery in daylight, and, as well as I could ascertain, the exit was worse. Everything was in confusion. Colonel Corley, chief quartermaster Army of Northern Virginia, who had charge of the arrangements, recommended Colonel Brown, my chief of artillery, to cross by the pontoons, and sent to the same point my reserve train of ambulances with wounded, originally intended to cross by the ferry-boats. Just before midnight, my advance (Rodes' division) commenced crossing. The men had directions to sling their cartridge-boxes over their shoulders, but many rounds of ammunition were necessarily lost, as the water was up to their armpits the whole way across, sometimes deeper. By 8 o'clock my whole corps was over, all fording excepting Hays' brigade, which was sent with the artillery to the pontoons.

While in camp near Darkesville, the enemy, under Kelley, were reported between Martinsburg and Hedgesville, protecting the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and occasionally skirmishing with Johnson's division, which was destroying the track.

General Lee, commanding, directed on the 21st an effort to be made to capture this force, said to be 6,000 strong, sending Early's division to get in rear through Mill's Gap and down Back Creek, while I joined Rodes to Johnson, and marched against their front. Though these movements were made in the night of the 21st, the enemy heard of them through spies, and early on the 22d had retreated out of reach.

The other corps had already marched toward the Blue Ridge, and accordingly we followed, and bivouacked near Winchester, and next day, on reaching Manassas Gap, found Wright's brigade, of Anderson's division, deployed to repel a large body of the enemy who were advancing upon it through the Gap. The insignia of two corps could be seen in the Gawap, and a third was marching up; over 10,000 men were in sight.

The enemy were so close to Wright's brigade that the line of battle had to be chosen some distance in the rear, and accordingly some 250 sharpshooters, of Rodes' division, under Major [Eugene] Blackford, were added to Wright's brigade, to hold the enemy in check while the line was formed. Rodes' (old) brigade, Colonel O'Neal, deployed as skirmishers, formed the first, and the remainder of Rodes' division, with Carter's battalion of artillery, the second line. These dispositions were made by General Rodes with his usual promptness, skill, and judgment. The enemy were held in check for some time by the line of Wright's brigade and the skirmishers under Major Blackford, which they at last drove back with considerable loss to themselves by flanking it. These troops, in full view, showed great gallantry, and though intended merely to make a show, held the enemy back so long and inflicted such loss that they were satisfied not to come within reach of O'Neal, but remained at a safe distance, where they were leisurely shelled by Carter's artillery.

Johnson's division was ordered to take position near the river, to prevent the enemy cutting me off from the ford at Front Royal, and, though not required in action, was promptly in place. Early's division, much jaded, was 15 miles off, near Winchester, and could not possibly reach me before the afternoon of next day.

I had reason to believe that Meade's whole army was in our front, and having but two divisions to oppose him, I decided to send Early up the Valley, by Strasburg and New Market, while I marched the other two divisions up the Page Valley to Luray, the route pursued by Jackson, in 1862, in his campaign against Banks. Johnson's and Rodes' divisions moved back 2 to 4 miles, and encamped near Front Royal, the rear guard, under Col. B. T. Johnson, of Johnson's division, leaving Front Royal after 10 o'clock next day, the enemy making only a slight advance, which was driven back by a few rounds of artillery. Rodes' division, the only troops of my corps that I saw during this affair, showed great eagerness and alacrity to meet the enemy, and, had he advanced, would have given him a severe lesson.

I was indebted for correct and valuable information regarding the strength and movements of the enemy at this point to Capt. W. F. Randolph, commanding cavalry escort attached to my headquarters, and to Captain [R. E.] Wilbourn, of the signal corps.

In this campaign, the loss of my corps was as follows: At Winchester and in the Valley, 47 killed, 219 wounded, and 3 missing; aggregate, 269. At Gettysburg and in Pennsylvania, 883 killed, 3,857 wounded, 1,347 missing; aggregate, 6,094. For the entire campaign, 930 killed, 4,076 wounded, and 1,350 missing; aggregate, 6,356. Before crossing the Potomac, it captured 28 pieces of artillery and about 4,500 prisoners. About 200 prisoners were taken before reaching Gettysburg. At that place over 4,000 prisoners, 3 pieces of artillery, and 4 stand of colors, memorable as having been brought off Cemetery Hill, were the spoils gained, making altogether nearly 9,000 prisoners and 31 pieces of artillery.

The Fifty-fourth North Carolina Regiment of Hoke's brigade, and the Fifty-eighth Virginia Regiment, of Smith's brigade, in Early's division, sent to Staunton from Winchester with prisoners, returned in time to aid General Imboden in repelling the enemy's attack on the wagon trains at Williamsport.

Iverson's brigade, sent back to guard my wagon train from Fairfield, had a handsome affair with the enemy's cavalry at Hagerstown, in which they are reported by General Iverson as killing, wounding, and capturing a number equal to their whole force.

At Winchester, the Maryland battalion was attached to General Steuart's brigade, and the Baltimore Light Artillery to Colonel Brown's battalion, with which they served with their usual gallantry throughout the campaign.

At Gettysburg, July 1, I was much pleased with the conduct of Captain Carter's battery, which came under my immediate observation.

The conduct of Hays' (Louisiana) and Hoke's (North Carolina) brigades (the latter under Colonel Avery) at Cemetery Hill, Gettysburg, was worthy of the highest praise. In this and at Winchester the Louisiana brigade and their gallant commander gave new honor to the name already acquired on the old fields of Winchester and Port Republic, and wherever engaged.

Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews, of the artillery, not fully recovered from his serious wounds received at Cedar Run, was again wounded at Winchester, and, while suffering from his wounds, appeared on the field at Hagerstown, and reported for duty.

The rapid and skillful advance of Gordon's brigade on June 13, near Winchester, with great spirit driving the enemy in confusion toward the town, was one of the finest movements I have witnessed during the war, and won for the troops and their gallant commander the highest commendation. I beg leave to call attention to the gallantry of the following men and officers:


Lieut. John Orr, adjutant Sixth Louisiana, was the first man to mount the enemy's breastworks on the 14th, receiving in the act a bayonet wound in the side. General Early recommends him for captain of cavalry, he being desirous of entering that branch of the service, for which he is eminently qualified.

Lieut. C. S. Contee's section of Dement's battery was placed in short musket-range of the enemy on June 15, and maintained its position till 13 of the 16 men in the two detachments were killed or wounded, when Lieut. John A. Morgan, of the First North Carolina Regiment, and Lieut. R. H. McKim, aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. G. H. Steuart, volunteered and helped to work the guns till the surrender of the enemy. The following are the names of the gallant men belonging to this section: First gun - Sergt. John G. Harris; Corpls. William P. Compton, Samuel Thompson; Privates Robert Chew, William Koester, Charles Pease, A. James Albert, jr., William T. Wootton, John R. Yates, jr., H. J. Langsdale, and John R. Buchanan. Second gun - Sergt. John E. Glascocke; Corpls. William H. May, Charles Harris; Privates Thomas Moore, William Gorman, F. Frayer, William W. Wilson, Samuel Thomas, R. T. Richardson, William Sherburne, James Owens, William Dallam, and Joseph Mockabee.

Colonel Brown, acting chief of artillery, recommends Lieutenant Contee for promotion to the captaincy of the Chesapeake Artillery, vice Capt. W. D. Brown, a most gallant and valuable officer, killed at Gettysburg.

Sergeants [A. L.] East, [William H.] Eades, and [F. D.] Milstead, jr., of Captain Raine's battery, are mentioned for gallantry on the 15th.


Capt. D. P. Halsey, assistant adjutant-general of Iverson's brigade, displayed conspicuous gallantry, and rendered important service in rallying the brigade, which he led in its final attack.

General Rodes speaks of the services rendered by Col. D. H. Christie, North Carolina (mortally wounded July 1), as having been especially valuable. First Lieut. F. M. Harney, Fourteenth North Carolina, while in command of sharpshooters, defeated the One hundred and fiftieth Pennsylvania Regiment, and took their colors with his own hand, falling, mortally wounded, soon after.
Capt. A. H. Gallaway, Forty-fifth North Carolina, recaptured the flag of the Twentieth North Carolina, of Iverson's brigade.

Sergt. Thomas J. Betterton, Company A, Thirty-seventh Virginia, took a stand of colors, and was dangerously wounded.

Private W. H. Webb, orderly to General Johnson, remained on the field after being severely wounded. General Johnson says, "His conduct entitles him to a commission."
The following non-commissioned officers and privates are honorably mentioned for gallantry: Sergeant [P. B.] Grier, Company B; Sergeant [G. W.] Wills, Company D, Forty-third North Carolina; Sergeant [E. J.] Null and Private [W. D.] McAdoo, Company A, Fifty-third North Carolina; Sergt. Christopher Clark, Twelfth Alabama; Private A. F. Senteo, Company H, Twenty-fifth Virginia (detailed in ambulance corps).

Many officers besides those above named are distinguished by their commanders for gallant behavior. I have only space for the names of a few, whose acts of gallantry are specified.

I was fortunate in this campaign in the assistance of three division commanders - Maj. Gens. Jubal A. Early, Edward Johnson, and Robert E. Rodes - whose wise counsel, skillful handling of their commands, and prompt obedience to orders are beyond praise-generals whose scars bear witness to the manner in which were won their laurels and rank.

Col. J. T. Brown, commanding artillery of this corps, showed himself competent to his position, and gave me perfect satisfaction.

I have to express my thanks to the officers of my staff for their valuable services during the campaign: Maj. (now Lieut. Col.) A. S. Pendleton, chief of staff; Maj. G. Campbell Brown, assistant adju-tant-general; Lieuts. T. T. Turner and James P. Smith, aides-de-camp; Col. A. Smead and Maj. B. H. Green, assistant inspectors-general; Surg. H. McGuire, medical director; Maj. J. A. Harman, chief quartermaster; W. J. Hawks, chief commissary of subsistence; William Allan, chief of ordnance; Capts. R. E. Wilbourn, chief of signals; H. B. Richardson, chief engineer, and Jed Hotchkiss, topographical engineer. Col. J. E. Johnson, formerly of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry; Lieuts. Elliott Johnston, of General Garnett's staff, and R. W. B. Elliott, of General Lawton's staff, were with me as volunteer aides-de-camp.

Colonel Pendleton's knowledge of his duties, experience, and activity relieved me of much hard work. I felt sure that the medical department, under Surg. H. McGuire, the quartermaster's, under Major Harman, and the subsistence, under Major Hawks, would be as well conducted as experience, energy, and zeal would allow. The labor and responsibility of providing the subsistence of the whole army during its advance rested to a great measure on Major Hawks, and could not have been more successfully accomplished.

Col. J. E. Johnson, formerly of the Ninth Virginia Cavalry, was placed in charge of the pickets on the Shenandoah, covering my flank and rear during the attack on Winchester, and I rested securely in that respect, trusting to his experience, judgment, and coolness.

Capt. H. B. Richardson, chief engineer, was severely wounded at Gettysburg, and was left, I regret to say, in the enemy's hands - a loss I have very seriously felt ever since that engagement.

The efficiency and value of Major Allan and Captain Wilbourn in their respective departments are well known.

The reports of the division commanders accompany this report, as also those of the brigade commanders and the chief of artillery. To these I beg leave to refer for greater detail in their respective operations than is practicable in the report of the corps commander.

I have the pleasure to send you the accompanying maps of the campaign by Capt. Jed Hotchkiss, topographical engineer, being the map of routes to and from Gettysburg, map of the battle-field of Winchester, and map of the battle-field of Gettysburg.

I have the honor to remain, and c.,



June 15, 1863.

The lieutenant-general commanding asks the men and officers of the corps to unite with him in returning thanks to our Heavenly Father for the signal success which has crowned the valor of this command.

In acknowledgment of Divine favor, chaplains will hold religious services in their respective regiments at such times as may be most convenient.

With wonderfully small loss (less than 300 killed, wounded, and missing), we have carried strong works defended by an abundance of superior artillery, capturing over 3,000 prisoners and large quantities of military stores and supplies. Such a result should strengthen the reliance in the righteousness of our cause, which has inspired every effort of our troops.

By command of Lieut. Gen. R. S. Ewell:

Assistant Adjutant-General.


June 15, 1863.

I. Major-General Early, while in the vicinity, will assume command of the Department of Winchester, comprising all the Valley south as far as Woodstock and north as far as the lines of the army.

II. All captured property will be turned over to the proper departments, excepting such supplies as may be needed for present consumption, which will at once be issued to the command. The provost-marshal will use the most stringent measures to prevent individual appropriations of what belongs to all. Clothing will be issued under the rules that govern the quartermaster's department, on requisitions approved by the lieutenant-general commanding. All the divisions will be furnished in proportion. When horses or supplies are absolutely necessary for individual wants, the applications must be approved at these headquarters, or by Major-General Early, commanding Department of Winchester.

The garrison flag captured by Major-General Early's division will be sent to Richmond by a detail to be made by Major-General Early.

The lieutenant-general commanding desires in every manner to ameliorate the condition of the men in the ranks, who have the work to do, and who do it so nobly. He is fully sensible of the oppression and outrages of the enemy on our people. He appeals to the intelligence and patriotism that mark this army to assist him in repressing every act of individual plunder on the part of those who may think such only just retaliation.

But this plundering must be repressed or our discipline is gone, the prestige of victory which has hitherto marked our course will be lost, and we will become, like our enemies, a band of robbers, without spirit to win victories.

By command of Lieut. Gen. R. S. Ewell:

Assistant Adjutant-General.


Richmond, August 13, 1864.

Secretary of War, Richmond:

SIR: I beg leave to ask your attention to the following statements, made with the view to correct some errors which obtain in regard to the military services of Maj. Gen. Edward Johnson.

In the attack upon Winchester last summer, General Early about dark succeeded in taking a position which rendered that of the enemy doubtful, if not untenable. At all events, his success induced the enemy to evacuate the place about 12 o'clock that night. This was done in good order and without loss in men.

The next morning, Milroy was intercepted in his retreat by General Johnson, with but two of the four brigades constituting his division. One of the four brigades was detained with the main army, while another, which should have been with him, had mistaken its line of march. The two brigades did not reach 2,000 in number, while the enemy had between 5,000 and 6,000 men.

Notwithstanding this disparity of force, General Johnson immediately engaged the enemy. By this bold attack, which was stubbornly resisted, the retreat was checked until re-enforcements could arrive, after which the enemy were speedily put to rout. His losses in this engagement were little short of 4,000 in killed, wounded, and prisoners. Milroy himself, with a few followers, was hotly pursued, and barely made good his escape.

This decisive and valuable achievement was due to the energy and valor of General Johnson and his command; yet in General Lee's outline report of the campaign, these events are not clearly represented, and General Johnson is made to appear as capturing stragglers after a victory won by General Early.

While under my command, General Johnson was uniformly distinguished for hard and successful fighting. At Mine Run last fall, with his single division he defeated with great slaughter an entire corps of the enemy. So signal was this success, that the commander of the corps, General French, was relieved from the command, and since then, it is believed, has never been assigned to duty.

In the battle of the Wilderness, of the present campaign, no general officer could have been more conspicuous for brave and meritorious conduct.

These facts are submitted for the consideration of the Department at my own instance, without the knowledge of General Johnson, and to the sole end that his valuable services may be properly understood.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,



AUGUST 14, 1864.

Received with satisfaction, as the generous and voluntary tribute of one gallant soldier to another, his brother-in-arms on many a hard-fought field. It was not necessary, however, to [impress] on the Department a high appreciation of the courage and skill of General E. Johnson, whose deeds and merits have fully won him high estimation. It may, perhaps, have been supposed, from the purpose entertained by the Department to transfer him to another field of service, that such vindication was called for, but in reality that change is rather to be regarded as a tribute to his merits and capacities for usefulness, as it is expected he will probably be employed in larger command and in an arena certainly, under present circumstances inferior to none other in importance.


Credit: Report of Lieut. Gen. Richard S. Ewell, C. S. Army, commanding Second Army Corps. O.R.- SERIES I - VOLUME XXVII/2 [S# 44].
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