Original Document
Original Document
Reports of Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Neill, U.S. Army, July, August, 1863.

No. 231: Reports of Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Neill, U.S. Army, commanding Third Brigade and Light Division. August 3, 1863 and July 17, 1863


I have the honor to report that immediately upon my arrival upon the battle-field of Gettysburg, 6 p.m., July 2, after a march of 30 miles, my brigade was detached by order of Major-General Meade to support a height crowned by a battery, which the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac ordered to be held at all hazards. I took position accordingly, and found General Slocum in command, who subsequently ordered me to take position supporting the front line, then held by Generals Geary and Wadsworth.

At midnight was ordered to return to my original position, as directed by Major-General Meade, which was done.

On the morning of the 3rd, Major-General Slocum ordered me to take position with two of my regiments on the extreme right of the whole army, and prevent the enemy from turning us. Upon taking position, I felt the enemy strong in sharpshooters, and put my whole brigade in position here, and stopped them from going any farther. Loss, 1 officer and 13 enlisted men killed and wounded.

On the morning of the 4th, I advanced my skirmishers to drive away the sharpshooters, when I found the enemy gone.

On the morning of the 5th, rejoined my division, and marched with my division and corps, which drove the enemy out of Fairfield.

On the morning of the 6th, engaged the rear guard of the enemy, and drove them into the gap at Fairfield. In the afternoon they left. Followed them, and held the gap.

On this evening, was detached to command Light Division, consisting of my own brigade of infantry, Colonel McIntosh's brigade of cavalry, Lieutenant Martin's battery of rifled pieces, and two pieces of light artillery attached to Colonel McIntosh's brigade. The report of my operations with this command has already been sent direct to Major-General Meade.

Very respectfully.


I have the honor to state, for the information of the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac, that on the night of the 5th instant I assumed command of Colonel McIntosh's brigade of cavalry, two pieces of light artillery accompanying it, Captain Martin's battery of rifled pieces, and my own brigade of infantry accompanying. I, in accordance with orders from headquarters Army of the Potomac, on the morning of the 6th pushed on from Fairfield to Waynesborough. The rear guard of the enemy only escaped capture by burning the bridge at the Antietam, 2 1/2 miles from Waynesborough, on the Hagerstown road.

On the 7th, felt the enemy's pickets along the Antietam and Marsh Run, and found Ewell's corps in our front.

On the 8th, discovered a portion of Ewell's corps at Middleburg.

On the 9th, sent Colonel McIntosh, with the whole of his cavalry brigade and four pieces of artillery, to develop the strength of the enemy at the fords and bridges. Colonel McIntosh drew the fire of the enemy at the Antietam, and developed a force consisting of the three arms at Zeigler's Mills, near Chewsville, the pickets of the enemy being this side of the creek. Colonel McIntosh at once formed line of battle, dismounted his skirmishers, opened with his artillery, and drove them in full retreat across the Antietam, silencing their battery. He had 4 wounded, 1 mortally. This was between 3 and 4 miles from Hagerstown, on the north side.

The enemy did not appear this side of the Antietam after this, in our direction.

The cool and professional manner in which Colonel McIntosh handled his cavalry and posted his artillery has drawn up him well-merited praise. In this as in every other duty which I called up Colonel McIntosh to perform, his conduct and bearing impelled me to suggest to the major-general commanding the Army of the Potomac that his rank should be increased so as to be proportionate to his gallant deeds and to his great ability.

In connection with the advice and orders of General W.F. Smith, two regiments of militia, supported by one old regiment of my own brigade, were sent down to Marsh Run, to feel an infantry picket of the enemy. When we arrived there, we found the picket had been withdrawn the night before, and we did not get the militia under fire.

On the 11th, marched to Leitersburg.

On the 12th, made a flank march along the Antietam, and rejoined the Sixth Corps, in line of battle west of Funkstown.

I may be permitted to state that all of these events have lost their interest now by the more important developments which have since transpired, but, as the commander of the expedition which the major-general commanding saw fit to intrust to me, I have felt that it is but a simple act of justice to Colonel McIntosh to bear tribute to his gallantry and good judgment, and I believe he helped the enemy out of Hagerstown.

Since joining the Sixth Corps, my brigade has been either in line of battle or marching, which is my apology for not having sent this report before.

We have captured and picked up between 300 and 400 rebel prisoners or deserters. I sent them to Couch.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

Credit: The 61st PA Volunteers in the Official Records, The Gettysburg Campaign (Series I, Volume 27).
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