No. 90. — Report of Lieut. Col. Alford B. Chapman, 57th New York Infantry.
CAMP NEAR MORRISVILLE, VA.,
August 5, 1863.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this regiment in the recent actions near Gettysburg, Pa.:
This brigade, having been detailed the day previous as guard to the wagon train, did not arrive on the scene of action until the morning of July 2. On the afternoon of that day, the division was moved rapidly to the left, to the support of the Third Corps, then engaged in repelling a severe attack of the enemy on that point. This regiment brought up the rear of the brigade, which was then the rear-most of the division, but in taking position in line was moved to the right. I was directed by General Zook to take a position in supporting distance of the front line. I moved into the position assigned me, within a few rods of the front line. The firing at this time was very severe, and General Zook was soon after mortally wounded and taken from the field. Shortly afterward, a staff officer rode up to me and stated that the right of the line had broken, and that the enemy were coming in rapidly on that flank, advising me to move my regiment to the rear to avoid being taken. I determined and was about to change front forward to the right and endeavor to protect the right flank of the brigade, when the whole line in front of me suddenly gave way, breaking through the ranks of my regiment in considerable disorder. I held my men together until the greater part of the front line had broken through, and then moved to the rear in line and in good order, the enemy following closely.
During this retrograde movement I halted my regiment several times, and endeavored to rally men enough on its flanks to check the advance of the enemy, but without success. Another line of our troops soon after moved into action, and I reported to General Caldwell, and joined other regiments of the division then collecting together.
On the morning of July 3, I was directed to erect slight breastworks in front of my regiment, the division being then in line to the right of the field in which it was engaged the day previous. This was done in a short time, and proved of great service during the day in protecting the men from the fire of artillery. During the day we sustained the most severe and long-continued artillery fire of the war, followed by a most determined infantry attack, which was successfully repulsed. In our immediate front the enemy’s infantry did not succeed in advancing beyond our picket line excepting as prisoners of war.
The list of casualties in my regiment has been heretofore forwarded.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. B. CHAPMAN,
Lieut. Col. Fifty-Seventh New York Vols., Comdg. Regt.
Capt. GEORGE W. JONES,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
from Official Records, Series 1, Volume 27, Part 1