No. 106. — Report of Col. R. Penn Smith, 71st Pennsylvania Infantry.
JONES’ CROSS-ROADS, MD., July 12, 1863.
I have the honor to report the conduct of the Seventy-first Pennsylvania Volunteers during the late battles at Gettysburg, Pa., July 2 and 3.
In the afternoon of the 2d instant, I went to the support of the Sixty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, then on the front, and became engaged with the enemy, taking some 20 prisoners and retaking a brass cannon and limber which the enemy held.
About dark of this day, by an order through Captain Duffy, I was ordered to the support of a portion of the Eleventh Corps. Having arrived on the ground, I could find no general to report to who had command of any one portion of the troops. An adjutant-general directed me to proceed to the front, assuring me that all was safe on either flank. Arriving at the front, I became engaged with the enemy on the front. At the same time he attacked me on my right and rear. I immediately ordered my command to retire to the road in my rear, when I returned to camp against orders. During the engagement, I lost 3 commissioned officers and 11 enlisted men.
On the 3d instant, some 50 of my men assisted in working Lieutenant Cushing’s battery, while the balance were in position, protected by a stone wall from an infantry attack, engaging the enemy and scattering confusion in his ranks, taking some 500 prisoners, as many arms, and 3 stand of rebel colors. Loss, 22 killed, 59 wounded, and 19 missing.
Among so many conspicuous acts of valor and daring, it is difficult to particularize individuals. I cannot but speak of my regiment in the highest terms.
I would call attention to the conduct of Captain McMahon and Private Young, of Company C, both of whom are under sentence of court-martial. I pray that the approval or disapproval of the findings of the court in the case of the first may be influenced in a great degree by his noble conduct in the field, and of the latter that the sentence may be revoked.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. PENN SMITH,
Colonel, Comdg. Seventy-first Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Capt. C. H. BANES,
from Official Records, Series 1, Volume 27, Part 1