Numbers 46. Report of Lieutenant Colonel N. Walter Batchelder, 13th Massachusetts Infantry.
HDQRS. THIRTEENTH MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEERS,
August 21, 1863.
SIR: In compliance with circular received August 18, 1863, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the movements of the army, from June 28 till its arrival at Warrenton, Va.:
June 28. -Broke camp at Middletown, Md. at 3. 30 p. m., and marched over the old mountain road to near Frederick City, arriving in camp at 8 p. m. Distance marched was 9 miles.
June 29. -Marched at 5 a. m., passing through Emmitsburg at 5. 30 p. m. ; camped near the town. Distance marched was 26 miles, the greater part of the march being over mud roads in very bad condition, owing to continued rains.
June 30. -Marched at 8 a. m., and, after proceeding about 6 miles, crossing the Pennsylvania line, halted and formed line of battle, the First Division having encountered the pickets of the enemy. July 1. -Marched at 6 a. m. After proceeding about 4 miles, heard cannonading in front, our cavalry and flying artillery having engaged the advance of the enemy. We rapidly neared the firing, and General Paul notified the brigade that they were immediately going into an engagement. We left the road, and moved out to the front of Gettysburg, and soon came under the fire of the enemy. The enemy so far outnumbering us, our brigade was sent into action by regiments, and with so great an interval between my regiment and the one on my left that we wee not able to properly support each other. My regiment was on the extreme right flank of the division and the edge of the woods in which the action commenced.
Colonel Leonard was wounded early in the fight, and the command devolved upon me. A steady fire was kept up by the men for upward of an hour. At last, being seriously annoyed by the fire of a regiment of the enemy sheltered behind the banks of Chambersburg pike road, I ordered a charge on the road, which resulted in driving the enemy from their position, leaving in our hands 132 prisoners, 7 of whom were commissioned officers. They were safely sent to the rear and turned over to the provost guard. A division of the Eleventh Corps on our right giving way before a charge of the enemy, left our flank exposed, and, no support coming up, a retreat was ordered, and we fell back through the town to the heights in the rear, where the command was reorganized. About 100 were taken prisoners on the way to the rear. The regiment went into action with 260 muskets. The total loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners in the day’s battle was 189.
July 2. -Supported batteries on Cemetery Hill until nearly dark, when we were ordered to the left. Reached the point of attack too late to participate in the action. Returned to our position on the right, and were ordered to the front of the batteries and near the town.
July 3. -At daylight were ordered to the rear of the batteries. Remained there until afternoon, when we were sent to support the center, which the enemy were making desperate efforts to break. Reached the point of attack as the enemy were handsomely forced back by the Second Corps. Relieved the troops that had been engaged, built earthworks in the edge of the woods, and, after detailing a strong picket, bivouacked.
July 4. -Picket skirmishing was kept up all day, with very few casualties. Rain fell nearly all day.
July 5. -At daylight discovered that the enemy had retreated. At 9 a. m. moved to the left, and occupied part of the ground on which the Third Corps had fought.
July 6. -Formed line at 6 a. m., and marched toward Emmitsburg. After marching 6 miles, were halted and marched back 2 miles, resting in a piece of woods until afternoon. Again formed and marched to within 2 miles of Emmitsburg, and went into camp.
July 7. -Marched by the rough mountain road to Belleville; distance, 20 miles.
July 8. -Marched through Middletown and South Mountain Gap, and threw up earthworks on the west side of the ridge. Distance marched, 18 miles.
July 10. -Marched through Boonsborough to Beaver Creek and built more earthworks. After completing the works, were ordered to change front to rear, and to build another line of works.
July 11. -Late in the afternoon went on picket.
July 12. -Withdrawn from picket early in the morning, marched to Funkstown and on the Hagerstown road. Formed line of battle on the left of the road, and again intrenched.
July 14. -At daylight it was evident the enemy had left our front. Marched at 2 p. m., and reached Williamsport before night. Went into camp.
July 15. -Marched early, and camped at night near Crampton’s Gap.
July 16. -Marched through Crampton’s Gap and Burkittsville, camping near Berlin.
July 18. -Crossed the Potomac on pontoons, and camped near Waterford.
July 19. -Marched to Hamilton.
July 20. -Marched to Middleburg.
July 22. -Marched as rear guard to the supply train. Arrived at White Plains at 3 a. m. of the 23d.
July 23. -Marched at 10 a. m., and reached Warrenton at 4 p. m., and went into camp.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. W. BATCHELDER,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg. Thirteenth Massachusetts Vols.
Captain BYRON PORTER,
from Official Records, Series 1, Volume 27, Part 1, Pages 299-300