No. 83. — Report of Col. Richard Byrnes, 28th Massachusetts Infantry.
NEAR BEALETON, VA., August 2, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit the following report of the part taken by this regiment during the battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 2 and 3:
At 3 p.m., July 2, the order was given to advance, and the regiment proceeded a short distance forward and to the left, and then was ordered back to its original position. Soon after was ordered to move to the left, and about 5.30 o’clock became engaged with the enemy, who were posted in an advantageous position on the crest of a rocky hill. We forced them to retire from this eminence, and advanced over the top and almost to the bottom of the other side of the hill, being all the time exposed to a very severe fire of musketry, and losing many men in killed and wounded.
About 7 p.m., finding all save this regiment were retiring from the hill, and that the enemy were on both our flanks, as well as in front, I brought my command from the field, losing many men from the concentrated fire of the rebels. Our loss in this action was 100 in killed, wounded, and missing, out of 224 taken into the engagement.
I reformed the regiment, and rejoined the brigade near the Second Division hospital about dark, and soon after were moved to the front, where we remained all night, and in the morning erected breastworks of rails and earth, behind which we remained throughout the entire day, during the greater portion of which the enemy kept up an extremely heavy fire of artillery, and made two attempts to force our lines, but were repulsed on each occasion with great loss. On account of being sheltered by our earthworks, which we erected on the 3d instant, we suffered no casualties from the enemy’s fire.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Comdg. Twenty-eighth Massachusetts Vols.
Lieut. W. S. BAILEY,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
from Official Records, Series 1, Volume 27, Part 1