Report of Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Pierce, 3rd Michigan Infantry, on the Battle of Gettysburg.

August 4, 1863.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report the part taken by this regiment in the battle of Gettysburg, on July 2 and 3.
We left Emmitsburg at 3 a.m. on the 2d, and arrived at Gettysburg about 12 m. On our nearing Gettysburg, the enemy appeared in our rear and left flank. We were then marched near and to the left of the Taneytown road, where the brigade was formed in column of regiments, we occupying the right, where we halted for a short time. Then we were moved forward about 1 mile, when the enemy made his appearance in force, and was driving in our pickets. The colonel was then ordered to deploy his regiment as skirmishers. He moved his regiment by the right flank to the left of the peach orchard, of which the enemy held a portion, where he deployed Companies I, F, and K, deploying forward on the right of Company F. ‘We drove the enemy’s skirmishers back to and beyond the stone house and barn on the left of the Emmitsburg road, our right resting-in front of the orchard, near the road.

Upon gaining this position, we discovered that the enemy was massing his forces on our left. I reported the same to General Sickles, and kept him informed of the enemy’s movements. During the engagement, the enemy made several attempts to retake the house and barn, but were repulsed with heavy loss, our men fighting with a desperation never before witnessed, and at times at a range of not over 50 yards.

Company A was detached to support a portion of General Graham’s line on our right. They advanced to the brick house on the right of the Emmitsburg road, holding their position until overpowered by a superior force. The most of General Graham’s force having retired, we held our position until about 7 p.m., when the left had retired so far that we were in danger of being flanked. We retired in good order, and assisted in bringing off a portion of two batteries.

It was at this time that the colonel was wounded, and I assumed command, he having remained mounted during the entire engagement, and constantly on the skirmish line cheering the men on. We rejoined the brigade where it was formed at the commencement, when we were marched across the Taneytown road, and bivouacked for the night.

Our loss was as follows:

Officers and men








Enlisted men










On the morning of the 3d, we moved forward to the first position occupied on the 2d, and were formed the same, where we remained till about 3 p.m. Thence we were moved off by the right flank at double-quick to where the enemy was trying to pierce our center. The regiment was here detached, and sent to the support of the Second Division, Second Corps, where we assisted in repulsing the enemy, who had succeeded in breaking through a portion of their line.

The regiment occupied the front line till the morning of the 5th, when we rejoined our brigade. No casualties occurred to the regiment during this day’s action.

In closing this report, I cannot particularize any of the officers or men, but I am proud to state that they did their duty without an exception. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Lieut. Col., Comdg. Third Regiment Michigan Volunteers.
Capt. BEN. M. PIATT,
Asst. Adjt. Gen. Third Brig., First Div., Third Corps.

from OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 1