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Numbers 48. Report of Colonel Gilbert G. Prey, 104th New York Infantry.

August 18, 1863.

CAPTAIN: In accordance with circular from headquarters Army of the Potomac, August 12, 1863, I have the honor to report that on the 28th of June last the One hundred and fourth Regiment New York Volunteers marched from Middletown, Md., to Frederick City, Md.; bivouacked for the night. On the 29th, marched to Emmitsburg, Md.; bivouacked for the night about 1 mile west of the town. On the morning of the 30th, marched across the State line into Pennsylvania, north of Emmitsburg; bivouacked until the next morning, when we resumed the march to Gettysburg, where we arrived about 1 o’clock.

When the brigade was first formed in line of battle, my regiment was placed on the right center, and ordered to throw up a breastwork of such material as they could find. In a few minutes the order was countermanded, and we marched by the right flank in rear of the Thirteenth Massachusetts Regiment across the railroad embankment, passing through a piece of woods some distance into an open field. I was ordered to form line by Brigadier-General Paul on the right of the Thirteenth Massachusetts Regiment, and, while doing so. was ordered by Brigadier-General Robinson, commanding division, to form on the left, and did so, my left resting near the Ninety-seventh Regiment (New York), my line running obliquely with the crest of the hill, where the enemy was strongly posted behind a stone wall covered with thick underbrush, the fire from the wall taking us on the flank as the line advanced. I ordered my three left companies to gain the wall and dislodge the enemy, which they did in gallant style. The enemy retired in confusion before them. I then advanced my line to the road on which the enemy had been posted. Here some 35 or 40 prisoners were taken, but having neither officers nor men to spare to take charge of them, I directed them to pass to the rear and join some already taken by the Thirteenth Massachusetts, which they did. Fifteen or 20 more prisoners were afterward taken by my regiment and sent to the rear. Shortly after gaining the road, the enemy began to move to our left in considerable force, and, as that was entirely unsupported, I caused my regiment to change front and take position behind the stone wall from which we had preciously driven the enemy. As they still continued to advance on our front and right flank, I moved to the left, to connect with the Ninety-seventh New York. There we remained, firing, and held our position until ordered to retire. A list of the casualties has already been forwarded. We retired, and formed line behind a stone wall some 300 or 400 yards to the left of the cemetery, nearly parallel to the pike leading to Emmitsburg; remained there until the next morning, when we were moved to the right, to support a battery on Cemetery Hill.

Remained there until about sundown of that day (July 2), when we were marched to the left, where the battle was raging at the time; formed line in rear of a portion of the Second Corps. When the battle closed, we were again marched to the right, and formed in line behind a stone wall on the west of the cemetery, and nearly down to the town; lay on our arms during the night.

The next morning (July 3), we marched, under the fire of the enemy’s sharpshooters, to the rear of the cemetery, to support a battery, as on the day before. About 2 o’clock of that day we were marched to the right of the cemetery, to screen us from the shot and shell that were playing into the place where we were; lay there about two hours, when we were marched, through a galling fire of shot, shell, and bullets, across the cemetery and to the left, and formed line in front of a brass battery in the woods immediately to the left of the cemetery. Sent out skirmishers continued in that position and capacity until about noon of the 5th, when we were marched to the left, and bivouacked near Round Top Mountain, so called.

The next day (July 6) we marched to the State line near Emmitsburg; from thence (July 7) over the mountain to near Middletown; bivouacked for the night, and the next morning (July 8) passed through Middletown and bivouacked about 1 mile out toward South Mountain. Toward night marched to the western slope of the South Mountain, near and to the north of Turner’s Gap, formed line, and were ordered to throw up a breastwork of stones, of which there was an abundance. Remained there until the 10th, and then marched on the pike toward Hagerstown, through Boonsborough, to within 3 miles of Funkstown, and filed to the right some three-fourths of a mile from the pike, and formed line nearly parallel to the pike, and were ordered to throw up breastworks, which we did, and remained there until the 12th July; then marched to Funkstown, formed line nearly parallel with Antietam Creek; was ordered to throw up breastworks. Remained there until the 14th July.

Thence to near Williamsport; bivouacked over night. The next morning (July 15) marched to near Crampton’s Gap; bivouacked on the west side of the mountain. Thence (July 16) to Berlin; remained there until July 18, when we marched to Waterford, Va. Thence (July 19) to Hamilton. Thence to Middleburg July 20; remained there until July 22, when we marched to White Plains, arriving there at daylight July 23. Thence the same day to Warrenton.

Colonel One hundred and fourth New York Volunteers.

Assistant Adjutant-General.

from Official Records, Series 1, Volume 27, Part 1, Pages 300-302

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