No. 185. — Report of Lieut. Benjamin Freeborn, Battery E, First Rhode Island Light Artillery.
NEAR WARRENTON, VA., July 28, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report the following as the part taken in the actions near Gettysburg by this command:
On the morning of July 2, the battery was in position in the second line of battle, under command of First Lieut. John K. Bucklyn, remaining there without firing until 3 p.m., when it was ordered to the front. We moved up and took a position near the Emmitsburg road, under a heavy artillery fire from the enemy. Commenced firing immediately, and succeeded in silencing several of the enemy’s guns, but they soon opened from different points, and, owing to the peculiar formation of the line, we were at times exposed to a heavy cross-fire. The right section was detached from the rest of the battery and operated on the road near a small house. We were somewhat annoyed by sharpshooters, who were in a barn in front of the section, but dislodged them by a shell or two.
The enemy appeared to have massed their infantry on the left of the battery, and the fighting was severe there, so that our supports were either sent to that point or some other, as for twenty minutes before we left the battery was without any support, and nothing in front but a few sharpshooters. Some of them reported to me that the enemy was advancing in line in the ravine in front, probably with a view of charging on the battery. Nearly at the same time the artillery and infantry on our left fell back. It was deemed best to withdraw the battery, which was done, the enemy appearing within a few yards of us and delivering a heavy musketry fire, from which we suffered severely. We abandoned one caisson for want of horses, but regained it when our forces reoccupied the ground.
Lieutenant Bucklyn being wounded in coming off the field, the command devolved upon me, and the battery was ordered to the rear, and, being badly cut up, did not participate in any of the subsequent fighting.
The casualties were as follows: 2 officers wounded, 3 enlisted men killed, and 24 wounded; 17 horses killed and 23 disabled and abandoned.
Second Lieut. First Rhode Island Light Art., Comdg. Battery.
Lieut. P.S. JASTRAM,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Art. Brig., Third Army Corps.