Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 3, 1863 (Saturday): Shot With A Ten Penny Nail

1882 View of "The Angle" (nps.gov)

Brigadier-General GREGG, Commanding Second Cavalry Division:
    GENERAL: The general commanding is fearful of the enemy obtaining possession of the ridge on the Baltimore turnpike, behind the bridge, which is the right of General Slocum's position, and wishes you to place a force of cavalry and battery, to hold that position, to the right of the road facing Gettysburg. This point is so important that it must be held at all hazards.
     Very respectfully,

      Major-General, Commanding.

BATTLE-FIELD, Gettysburg, Pa., July 3, 1863-7 a. m.
(Received 8. 30 p. m.)
General M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General, Washington:
    At this moment the battle is raging as fiercely as ever. The fight was renewed at 3. 30 this morning. The loss has been great on both sides. All our forces have been, and still are, in action, and we shall be compelled too stand and fight it out. There is a unanimous determination to resist until we drive the rebels. They began the fight, but we have repulsed them at all points, and hold our original battleground. This entire army has fought with terrible obstinacy, and has covered itself with glory. Pity it is not larger.
We have supplies at Westminster, which must come up to-morrow if we remain here. The contest will be decided to-day, I think.

     Brigadier-General, Chief Quartermaster.

July 3, 1863-8 a. m. (Received 5. 10 p. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
    The action commenced again at early daylight upon various parts of the line. The enemy thus far have made no impression upon my position. All accounts agree in placing the whole army here. Prisoners report Longstreet's and A. P. Hill's forces much injured yesterday and many general officers killed. General Barksdale`s (Mississippi) dead body is within our lines. We have thus far sent off about 1, 600 prisoners, and a small number yet to be started. I have given certain instructions to General French, which he will telegraph you. The dispatches from you yesterday, owing to the disappearance of Caldwell, telegraph operator, are here in cipher, unintelligible.

     GEO. G. MEADE,

JULY 3, 1863-12. 30 p. m.
Major-General HALLECK, (Received 11 p. m.)
     At the present moment all is quiet. Considerable firing, both infantry and artillery, has taken place in various parts of our line, but no development of the enemy's intentions. My cavalry are pushing the enemy on both my flanks, and keeping me advised of any effort to outflank me. We have taken several hundred prisoners since morning.

     GEO. G. MEADE.

July 3, 1863-2. 15 p. m.
     SIR: The fire has been concentrated upon this point about an hour, with no great effect. The batteries on our right do not reach us, and in the center invariably overshoot us.

     O. O. HOWARD,
     Major-General, Commanding.
     Major-General MEADE,
     Commanding Army of the Potomac.

HDQRS. ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 3, 1863-9. 57 p. m.
(Copy received, War Department, July 4, 8. 40 a. m.)
Major General D. N. COUCH, Harrisburg, Pa.:
     You will be apprised of my operations through my dispatch to the General-in-Chief. I do not think Lee will attack me again, but am as yet uncertain whether he will assume an offensive attitude, and await an attack from me, or whether he will withdraw down the Cumberland Valley, holding strongly the mountain passes, which, I understand, he has fortified. Should the former be the case, I will apprise you of the facts so soon as I am certain of it, and I then desire you either to form a junction with me, or, if in your judgment the same can be done without jeopardizing the safety of your command, attack him. Should I be satisfied that he is retreating, I shall then move down on this side of the mountain, and wish you to pursue him as rapidly as possible down the Valley.

     GEO. G. MEADE,
     Major-General, Commanding.

    Although I repulsed a tremendous attack, yet on seeing it from my left and advancing to the right, I, much to my sorrow, found that the twelve guns on my salient had been removed by some one, whom I call upon you to hold accountable, as without them, with worse troops, I should certainly have lost the day. I arrived just in time to put a small battalion of infantry in the place occupied by those two batteries. I have never seen a more formidable attack, and if the Sixth and Fifth Corps have pressed up, the enemy will be destroyed.     The enemy must be short of ammunition, as I was shot with a ten penny nail.
     I did not leave the field till the victory was entirely secured and the enemy no longer in sight. I am badly wounded, though I trust not seriously. I had to break the line to attack the enemy in flank on my right, where the enemy was most persistent after the front attack was repelled. Not a rebel was in sight upright when I left. The line should be immediately restored and perfected. General Caldwell is in command of the corps, and I have directed him to restore the line.
    Your obedient servant,


     By A. N. DOUGHERTY, Surgeon, and Medical Director Second Corps.
     General MEADE.

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 27, Part 1, Pages, 74,366, 697 Part 3, Pages 499, 502, 503.

Hancock learned first hand of the dearth of ammunition available to the Confederates, having been shot with a nail.  Meade remains low key, an example of a man who fit a momentous hour.  It is unfortunate so little Confederate correspondence from the battlefield at Gettysburg exists, as there are so many questions regarding Confederate strategy and preparations for Day 3.

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