Oh, Gettysburg...  Seen my slippers anywhere?


The following are a series of reports filed by Confederate Major General Edward Johnson following the Gettysburg Campaign.

I have tried to preserve the continuity and the look and feel of the Official Records within the limitations of my knowledge of html.

Reports of Maj. Gen. Edward Johnson, C.S. Army, commanding division.

August 18, 1863.

MAJOR: In obedience to orders, headquarters Second Army Corps, August 13, 1863, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my division, from the time of leaving Fredericksburg for Winchester until it recrossed the Potomac:

The division left camp near Hamilton's Crossing June 5, and moved in the direction of Winchester, crossing the Blue Ridge at Chester Gap. Nothing occured worthy of particular note during the march and excellent spirits.

At daylight of the morning of the 13th ultimo [June], the division left its camp at Cederville, moving on the Winchester and Front Royal turnpike. The enemy's pickets were discovered 4 miles from the town, about 12m. The Second Virginia Regiment Colonel [J.Q.A.] Nadenbousch commanding, was detached from the Stonewall Brigade, and deployed as skirmishers to the left of the road. This regiment advance handsomely, driving the enemy to a stone fence near the junction of the Millwood and Front Royal roads, behind which they made a stand. After a sharp skirmish, they were driven from this position.

At this juncture, they advanced a battery to an eminence on the right of the road, and opened fire upon our skirmishers and the woods in the vicinity. Carpenter's battery, Lieutenant [William T.] Lambie commanding, under the direction of Lieutenant-Colonel [R.S.] Andrews, was put in position on the left of the road and behind a stone fence, from which it opened an accurate fire upon the enemy's battery and supporting infantry, the effect of which was to explode a limber, killing 3 men and a number of horses, and put the enemy to precipitate flight upon the town.

The Stonewall and Steuart's brigades were formed in line of battle in a ravine to the right of the road, out of sight and range of the enemy's guns; J.M. Jones' and Nicholl's brigades to the left, in a road were advanced under cover of woods to a position nearer the town, where they remained until the following morning.

When General Early advanced on the left, a body of the enemy's infantry, retreating, became exposed to view, and were fired upon by two rifled guns of Carpenter's with good effect, greatly accelerating their speed. This attracted the fire from the fortifications north of the town upon the battery and such portions of the infantry as were necessarily exposed, which was maintained in a desultory manner until nightfall.

The casualties in my command during the day's operation were happily, few-2 men killed and 3 horses disabled.

The following day (14th) was occupied in engaging the enemy's attention upon the right, while Early was putting his command in position upon the left, for the main attack upon the fortifications. For this purpose, the Stonewall Brigade, Brig. General J.A. Walker commanding, was moved across the Milwood pike to a range of hills east of and fronting the town and between in rear and within supporting distance of Walker. The Fifth Virginia Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel H.J. Williams commanding, was thrown forward as skirmishers, encountering the enemy of the crest of the hills above mentioned sheltered by houses and fences, they kept up a brisk and continual fire upon our line, which occupied the stone fence at the western base of the hills and within easy musket-range.

About 4 p.m. the enemy advanced a considerable force against the right of our line of skirmishers, compelling if to fall back, and capturing 10 men. Lieutenant-Colonel Williams, Fifth Virginia, who had commanded the skirmish line during the day with conspicuous gallantry was severely wounded in this engagement. The reserve of the skirmishers was immediately ordered forward, and succeeded in driving the enemy back and recovering their former line.

The only casualties during the day occurred in the Fifth Virginia, the only regiment engaged--3 killed, 16 wounded, and 10 missing.

About nightfall, I received an order from the lieutenant-general commanding to move by the right flank with three of my brigades and a portion of my artillery to a point on the Martinsburg turnpike, 2 1/2 miles north of Winchester, with the double purpose, I supposed, of intercepting the enemy's retreat and attacking him in his fortifications from that direction. Steuart's and Nicholls' brigades, with Dement's and portions of Raine's and Carpenter's batteries, under Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews, were immediately put in motion, and Brigadier-General Walker, whose line was nearest the enemy, was ordered to follow, after having advanced his skirmishers to the town to conceal the movement and ascertain the position of the enemy. J.M. Jones'brigade and the remainder of Andrews'battalion, under Major [J.W. ] Latimer, were left in reserve, and for the purpose of preventing the enemy's escape by the road we had advanced.

After moving some distance on the Berryville road, I was informed by my guide that I would be obliged to cross fields over a rough country in order to carry out literally the directions of the lieutenant-general; and, moreover, that near Stephenson's 5 miles north of Winchester, there was a railroad cut masked by a body of woods, and not more than 200 yards from the turnpike (along which the enemy would certainly retreat), which would afford excellent shelter for troops in case of an engagement.

The night was very dark, and, being satisfied that the enemy would discover the movement and probably escape if I moved to the point indicated by the lieutenant-general, I determined to march to Stephenson's by the road which led by Jordan Springs. Halting the head of the column at a small bridge which crosses the Winchester and Potomac Railroad a few hundred yards from the Martinsburg pike, I rode forward with my staff and sharpshooters to reconnoiter the position and assure myself of the whereabouts of the enemy. I had gone but a short distance when I distinctly heard the neighing of horses and sound of men moving, and in a few moments ascertained that I had opportunely struck the head of the enemy's retreating column. Their viduities fired upon us, and I returned to my command to make the necessary dispositions for an instant attack. Along the edge of the railroad cut, next to the pike, ran a stone fence, behind which I deployed the three regiments of Steuart's brigade (Tenth Virginia and First and Third North Carolina Regiments) on the right, and three regiments of Nicholls' brigade, under Colonel J. M. Williams, on the left. One piece of Dement's battery was placed upon the bridge, one piece a little to the left and rear, the remaining pieces, with sections of Raine's and Carpenter's batteries, the whole under the direction of Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews, on the rising ground in rear of the position occupied by the infantry. Two regiments of Nicholls' brigade were held in reserve as support to the artillery.

My dispositions were scarcely completed when the enemy, cheering, charged with his whole force the front of my position, driving in the skirmishers and delivering heavy volleys. My infantry and artillery fired with such rapidity and effect as to repulse them with considerable loss. At longer range the enemy maintained a heavy fire upon us, until, convinced that nothing could be effected by a front attack, he detached heavy flanking parties of cavalry and infantry to the right and left, whether for the purpose of breaking our lines and effecting his escape, or driving us out of the railroad cut, is not known; still, however, keeping a vigorous attack in front. My infantry had expended all but one round of ammunition; the ordnance wagons were 7 miles in rear. The situation was exceedingly critical, and nothing could have been more timely than the arrival of the Stonewall Brigade.

Owing to a misconception of orders, for which Brigadier-General Walker was not in the slightest degree responsible, his brigade did not leave its former position until 12 o'clock of the previous night. He was a mile from Stephenson's when the engagement began. Hurrying up his brigade, he arrived upon the ground just in time to meet the flanking party to the right. He pressed them hotly through the woods, beyond the turnpike, and into a woods a half mile to the right of the Carter House, where they surrendered as prisoners of war, the cavalry alone escaping.

The flanking party (about 300 cavalry and 600 infantry) which moved to the left, under the immediate command of Major-General Milroy [as was ascertained afterward from prisoners and citizens on the route of his escape], was met by two regiments of Nicholls' brigade (the Second and Tenth Louisiana). Raine's battery was faced to the left, and played upon them with fine effect, while sections from Dement's and Carpenter's batteries were hurried down the road to intercept their retreat. The two Louisiana regiments above named moved parallel with the enemy's line, a ridge intervening, until they reached a level space, when they opened a destructive fire upon them, killing a considerable number, and with the aid of the artillery, scattering them in every direction. Most of them were captured by these two regiments. The person supposed to be Milroy (riding a fine white horse), with most of his cavalry, after a vigorous pursuit, unfortunately escaped.

The substantial results of the engagement were from 2,300 to 2,500 prisoners and about 175 horses, with arms and equipments in proportion, Steuart's brigade capturing about 900, the Stonewall Brigade about 900, and Nicholl's brigade the remainder. Eleven stand of colors were captured, of which the Stonewall Brigade captured six, Steuart's brigade four, and the Louisiana one.

For particulars as to the numbers captured and the individual instances of gallantry, I have the honor to refer you to the accompanying reports of the brigade and regimental commanders. It will be observed that my force, until the timely arrival of the Stonewall Brigade, did not amount to more than 1,200 muskets, with a portion of Andrews' battalion, J.M. Jones' brigade and two regiments (the Twenty-third and Thirty'seventh Virginia) of Steuart's brigade, a portion of the artillery having been left in the rear on the Front Royal road.

The number of prisoners considerably exceeded the whole number engaged on our side, including the Stonewall Brigade.

Before closing this report, I beg leave to state that I have never seen superior artillery practice to that of Andrews' battalion in this engagement, and especially the section under Lieutenant [C.S.] Contee [Dement's battery], one gun of which was placed on the bridge above referred to, and the other a little to the left and rear. Both pieces were very much exposed during the whole action. Four successive attempts were made to carry the bridge. Two sets of cannoneers (13 out of 16) were killed and disabled. Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews and Lieutenant Contee, whose gallantry calls for special mention, fell wounded at this point. Lieutenant John A. Morgan, First North Carolina Regiment, and Lieutenant Randolph H. McKim, took the place of the disabled cannoneers, rendering valuable assistance, deserving special mention.

I feel much indebted to Majors B.W. Leigh, H.K. Douglas, and E.L. Moore, of my staff, for their gallantry and efficiency on the field and in the pursuit of the enemy; to Surg. R.T. Coleman, for correcting a misapprehension of orders on the part of my engineer officers, thereby expediting the march of General Walker, who found me most opportunely.

The total list of casualties in the division during the operations embraced in this report amounted to 14 killed and 74 wounded.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

Assistant Adjutant-General.

September 30, 1863.

MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my division from June 15 to July 31, embracing the campaign in Pennsylvania and battle of Gettysburg:

My division comprised the Stonewall Brigade, Brigadier General J.A. Walker, consisting of the Second, Fourth, Fifth, Twenty-seventh and Thirty-third Virginia Regiments, commanded, respectively, by Colonel [J.Q.A.] Nadenbousch, Major [William] Terry, Colonel [J.H.S.] Funk, Lieutenant-Colonel [D.M.] Shriver, and Captain [J.B.] Golladay; J.M. Jones' brigade, consisting of the Twenty-first, Twenty-fifth, Forty-second, Forty-fourth, Forty-eighth, and Fiftieth Virginia Regiments, commanded, respectively, by Captain W.P. Moseley, Colonel [John C.] Higginbotham, Captain [J.M.] Richardson, Captain [T.R.] Buckner, Lieutenant-Colonel [R.H.] Dungan, and Lieutenant-Colonel [L.H.N.] Salyer; George H. Steuart's brigade, consisting of the Tenth, Twenty-third, and Thirty-seventh Virginia Regiments, First Maryland Battalion Infantry, and First and Third North Carolina Regiments, commanded, respectively, by Colonel [E.T.H.] Warren, Lieutenant-Colonel [S.T.] Walton, Major [H.C.] Wood, Lieutenant-Colonel [H.A.] Brown, Major [W.M.] Parsley, and Lieutenant-Colonel [J.R.] Herbert; Nicholl's brigade, Colonel J.M. Williams commanding, consisting of the First, Second, Tenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Louisiana Regiments, commanded, respectively, by Lieutenant-Colonel [M.] Nolan, Lieutenant-Colonel [R.E.] Burke, Major [T.N.] Powell, Lieutenant-Colonel [D.] Zable, and Major [Andrew] Brady, with Andrews'battalion of artillery, Major [J.W.] Latimer commanding, consisting of Raine's, Dement's, Brown's, and Carpenter's batteries.

On June 16, my division left camp at Stephenson's and marched to Shepherdstown, where Jones' brigade was temporarily detached, with orders to destroy a number of canal-boats and a quantity of grain and flour stored at different points, and cut the canal (Chesapeake and Ohio Canal). A report of his operations and the disposition made of his captures has been forwarded.

June 18, we crossed the Potomac at Boteler's Ford, and encamped upon the battle-ground of Sharpsburg. Thence marched, via Hagerstown and Chambersburg, to within 3 miles of Carlisle. From Greencastle, Steuart's brigade was ordered to McConnellsburg, to collect horses, cattle, and other supplies which the army needed. The brigade, having accomplished its mission to my satisfaction, rejoined the division at our camp near Carlisle.

On June 29, in obedience to orders, I countermarched my division to Greenville, thence eastwardly, via Scotland, to Gettysburg, not arriving in time, however, to participate in the action of the 1st instant. The last day's march was 25 miles, rendered the more fatiguing because of obstructions caused by wagons of Longstreet's corps.

Late on the night of July 1, I moved along the Gettysburg and York Railroad to the northeast of the town, and formed line of battle in a ravine in an open field, Nicholls' brigade on the right, next Jones'; Steuart's and Walker's on the left. Pickets were thrown well to the front, and the troops slept on their arms.

Early next morning, skirmishers from Walker's and Jones' brigades were advanced for the purpose of feeling the enemy, and desultory firing was maintained with their skirmishers until 4 p.m., at which hour I ordered Major Latimer to open fire with all of his pieces from the only eligible hill within range, Jones' brigade being properly disposed as a support. The hill was directly in front of the wooded mountain and a little to the left of the Cemetery Hill; consequently exposed to the concentrated fire from both, and also to an enfilade fire from a battery near the Baltimore road. The unequal contest was maintained for two hours with considerable damage to the enemy, as will appear from the accompanying report of Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews. Major Latimer having reported to me that the exhausted condition of his horses and men, together with the terrible fire of the enemy's artillery, rendered his position untenable, he was ordered to cease firing and withdraw all of his pieces excepting four, which were left in position to cover the advance of my infantry.

In obedience to an order from the lieutenant-general commanding. I then advanced my infantry to the assault of the enemy's strong position--a rugged and rocky mountain, heavily timbered and difficult of ascent; a natural fortification, rendered more formidable by deep intrenchments and thick abatis-Jones' brigade in advance, followed by Nicholls' and Steuart's. General Walker was directed to follow, but reporting to me that the enemy were advancing upon him from their right, he was ordered to repulse them and follow on as soon as possible.

The opposing force was larger and the time consumed longer than was anticipated, in consequence of which General Walker did not arrive in time to participate in the assault that night.

By the time my other brigades had crossed Rock Creek and reached the base of the mountain, it was dark. His skirmishers were driven in, and the attack made with great vigor and spirit. It was as successful as could have been expected, considering the superiority of the enemy's force and position. Steuart's brigade, on the left, carried a line of breastworks which ran perpendicular to the enemy's main line, captured a number of prisoners and a stand of colors, and the whole line advanced to within short range, and kept up a heavy fire until late in the night. Brigadier-General Jones and Colonel Higginbotham, Twenty-fifth Virginia, were wounded in this assault, and the command of Jones' brigade devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Dungan.

Early next morning, the Stonewall Brigade was ordered to the support of the others, and the assault was renewed with great determination. Shortly after, the enemy moved forward to recapture the line of breastworks which had been taken the night previous, but was repulsed with great slaughter. Daniel's and Rodes' brigades (Colonel [E.A.] O'Neal commanding), of Rodes' division, having reported to me, two other assaults were made; both failed. The enemy were too securely intrenched and in too great numbers to be dislodged by the force at my command.

In the meantime, a demonstration in force was made upon my left and rear. The Second Virginia Regiment, Stonewall Brigade, and Smith's brigade, of Early's division, were disposed to meet and check it, which was accomplished to my entire satisfaction. No further assault was made; all had been done that if was possible to do.

I held my original position until 10 o'clock of the night of the 3d, when, in accordance with orders, I withdrew to the hill north and west of Gettysburg, where we remained until the following day, in the hope that the enemy would give us battle on ground of our own selection.

My loss in this terrible battle was heavy, including some of the most valuable officers of the command.

Major J.W. Latimer, of Andrews' battalion, the "boy major," whose chivalrous bearing on so many fields had won for him a reputation to be envied by his seniors, received a severe wound on the evening of the 2d, from the effects of which he has since died.

Major B.W. Leigh, my chief of staff, whose conscientious discharge of duty, superior attainments, and noble bearing made him invaluable to me, was killed within a short distance of the enemy's line.

Major H.K. Douglas, assistant adjutant-general, was severely wounded while in the discharge of his duties, and is still a prisoner.

My orderly, W.H. Webb, remained with me after being severely wounded. His conduct entitles him to a commission.

Fewer wounded from my division were left in the hands of the enemy than from any other division of the army; for which I am indebted to the active exertions of Chief Surg. R.T. Coleman.

Mr. E.J. Martin, my volunteer aide-de-camp, rendered valuable service by his prompt transmission of orders, and Major E.L. Moore faithfully performed his duties as assistant inspector-general.

The troops are much indebted to Majors T.E. Ballard and G.H. Kyle, of the commissary department, for supplies during the trying period covered by this report. Cattle and flour were frequently procured within the enemy's lines.

All of the officers and men of the division who came under my observation during their three days' exposure to the enemy's incessant fire of musketry and artillery from the front and artillery from the left and rear behaved as brave men.

For particular instances of gallantry, I have the honor to refer you to the reports of brigade and regimental commanders, herewith transmitted.

I take pleasure in bearing testimony to the gallantry of Brigadier-General Daniel and Colonel O'Neal, and to Brigadier-General [William] Smith, and their brigades, while under my command.

We marched on the 5th across the mountain, by Waynesborough, toward Hagerstown, and remained for a few days within 3 miles of the latter place. Thence the division moved 2 1/2 miles from Hagerstown, and formed line of battle on both sides of and perpendicular to the Hagerstown, and formed line of battle on both sides of and perpendicular to the Hagerstown and Williamsport pike.

On the night of the 13th, I recrossed the Potomac 1 mile above Williamsport, and continued the march next day to within 4 miles of Martinsburg; thence to Darkesville on the 15th, where we remained until ordered to return to Martinsburg, to destroy the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and repel and advance of the enemy. This done, the division by steady marches recrossed the Blue Ridge at Front Royal, and went into camp near Orange Court-House about August 1.

The casualties in my division during the operations around Gettysburg were: Killed, 219; wounded, 1,229; missing, 375; total, 1,823.

I am, major, with great respect, your obedient servant,

Maj. A.S. PENDLETON, Assistant Adjutant-General.



MAJOR: I have the honor to forward a United States flag captured in the enemy's breastworks near Gettysburg, Pa., by Sergt. Thomas J. Betterton, Company A, Thirty-seventh Virginia Regiment, Steuart's brigade. Sergeant Betterton was wounded at a later period of the engagement, and further details of the capture cannot be given at this time.

Very respectfully,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Second Army Corps.

U.S. War Department, War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington, DC; Government Printing Office, 1880-1901), v. 27, pt. 2, 499-506.