Report of Col. Calvin A. Craig,
One hundred and fifth Pennsylvania Infantry.
HEADQUARTERS 105TH PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS,
July 11, 1863.
LIEUTENANT: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this regiment in the battle of Gettysburg, Pa., from July 1 to 4, inclusive:
On the afternoon of the 1st instant, the regiment moved with the rest of the brigade at 1.15 p. in., with 20 officers and 257 men, from a point about 1 mile east of Emmitsburg, Md., where we had encamped the night previous, and marched to a point about half a mile west of the town and near the Hagerstown road, where we received orders to encamp.
At 4 p. m. the order was countermanded, and we took up the line of march in the direction of Gettysburg, Pa. The march was a very severe one and fatigued the men very much, but the regiment stood the march well, and when the brigade bivouacked for the night 1 mile south of Gettysburg, we had only 3 men who had fallen out of the ranks on the march. These rejoined us during the night. On the morning of the 2d, we moved with the balance of the brigade a short distance, when line of battle was formed about half a mile east of and parallel with the Emmitsburg road, in which position we remained until 11.15 a. in., when we received orders to move to the front to support the Sixty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers, who were deployed as skirmishers along the Emmitsburg road. My regiment took position immediately in their rear, with Companies A, F, D, I, and C deployed, the other companies in reserve. The fire from the enemy’s sharpshooters was severe. One man was killed very soon after we got into position.
At 1 p. m. orders were received from General Graham to rejoin the brigade, and to take position in rear of the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, and on the right of the One hundred and fourteenth Pennsylvania Volunteers, in column doubled on the center.
The regiment remained in this position until 2 p. m. We then moved forward with the brigade to a point near the brick house on the Emmitsburg road, where we halted and deployed, still maintaining our relative positions, my right resting on a by-road running at right angles with the Emmitsburg road. At this time the enemy opened with his artillery a very destructive fire. My regiment suffered a loss of some 12 men while in this position.
At 4 p. m. we again moved forward near the brick house and immediately in its rear. At this time I noticed the enemy’s infantry advancing from the woods on the left of the house and in its rear, and seeing that I could do nothing in the position I then occupied (in the rear of the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers), and that I must necessarily suffer severely, I ordered the regiment forward to fill a vacancy on the right of the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, in the front line and a little beyond the Emmitsburg road.
Having gained this position, the fire from the enemy being very severe, we immediately opened fire.
After occupying this position for a short time, I noticed the regiments on my immediate left (One hundred and fourteenth and Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers) cluster in groups behind the brick house and adjacent out-buildings. A few moments later the One hundred and fourteenth fell to the rear, and the Fifty-seventh very soon followed, leaving my left flank entirely unprotected. The enemy, taking advantage of this, advanced across the Emmitsburg road, in front of the house, and immediately opened fire upon our left flank. Seeing this, I ordered my regiment to retire slowly a short distance, and changed front to the rear on the first company. A small remnant of the Fifty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers rallied with us, and formed line along the by-road before mentioned, where we again opened fire, and checked the advancing rebels for a few minutes; but the regiment being so small and both flanks being entirely unprotected, I ordered the regiment to retire slowly, and formed line again a short distance to the rear. The troops in our rear by this time were beginning to be effective, and the brigade having gone to the rear, I formed with these troops, and fought with them, sometimes advancing and sometimes retreating, but do not know whose troops they were.
Soon after, I saw General Humphreys, and formed line with some of his troops. From this point we advanced steadily until we had regained nearly all the ground we had lost. Noticing at this time three pieces of artillery that had been abandoned by our artillerists and turned upon us by the advancing rebels (and who were in turn compelled to abandon them), I sent forward my few remaining men to bring them off the field, but being unable to bring them all off, I got assistance from some men of the Excelsior Brigade with two of the pieces, and brought the third off the field with my own men. I withdrew all my men with this piece, and finally delivered it to Sergt. Daniel A. Whitesell, Battery C, Fifth U. S. Artillery, who identified it as one of the pieces belonging to that battery.
About this time, Captain [Timothy L.] Maynard, of General Graham’s staff, came up. I reported to him for orders from General Graham, and was informed that the corps was forming at a certain point. I moved the regiment, but could, not find the brigade (it was now quite dark), but formed on the right of the Third Brigade.
Soon after, I moved under the direction of Lieutenants Benson and [George W.] Perkins, of General Graham’s staff, and joined the brigade, and bivouacked for the night.
The next morning, July 3, we again moved forward with the brigade, and occupied a position in the third line of battle and in the rear of the Fifth Corps, where we remained until about 2p.m. when we were again ordered with the brigade to the center, our forces there having been attacked, and formed line of battle in the rear of the batteries at that point. We remained in this position until 9 p.m., when the regiment with the brigade moved to the front and formed line of battle on the first line, relieving the Vermont Brigade, of the First Corps. We remained in this position during the night. In the morning, the line was withdrawn and the troops occupying it marched a short distance to the rear. The entire rebel front line had also retired. Several unimportant movements took place during the day, but nothing worthy of note.
The entire killed in the regiment during this time was 1 officer killed, 13 officers wounded, 7 enlisted men killed, 101 enlisted men wounded, and 9 enlisted men missing, making a total of 131 men. *
The regiment never fought better or with more enthusiasm. The list of casualties proves with what determination they contested every inch of ground. Fourteen officers out of 17 combatants were either killed or wounded, and 117 men out of 257 were either killed, wounded, or missing, being nearly one-half of the entire number taken into action. No instance of cowardice occurred during the engagements. All seemed to feel that they were fighting on the soil of their native State, and that they would either conquer or yield up their lives in her defense.
I cannot make particular mention of individual bravery. All, both officers and men, seemed imbued with the same spirit, which was one of determination never to yield, but to fight to the bitter end, and until there was not a single rebel in arms to pollute the soil of their native State.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. A. CRAIG,
Colonel One hundred and fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Lient. R. DALE BENSON,
A. A. A. G., First Brigade, First Division, Third Corps.