Make your own free website on

July 1, 1863


Calef rode over to meet with General Buford. 
     He wanted this to begin.    
   But Buford wanted the guns placed, not together,
         but scattered
      to make six guns appear  
      to be more than six guns.

Two were placed on the north side of the pike.
Two on the south side, 
            Both on McPherson’s Ridge.
The last two, 
          usually Sergeant Charles Pergel’s center section,
   were placed near Herbst’s Woods
       500 yards south of the Chambersburg Pike.

 In short order, 
      Calef picked up and began to move
             to his new position.

Seeing Archer at rest, 
        Heth ordered him forward.
   But Davis’ Brigade had not yet
      reached Herr Ridge.
What was ahead today?

How can one brigade
         especially as small as Archer’s
    simply wander by its lonesome 
        into that unknown?
Archer would not move in unsupported.

If we cannot have infantry, then we shall have artillery.
    Seventeen of Pegram’s guns were now
   placed in scattered positions between
          Belmont Schoolhouse Ridge and Herr Ridge.
      Ordered to fire.
  Now they were whaling away.       

Reynolds receives Buford’s courier message:
          Rebs coming down Chambersburg Pike.
      Sends word to Meade and Howard,
                to Wadsworth. 

 Also sends Hall’s Battery B of Maine
             to get between the Rebs and Gettysburg
    and throw a few shells.


Reynolds leaves his advancing columns to meet with Buford 
          near McPherson’s Hill.


Davis was now abreast with Archer’s Brigades, 
          both still in column.
  No longer singular, 
              Archer ordered his brigade
    up and over the crest of Herr Ridge,
                  swinging south 
         to deploy in line of battle. 
  While Davis, with no chance to rest,
            continued forward, 
       edging north, 
                rushing into line.

3,000 Confederates were now aligning themselves
        for action, 
                though mostly hidden from Union view.
  And waited.

Buford’s pickets were now falling back to Willoughby Run, 
          just at the western slope of McPherson’s Ridge.
       Behind them, Calef’s guns.
   As Colonel Devin moved his brigade to a safer location
            to his rear, along a tree line and a
       stone wall along the northern extension of 
         Seminary Ridge.

With his battery now in its new position, 
        Calef was observing Pergel’s section
      near Herbst Woods.
 Around him
           around them all
                        the sounds of skirmishing
                        the sounds of Pegram’s guns
  It grew on him.  Almost to the back of his mind.
           Like the chirping of birds
                   or water in a stream.

But one blast
            from the right
        caught him by surprise.
   A gun fired.   One of his guns.
      From his right section.
No order had been given to fire.

Today Lt. John Rider, gunner of a piece 
          in Calef’s right section
   took matters into
         his own hands
  As  Davis’ Brigade was coming over
       Herr Ridge, he saw an opportunity.
   Why not shoot?
Unable to stomach that irresistible urge,
          he ordered his gun to fire.

Calef, now introduced to the spirit of his boys
     ordered all guns to fire.

Pegram’s Confederate guns, now with something to 
               focus their fire upon
     took aim at Calef’s battery.

For nearly thirty minutes this lop-sided 
        affair played out.
  Calef over shooting, 
                     but landing his shots among
      Pettigrew’s Brigade
  now coming up Herr Ridge
        still behind Pegram’s Battery lines. 


Lt. Jerome, in the cupola of the Seminary, 
      spots General Reynolds and a 
               column of blue infantry
          one mile off.
  Sends word to Buford, 
               who, without delay
      joins Jerome,
   borrowing his field glasses. 

Reynolds is coming.
          Thank God.
“Now we can hold this place.”

He followed Reynolds with his eyes
      but work ahead.

 Until within earshot, 
    Reynolds the first to call out, understating
           “What’s the matter, John?”

Buford calmly returns,
   “The devil’s to pay.”

And descends to meet Reynolds.


Major E. P. Holstead of Doubleday’s First Corps staff
             rode to meet up with Reynolds near the Seminary:

   Return word to Doubleday, 
                     Hurry your men.

The youngest on Reynolds staff was Captain Weld.
                         To General Meade:
    The enemy is advancing in strong force.
         “I will fight him inch by inch, 
           and if driven into town
                      I will barricade the streets.”

Back to main page.