July 1, 1863
It did not take long for Davis to move his brigade
over Herr Ridge once the Union skirmishers
were cleared out.
Archer, on the other side of the pike, had crossed Willoughby Run
and pushed Gamble’s line back 200 yards until
the cavalrymen were in line with Calif’s guns.
The13th Alabama and 1st Tennessee, making up Archer’s right,
emerged from a wooded area, just cleared of
They now came under fire from Pergel’s section
and were ordered to advance at the double-quick to the
cover of the woods nearest to Willoughby Run.
Devin, just now meeting Davis, held his ground.
But all of the cavalry was nearly out of ammunition.
As was Calef.
How long could they hold now?
Wadsworth’s Division, consisting of Cutler’s and Meredith’s Brigades,
had split up.
Cutler moved towards Seminary Ridge and came to a halt,
the lead regiment, nearing the Chambersburg Pike.
As they formed into line of battle,
Hall’s Battery flew by them en route to McPherson’s Ridge,
cutting the brigade in two.
Meredith slinked along the small valley
to the front of Seminary Ridge
at the double-quick.
No stopping to load.
Load on the run.
Cutler’s Brigade, now in two parts, moved out over
Seminary Ridge towards McPherson’s.
Before them, bloomed a battle,
with their cavalry clearly giving ground.
Wounded men limping or crawling or dragging themselves
away from the lines.
Or some were helped, gun or comrade for a crutch.
Some on stretchers.
Couriers and aides crisscrossed from one
commander to another.
Halls battery was speeding down the Chambersburg Pike
as Calef’s right and middle sections were limbering up,
ready to roll out.
Reynolds had ordered Hall to relieve
the hard fought battery.
Though Pergel’s section, just south of Herbst’s Woods remained.
Passing to the front of the advancing brigade
was a bitterly angry civilian.
Still searching for a fight,
As Burns passed the 147th New York,
sarcasm flew from the mouth of one man:
“We are going to celebrate the Fourth
for you, old fellow.”
Never to out done,
John Burns fired back:
“It’s a little early in the month,
but I’ll help you do it.”
Just east of Willoughby Run, South of the Chambersburg Pike.
Archer’s Southerners had come only 1,000 yards from
Calef’s remaining section.
Two guns near Herbst’s Woods.
As they pushed up the ridge,
they could see Union reinforcements just now coming
up on the double-quick.
The space vacated by Calef’s two sections on either side of
Chambersburg Pike, was now filled by the six guns
of Halls Battery.
Their line stretched from the Pike itself, right,
to the unfinished railroad cut.
This position was and exposed peninsula, with no
infantry support to speak of.
But infantry was not their concern just yet.
the five Confederate batteries of Pegram’s Artillery
took notice of this new target,
bombarding as Hall set up.
Once set up, there was a steady reply.
Cutler’s Brigade had now reached the McPherson Farm,
halting just east of the barn.
To their front, Gamble’s and Archer’s Brigades
still slugged it out.
Two of Cutler’s regiments, the 56th Pennsylvania and 76th New York,
having been severed
from the brigade with the passing of
Hall’s Battery, were rushing off to face the enemy.
The three remaining,
the 14th Brooklyn, 95th New York
and the147th New York,
having waited for Hall to pass,
waited for orders, resting around,
even in the McPherson Barn.
The 55th North Carolina, of Davis’ Confederate brigade
could see the 56th and 76th crossing the rail road cut.
The regiment formed on the crest of Forney Ridge,
a slight westerly extension of McPherson’s Ridge
and waited for the two Union regiments to
maneuver into position.
Davis through out his skirmishers towards the advancing Yankees
of Cutler’s brigade.
To Cutler’s left,
Meredith’s Iron Brigade was forming up
advancing en echelon from right to left:
held in reserve.
Peering over their shoulders, Buford’s tired men
saw this division coming up
and breathed a collective sigh of relief,
Now, even if beaten back,
the ground could be held.
As Buford’s men saw their approaching infantry
Pegram also took notice.
Ordered fire down upon them.
As shells fell among the fresh ranks,
men and boys died before firing a single shot.
Reynolds ordered Hall’s Battery to
inflict as much damage on Pegram’s guns
as they could.
Divert their fire from our infantry.
Then I’ll retire you to a safer, less exposed position.
But first, hammer away.
With fresh troops forming up behind them,
Buford told Gamble to prepare to retire
most of his men.
The men now had to be literally dragged away.
Some chose not to leave at all.
This was their fight.
But for the most part,
Gamble’s tired men mounted up
and rode off to cover the infantry’s left flank.
They greeted their infantry brethren, bidding them,
“Go in and give them hell!”
Pergel’s section still firing, required support.
A squadron or two saw to that.
North of the Chambersburg Pike, McPherson’s Ridge.
As the 56th Pennsylvania and the 76th New York of
Cutler’s Brigade made their way
up to relieve Devon, Pegram’s Artillery
inflicting more casualties.
Both Regiments, the 76th in front, formed up
in the field between the railroad cut and
coming close to neither
and leaving a large gap between the 56th, on the left,
and Hall’s Battery.
Division Commander, General Wadsworth,
wanted the 147th New York to move from
the McPherson’s farm to fill the gap.
And sent an aide to get them.
General Reynolds received a courier message from General Doubleday.
What to do with the Second and Third Divisions of
the First Corps coming up shortly?
It seemed to be already worked out in Reynolds’ head,
Doubleday must hold the Fairfield Road
Reynolds, the Chambersburg Pike.
The 147th New York’s regimental commander, Major Grover,
still without orders,
ill-content with simply resting near the McPherson barn,
sought out his orders.
Somehow found Wadsworth.
Support Hall’s Right.
Fill the gap.
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