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July 1, 1863


McPherson’s Ridge, North of Chambersburg Pike
In response to the flanking maneuver of the 55th North Carolina
           on the 76th New York, 
       the commander, Major Grover ordered the 
                    right half of his regiment to face north 
          to confront the charging rebels.
 This was pulled off under fierce fire
              from, now, two fronts. 
     As the regiment faced to the west, 
      and now to the north, Major Grover
   placed himself between the two sides, 
         at the regiment’s salient.
  Enemy bullets from two sides, 
             he was struck and fell.

The 56th Pennsylvania, on the left of the poor New York Boys, 
        were facing another front attack
    from the 2nd Mississippi..
    Holding, but barely.

The 147th, to the front and left of the 56th, 
      in protection of Hall’s Battery
        stood strong, but clearly could not for long.

The Rebs came strong, again and again, against 
     these three regiments.
  Gaining more and more ground,
          killing more and more Yankees.
     Pushing them back
                in on their flanks.
  If something was not soon done, 
             all three could be captured.
       Many good men would needlessly die.

Wadsworth, division commander, seeing this, 
               ordered all three to retire
The 56th and 76th, nearly spent, 
          upon receiving the order, 
   near literally took flight.
                    It was not orderly. 
                    It was not gradual.
       They ran or died running
              to Oak Ridge,
                           (the northern extension of
                              Seminary Ridge).

But the 147th never received the order.
     Never saw the initial retreat.
  They did not know they were alone. 
        Did not know  their right flank
               became the Union’s right flank.
         Too far extended.
     Did not know that with no support to their right, 
            the two freed up Confederate regiments
        must soon come crashing down upon them.
                 Even behind them.

McPherson’s Ridge, South of Chambersburg Pike
Three of Meredith’s Iron Brigade regiments had
      advanced to their position and were exchanging intense fire
      with Rebels of Archer’s Brigade, 
                 advancing up the western slope of
           McPherson’s Ridge.

On the left, the 24th Michigan, the last of the advancing
        Union regiments, had no enemy to their front.
   They moved forward, passing the battle line of the
              rest of their brigade, 
       past the 19th Indiana, 
                  until they could clearly fire upon the flank
           of the 7th Tennessee.

The Tennessee boys, now receiving fire from
               their front and right, 
      shocked screams mixing with the
                  horrible din of battle,
    refused their right flank.
        But could not possibly hold.
 The surprised,
              out numbered
     and now out flanked
                  7th Tennessee fell back.

As the Confederate advance ground to a bloody halt, 
          the Union advance began.
    First from the left.

The 24th Michigan, barely stopping to fire, 
               continued down the western slope of McPherson’s Ridge.
   To their right, the 19th Indiana began to turn the flank
      of the 14th Tennessee, to their front.
Another push, the 14th fell back, 
          leaving the 13th Alabama, 1st Tennessee, and
        the 5th Alabama Battalion (as skirmishers)
              to hold off four Union regiments
    hellbent on advancing.

With half of Archer's Brigade in rapid retreat,
     the three remaining regiments, 
   feared envelopment
 from Meredith's advancing brigade. 
      Could wrap them up, 
      coming around Archer's right.
Seeing this, Archer ordered his brigade
    to rapidly fall back
   to the near bank of Willoughby Run.
They reached it and quickly formed
       into a defensive line. 
  But with their backs to the creek
     and the swiftly coming yankees
   closing in
 it was not difficult to understand
        that this position could not
          be held. 
As a brigade, and in disorder (increasing), 
    they retreated back across Willoughby Run.

McPherson's Ridge, North of Chambersburg Pike
 Gathering in the wood on Oak Ridge
  across the Pike from the Seminary:
        the 56th Pennsylvania
        the 76th New York
      many       less
            men than
      when formed up
    gaping holes
                 missing comrades
  now more work ahead.
The 55th North Carolina and 2nd Mississippi, 
    having just beaten the yanks 
   to near route, 
 moved onto the ground once held by these
     two battered Union regiments. 
Through suffocating smoke they could not see 
       that there was one more Union regiment
    remaining on the ridge.
 The 147th New York was abandoned
         and clinging for life. 
   But clinging well. 
These New York boys were also ignorant
       of the two reb regiments, 
      having troubles of their own from 
    the 42nd Mississippi:
          half of this southern band charging
         the New Yorkers
          half crossing the rail road cut
              disappearing into the 
        smoke haze
           of battle.
Mistakenly they believed they had flank support
     from the 56th Pennsylvania
          and 76th New York    
   and hardly expected two full 
            Confederate regiments
   to mysteriously appear on their right flank
  (now the right flank of the whole Union army)
        not only on their flank
       but coming quick
             from behind.
 The 147th now refused their right flank, 
      sent half the regiment at a 90 degree angle
     from the other half, still facing front.
   Now a giant (though not giant enough)
          right angle was formed upon the field. 
      The new line facing north, 
        took cover behind a convenient stone wall
      running parallel to the rail road cut.
          They faced the newly recognized
        55th North Carolina and
        2nd Mississippi.
 The 55th was actually to their right rear
     and coming quick.
Herr Ridge, South of Chambersburg Pike
Archer's retreating Confederates, 
     some still crossing Willoughby Run
   sporadically threw up make shift breastworks
    or took cover behind anything 
   Mother Nature could afford them.
 The tired, wounded and slow 
         were captured en mass. 
     (Nearly 200 before all was said and done.)
The brigade commander, General Archer, 
    standing nearly in solitude
  thirty or so yards from Willoughby Run
          felt a big Irish hand grapple his neck
        from behind. 
    A slight struggle, 
         but Archer was out matched by this private
      from the 2nd Wisconsin, 
              Patrick Maloney, 
     a big fellow
         and as Irish as you please.
Maloney insisted that the General
      kept his hand well above his head.
   No special treatment for the Brass
           from this old Mc.
Archer was taken to Captain Dow. 
     After Maloney presented the general 
        to the captain, 
   Archer, beaten, offered his
      beautifully engraved sword
         in humble surrender.
  Dow, a gentleman, obviously versed
       in some kind of etiquette
  A mere captain, as he was, would not
        think of accepting the surrender
       of a general. 
Instead, Dow sent captor and captive 
    further behind the lines to
   Lt. Dailey, who was now in charge of
        prisoners captured by the 2nd Wisconsin.
 Unlike Dow, Dailey was no gentleman.
    At once he demanded the general's sword.
Archer, hoping to surrender to an officer
        of at least equal rank
    Again, Dailey stated his demands.
        Your sword.
      "and your side arm"
             swiftly followed. 
 Archer was appalled. 
      A general asked to surrender
         his side arm?
Dailey restated.
    This time, seeing no clear path around it, 
  Archer complied.
He and Maloney 
     then moved further back, 
    slowly walking away from the clicking sounds
   of a captain unbuckling his old sword
        and replacing it with a new
      beautiful saber he happened upon.
Seeing Cutler's brigade crumbling, 
   Wadsworth had only one
regiment to throw into the fray.
The 6th Wisconsin was still being held
      in reserve 
  a half-mile away.
Word was sent to have them move to their right,
    towards the Chambersburg Pike
  to engage the advancing rebels.
Lt. Col. Rufus Dowes, they 6th Wisconsin's
        commanding officer
    moved his men out across the fields 
       between McPherson's Ridge and
            Seminary Ridge.

North of Chambersburg Pike, McPherson's Ridge
The men of Hall's Battery
    could now see four Confederate guns
  unlimbering only 500 yards to their front. 
       Far closer than the other guns
      in Pegram's Artillery.
 At this close range, 
    the day was about to heat up.
As if this added torment was not enough, 
   suddenly, to the right of the battery:
 Rebel infantry.
       Seemed to sprout up from the ground, 
      rose up from the rail road cut.
  Not 40 yards away.
This was half of the 42nd Mississippi.
      (The other half of which was 
      attacking the 147th New York)
  After crossing the rail road cut, 
     this half regiment were lumped together
    charging the right front of Hall's Battery.
 Hall's right section, two guns,
        spun to their right to meet the new attack.
   The two gun crews lifted the trail of the piece
     with the hand spike and
    easily aimed the cannon on the gunner's command.
 Each gun was quickly loaded with double cannister, 
   two metal "coffee" cans
   filled to the brim
   with thirty some steel balls.
Turned any cannon into an overgrown shotgun.
       When fired at nearly point blank range,
      one can hardly imagine the results.
 To end attempts at imagination, 
   both guns fired, 
  a blast, two at once. 
      The cannons recoiled from their own force. 
    But looking out, if you could see 
        through smoke:
     arms, legs, heads, 
       reddened the air
     ripped limbs from life
         and souls from bodies.
 What remained of these companies of
   the 42nd Mississippi
  slipped, shocked, 
      back into the rail road cut
  to more than lick their wounds. 
   Though not licked.
          There would be an again.
McPherson's Ridge, South of the Chambersburg Pike
General Doubleday, 
  just now coming onto the field
 not yet aware that the was in command of
      the entire battle, 
approached the McPherson farm.
     He spots and a friend from his old army days.
   Maybe memories flood him. 
        Maybe suddenly he is not on the battlefield, 
     and Archer is not in gray.
  Doubleday, maybe still swimming in his memories,
       "Good morning, Archer!"  
    He's visibly delighted to see again his
       old comrade,  
            "How are you? I’m glad to see you!"
  Unable to share in the magic of this reunion,
    Archer bitterly spits back, 
      "Well, I'm not glad to see you! 
       Not by a damn site!"
Abner Doubleday, now commander of all forces
   presently at Gettysburg, is stunned.
      Maybe now he is swept back from dusty memories.
    Saddly sends General James Archer to the rear.
Herr Ridge, South of the Chambersburg Pike
 The Iron Brigade of General Meredith 
  chased the retreating confederates to Herr Ridge.
 The Union boys halted at the crest
  and let out a loud, near boastful "hurrah!"
Deservedly so.
Meanwhile, Col. Birkett Fry, Archer's second in command,
  realizing Archer ws gone, took charge of his brigade.
 Attempted to bring order to confusion
     to form up a defensive line
    ward off the Union attack
  which was sure to come.
But Doubleday and Wadsworth thought that
    the Iron Brigade was far too advanced.
  The Union right had collapsed.
  The rebs were out there, lots of them.
What was there to stop them from cutting
      Meredith's boys from the main body?
        (at this point they were the only body)
Both sent word to Meredith to fall back 
   to McPherson's Ridge.
Dawes' 6th Wisconsin, still moving towards
  the Chambersburg Pike, 
 began to hear, feel rebel bullets
    singing their deadly songs
 over their heads.
Dawes spurred his mount to the front
  of the regiment.
      A dense thud, 
     his horse reeled.
 A stray shot had found her.
   She went down, throwing rider to the dust.

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