Who was Turner anyway?

Who was Turner anyway?

Click on this image to find out who Turner was.

Field Musicians Wanted!

A Turner Bugler, 2004

Click on this image to learn about opportunities as a bugler, fifer or drummer with the Turner Brigade.

The Battle of Gettysburg [Third Day–New York Herald]


July and August 1863

From The Missouri Democrat, Thursday, July 9, 1863.



Total Defeat and Rout of the Rebel Army.


Terrible Charge of the Rebels Under Hill and Longstreet.


[Correspondence of the N. Y. Herald]

GETTYSBURG, July 4, 1863.


During Thursday night our Army was all brought up, and most admirably disposed of by General Meade for the apprehended battle of Friday. At midnight a council of war was held, at which it was determined that the enemy would probably renew the attack at daylight on the following morning, and that for that day we had better act purely on the defensive. Dispositions were therefore made this view for the 11th and 12th Corps to hold the right, with reinforcements of fresh troops expected during the day to act as a reserve; the 1st and 2d the center, and the 5th and 6th the left, with the 3d as a reserve.


The line was formed in this manner during the night, the left resting on the mountains between the Tarrytown and Emmitsburg roads, and the left at the base of the mountain, opposite the Cemetery Hill; the line encircling the cemetery and embracing the upper portion of the town. Our artillery on Cemetery Hill was largely reinforced from the artillery reserve and earthworks thrown up in front of it. Batteries were also planted on all the commanding positions within the lines, and such of the reserve as was not thus disposed of was held for use in the field, where and as occasion demanded it. The dispositions were most admirably made, and reflected the highest credit on the Commanding general.


Scarcely were these dispositions perfected and wearied soldiers thrown themselves upon the ground to catch an hour’s repose, when at the first dawn of morning, the enemy opened on our left, with musketry and artillery. Our men sprang to their arms with promptness, and in the grey light of morning the contest opened. To a casual observer the attack seemed fierce, and determine, but the critical could discern that it was much less vigorous than the assault of the previous evening, thus clearly showing that it was a mere demonstration to cover movements elsewhere. Still it was an obstinate assault and raged with much pertinacity. But it deceived no one; and though the battle raged for several hours with great fury, our chief attention was wisely directed toward the right.


One of our batteries opened, and kept up a continuous and heavy shelling of the woods to the north and east of the town in front of our lines, through which it was conjectured that the enemy was crowding his columns to flank that wing. The conjecture was perfectly correct, as subsequent developments proved. It ultimately was shown that Longstreet had been withdrawn from the enemy’s right, where he had fought on the previous day, and was moving around to reinforce Ewell on their left against our right. Our fierce cannonading retarded their movements somewhat, but still they pressed on, and between nine and ten o’clock engaged our infantry in earnest.


The western slope of this mountain is precipitous and covered with a dense growth of heavy timber, rendering observation of the fighting in this locality extremely difficult, and the position of the contending parties could only be discerned by curling wreaths of smoke. This indication, which showed the enemy’s position, caused us to place a half a dozen batteries in position, and there were kept at play, covering the line with spiteful shells burning in the air and among tree tops, spreading consternation and dismay throughout the rebel ranks. Still they were held up to their work and fought like demons, gaining some ground at first though our men yielded only inch by inch, and fought at close hand,. At first the line, as indicated by the smoke, ran perpendicularly up the mountain; but as the battle progressed, its regular form was broken. First the right, then left, anon the center yielding a trifle or gaining a slight advance, though in the main we were forced back. At this time the fight was raging hot on left and right, and nearly the whole of our heavy artillery as well as that attached to the several corps, was engaged.


We had more artillery at work than I have known at any time in the operations of this army. The enemy, too, had a large number of batteries at play in different localities, though throwing principally solid shot with which they endeavored more faithfully to silence our batteries. Thus the roar of cannon was unparalleled, drowning completely the less noisy though no less continuous rattle of musketry that raged along the line. The demonstration was grand and awful. Not less than three hundred cannon were belching forth their thunders, while nearly two hundred thousand muskets were being discharged as rapidly as men hurried with excitement and passion could load and discharge them.


At this critical juncture, when our right was sorely pressed and the fate of the day seemed wavering, a considerable detachment of fresh troops arrived and were immediately put into line on the right. Where there reinforcements came from or what they were I have not been able to learn. They were raw recruits, wearing untarnished uniforms, and bearing arms that were unsullied by use. But they wheeled into line like veterans, and corps engaged in this heroic and deadly struggle until the tale of heroism displayed, and noble martyrdom suffered.


I only relate the general result. We drove the enemy back with terrible slaughter. The woods on the steep slopes of that lofty mountain are crowded with mangled corpses, to tell of the fierceness of the contest, and in their piles of fallen men like national and rebel troops intermixed fought like heroes. Their coming was fortunate, and their aid determined the event of the battle. No sooner did they commence their work than the enemy began to fall back, and from that moment we steadily crowded them until falling back became retreat, and retreat a rout.


The effort to turn our right thus failed as signally as had failed the effort on our left, and again we were gloriously victorious. Let your correspondents with the particular showing how the contest swayed and how closely it was urged. But thickest and deepest are the bodies of rebels. It was a struggle for life or death with them, and they fought as men only will fight when existence is the stake for which they contend. But they did not yield the victory with this repulse on their right. They had tried both our flanks and had failed in each attempt.


The center was yet untried. Seizing a few moments for rest, they again mustered their forces and prepared to assail the center. Here, though we have not fresh troops, we had those who had a day’s rest.


had assisted to some extent in the engagement on the left of the previous day, but the first had been idle since the battle of Wednesday; and though greatly reduced in number, were fully rested and anxious once more to show their prowess; when the attack came their two corps were thoughtfully prepared for it, and having an open field in which to fight did noble work. You have correspondents with these corps who will fully narrate their deeds of heroism, and the noble manner in which they drove back their assailants.


was of shorter duration but of no less fierceness than that upon the left or right. But the enemy was too much demoralized and too badly punished to enter into engagement with much earnestness, and were easily driven back.

They marched up the hill and speedily marched down again, sadly worsted by the encounter, leaving the field strewn all over with their dead and dying. Yet again they rallied, and ranging their corps along our line, prepared for a final assault, as if determined to discover a weak point somewhere; and soon the attack came. At every point they assailed us and at all points met earnest men and frowning batteries, dealing death and destruction without stint. Their morale was broken and their assault was but week. Crowded forward by desperate commanders they came to the work in solid columns, but meeting the inevitable storm of bullets and canister that had so fearfully thinned their ranks during the day, they were not to be held under it.


In wild disorder they fell back first in one position and then in another, until they were everywhere repulsed, and at 5 P. M. the last of them had withdrawn. It had been a terrible day. The ground all around was red with blood and covered with mangled bodies. We had gained a most decisive victory by acting wholly on the defensive. The day was ours beyond all question.


captured during the engagement attempted the demoralization of the enemy’s army. The fields trampled by the contending forces were spread with evidence of the great punishment the enemy had received; where our burying parties found the national soldier to inter, two rebels were found lying by his side.


Our ambulances brought in the wounded of both armies alike, and though at first in skirting along the field they picked up only Union men, as they advanced they found a large preponderance of rebels deserted by their comrades in the precipitancy of their flight. Very hastily and very generally I have sketched an account of the fiercest, most desperate and sanguinary battle of the war. Its results must send a thrill of joy through every loyal heart.

Another Thrilling Account.

[Correspondence of the New York Times.]

Saturday Night, July 4, 1863.

Who can write the history of a battle where eyes are immovably fastened upon a central figure of transcendingly absorbing interest – the dead body of an oldest born, crushed by a shell in a position where a battery should never have been sent, and abandoned to death in a building where surgeons dared not to stay!

The battle of Gettysburgh! I am told that it is commenced on the 1st of July, a mile north of the town, between two weak brigades of infantry and some doomed artillery, and the whole force of the rebel army. Among other costs of this error, was the death of Reynolds. Its value was priceless, however, though priceless was the young and the old blood with which it was bought. The error put us on the defensive, and gave us the choice of position. From the moment that our artillery and infantry rolled back through the main street of Gettysburg and rolled out of the town to the circle of eminences south of it, we were not to attack but to be attacked. The risks, the difficulties and the disadvantage of the coming battle were the enemy’s. Ours were the heights for artillery; ours the short, inside lines, for maneuvering and reinforcing; ours the cover of stonewalls, fences and the crests of hills. The ground upon which we were driven to accept battle was wonderfully favorable to us. A popular description of it would be to say that it was in form an elongated and somewhat shattered horseshoe, with the toe to Gettysburg and the heel to the south.

Lee’s plan of battle was simple. He massed batteries upon the east side of the [illegible] and thundered on it obstinately to [illegible]…and complete discipline of the army of the Potomac repelled the attack. It was renewed at the point of the shoe – renewed desperately at the southwest [illegible] – renewed on the westerly side with an effort consecrated by success by Ewell’s earnest [illegible], and on which the fate of the invasion of Pennsylvania was fully put at stake. Only a perfect infantry and artillery education, the midst of charges of hostile brigades could possibly have sustained this assault. Hancock’s corps did sustain it, and has covered itself with immortal honor by its constancy and courage. The total wreck of Cushing’s battery – [illegible] of the killed and wounded – the losses of officers men and horses [illegible] sustained – and the [illegible] outspread upon the board of death of dead soldiers and dead animals – of dead soldiers in blue, and dead soldiers in gray – more marvelous to me than anything I have ever seen in war – were a ghastly and shocking testimony to the terrible fight of the second corps that no one will gainsay. That corps will ever have the distinction of breaking the pride and power of the rebel invasion.

For such details as I have the heart for. The battle commenced at daylight, on the side of the horseshoe position, exactly opposite to that which Ewell had sworn to crush through. Musketry preceded the rising of the sun. The wood veiled this fight, but out of its leafy darkness arose the smoke and the surging and awaiting of the fire, from intermittent to continuous and crushing, told of the wise tactics of the rebels of the attacking in force and changing their troops. Seemingly the attack of the day was to be made through that wood. The demonstration was protracted – it was absolutely preparative; but there was no artillery fire accompanying the musketry, and shrewd officers in our western front mentioned, with the gravity due to the fact, that the rebels had felled trees at intervals upon the edge of the wood they occupied in face of our position. There were breastworks for the protection of artilleryman.

Suddenly, and about 10 in the forenoon, the firing on the east side, and everywhere about our lines, ceased. A silence as of deep sleep fell upon the field of battle. Our army cooked, ate and slumbered. The rebel army moved 120 guns to the west, and massed there Longstreet’s corps and Hill’s corps, to hurl them upon the really weakest point of our position.

Eleven o’clock – twelve o’clock – one o’clock. In the shadow cast by the tiny farm house 16 by 20, which Gen. Meade had made his headquarters, lay wearied staff officers and tired reporters. There was not wanting to the peacefulness of the scene the singing of a bird, which had a nest in a peach tree within the tiny yard of the white-washed cottage. In the midst of its warbling, a shell screamed over the house, instantly followed by another, and another, and in a moment the air was full of the most complete artillery prelude to an infantry battle that was ever exhibited. Every size and form of shell known to British and to American gunnery shrieked, whirled, moaned, whistled and wrathfully [illegible-“duttered”?] over our ground. As many as six in a second, constantly two in a second, burating [sic] and screaming over and around the headquarters, made a very hell of fire that amazed the oldest officer. They burst in the yard – first next to the fence on both sides, garnished as usual with the hitched horses of aids and orderlies. The fastened animals reared and plunged with terror. Then one fell, then another – sixteen lay dead and mangled before the fire ceased, still fastened by their halters, which gave the expression of being wickedly tied up to die painfully. These brute victims of a cruel war touched all hearts. Through the midst of the storm of screaming and exploding shells, and ambulance, driven by its frenzied conductor at full speed, presented to all of us a marvelous spectacle of a horse going rapidly on three legs. A hinder one had been shot off at the hock. A shell tore up the little step of the Headquarters cottage and ripped bags of oats as with a knife. Another soon carried off one of its two pillars. Soon a spherical case burst opposite the open door – another ripped through the low garret. The remaining pillar went almost immediately to the howl of a fixed shot that Whitworth must have made. During this fire the houses at twenty and thirty feet distant, were receiving their death, and soldiers in Federal blue were torn to pieces in the road and died with the peculiar yells that blend the extorted cry of pain with horror and despair. Not an orderly – not an ambulance – not a straggler was to be seen upon the plain swept by this tempest of orchestral death thirty minutes after it commenced. Were not one hundred and twenty pieces of artillery trying to cut from the field every battery we had in position to resist their purposed infantry attack, and to sweep away the slight defenses behind which our infantry were waiting? Forty minutes – fifty minutes – counted on watches that ran! Oh so languidly. Shells through the two lower rooms. A shell into the chimney that did not explode. Shells in the yard. The air thicker and fuller and more deafening with the howling and whirring of these infernal missiles. The chief of staff struck – Seth Williams – loved and respected through the army separated from instant death by two inches of space vertically measured. And a board with a fragment of iron through the bone of his arm. Another, cut with an exploding piece. And the time measured on the sluggish watches was one hour and forty minutes.

Then there was a lull, and we knew that the rebel infantry was charging. And splendidly they did this work – the highest and severest test of of the stuff that soldiers are made of. Hill’s division, in line of battle, came first on the double quick. Their muskets at the “right shoulder shift.” Longstreet’s came as the support, at the usual distance, with war strict and a savage insolence as yet untutored by defeat. They rushed in perfect order across the open field up to the very muzzles of the guns, which tore lanes through them as they came. But they met men who were their equals in spirit and their superiors in tenacity. There never was better fighting since Thermopylae than was done yesterday by our infantry and artillery. The rebels were over our defenses. They had cleaned cannoniers [sic] and horses from one of the guns, and were whirling it around to use upon us. The bayonet drove them back. But so hard-pressed was this brave infantry that at one time, from the exhaustion of their ammunition, every battery upon the principal crest of the attack was silenced, except for Crowen’s. His service of grape and canister was awful. It enabled our line, outnumbered two to one, first to beat back Longstreet, and then to charge upon him, and take a great number of his men and himself prisoners. Strange sight! So terrible was our musketry and artillery fire, that when Arm[i]stead’s brigade was checked in its charge, and stood reeling, all of its men dropped their muskets and crawled on their hands and knees, underneath the stream of shot, till close to our troops, where they made signs of surrendering. They passed through our ranks scarcely noticed, and slowly went down the slope to the road in the rear.

Before they got there the grand charge of Ewell, solemnly sworn to and carefully prepared, had failed.

The rebels had retreated to their lines, and opened anew the storm of shell and shot from their 120 guns. Those who remained at the riddled headquarters, will never forget the crouching, and dodging, and running, of the butternut-colored captives when they got under this, their friends’ fire. It was appalling to me as good soldiers even as they were.

What remains to say of the fight? It straggled surlily on the middle of the horse shoe on the west, grew big and angry on the heel of the southwest, lasted there till 3 o’clock in the evening, when the fighting 6th corps went joyously by as a reinforcement through the wood, bright with coffee pots on the fire

I leave details to my excellent friend and associate, Mr. Henry. My pen is heavy. Oh, you dead, who at Gettysburgh have baptized with your blood the second birth of freedom in America, how you are to be envied! I rise from a grave whose wet clay I have passionately kissed and I look up and see Christ spanning this battlefield with his feet and reaching fraternally and lovingly up to heaven. His right hand opens the gates of Paradise – with his left he beckons to these mutilated, bloody, swollen forms to ascend.


Capt. Cushing, company A, 4th regular artillery, was killed, and his battery suffered severely. The gallantry of this officer is beyond praise. Severely wounded early in the afternoon, he refused to leave his post beside his guns, but continued to pour grape and canister into the advancing columns of the rebels until they reached the very muzzles of his pieces, and sure of their capture, were attempting to turn them upon our forces, when they were driven off by our infantry. At this moment Capt. Cushing received his death wound, and fell lifeless to the earth. Heaps of corpses and wounded in front of his battery this morning, told the terrible tale of the effectiveness of its fire.

None of the company were taken prisoners by the rebels. After the battle but one gun of this battery remained uninjured – the rest having been dismounted or destroyed by the terrible fire of the enemy, which for some time was concentrated upon the batteries upon this part of the field. In front of this position fell dead the rebel General Dick Garnett, who was courageously leading his men in this charge upon our batteries on Crow Hill. The rebel General Arm[i]stead was also wounded here while advancing at the head of his brigade.

About fifty yards in front of our batteries was a stone wall, running from our center in a southwesterly direction, behind which laid several of our regiments, picking off the enemy as they advanced up the slope of the hill. Notwithstanding the terrible fire poured into their ranks from our guns, so impetuous was the charge of the rebels that they drove our men from their position, and were advancing upon our batteries, several of which they captured, but the capture was only temporary. General Gibbon’s division, composed of Gens. Webb’s, Harrell’s and Hall’s brigades, at the point of the bayonet, drove them back over the stone wall into the plain below.

General Gibbon’s division captured fourteen stands of colors and a large number of prisoners. Twenty-eight stands of colors in all were captured by the 2d corps.

Gen. Armistead, when taken prisoner, asked immediately for Gen. Meade, who was his classmate at West Point.

Captain Hayden, of the 1st Minnesota, was captured, escaped, seized a musket and seized a rare opportunity, and actually made ten rebels surrender. While marching them to Gen. Gibbon’s quarters, a rebel behind a tree on the way drew a bead on him with his rifle. Hayden saw him in time to bring his piece to a level, and cry out “Surrender.” The fellow actually threw down his gun and joined the cavalcade, and Hayden came with eleven captives.

Wounded prisoners taken in Gettysburg this morning report that General Bradley L. Johnson, of Maryland, was killed in Thursday’s attack on our right. He was struck by a shell while charging our lines at the head of his division. General Hood is also reported to have had his leg shot off, and from the effects of which he has since died.

Rebel officers with whom I have conversed frankly admit that the result of the last two days has been most disastrous to their cause, which depended, they say, upon the success of Lee’s attempts to transfer the seat of war from Virginia to the northern border States. A wounded rebel Colonel told me that, in the first and second days’ fight, the rebel losses were between ten and eleven thousand. Yesterday they were greater still. In one part of the field, in a space not more than twenty feet in circumference, in front of Gen. Gibbon’s division, I counted seven dead rebels, three of whom were piled on top of each other. And close by in a spot not more than fifteen feet square lay fifteen “graybacks,” stretched in death. These were the adventurous spirits, which in the face of the terrible stream of canister, shell and musketry, scaled the fence wall in their attempt upon our batteries. Very large numbers of wounded were also strewn around, not to mention more who had crawled away or been taken away. The field in front of the stone wall was literally covered with dead and wounded, a large proportion of whom were rebels. Where our musketry and artillery took effect they lay in swaths, as if mowed down with the scythe. [Illegible] presented a horrible sight – such as has never yet been witnessed during the war. Not less than ten thousand dead and wounded [illegible]…