History of the Laurel Brigade By William Naylor McDonald

COPYRIGHT. 1907. BY MRS. KATE S. McDONALD, pages 157-161

Next day, the 4th of July, Lee’s whole army began its march back to the Potomac. Jones’ brigade and Robertson’s were ordered to hold the passes of Jack Mountain and keep back Federal raiders from the wagon train.

In the evening it was reported that the enemy was advancing in force on the Emmitsburg and Waynesboro roads.

General Jones, fearing that Ewell’s train, then on its way to Williamsport, would be attacked, asked leave to go with his command to protect it. He was allowed the Sixth and Seventh regiments, and Chew’s battery, but the Seventh was afterwards ordered back and the Fourth North Carolina, under Colonel Fernbee, took its place.

It rained incessantly all night; the road was soon badly cut up; the ruts got deeper and deeper. At many points where mountain streams crossed the road the weaker teams would stall and block the way. Through the mud and darkness the artillery floundered along. Wagons with broken axles abandoned by their drivers had to be passed, and sometimes broken-down ambulances filled with wounded were encountered. «

It being wholly impracticable to push ahead the artillery, or even the cavalry, General Jones went forward with his staff.

Arriving at the junction of the Emmitsburg road with the one upon which the train was moving towards Williamsport, he found there Capt. G. M. Emack’s Company of Maryland, with one gun, opposed to a whole division of Federal cavalry with a full battery.

“He had already been driven back within a few hundred yards of the junction of the roads. Not half of the long train had passed.

“This little band of heroes was encouraged with the hope of speedy reinforcements, reminded of the importance of their trust, and exhorted to fight to the bitter end rather than yield. All my couriers and all others with firearms were ordered to the front, directed to lie on the ground, and be sparing with ammunition. The last charge of grape was expended and the piece sent to the rear.

“For more than two hours less than fifty men kept many thousands in check, and the wagons continued to pass along while the balls were whistling in their midst.”5

At last the Federals with a cavalry charge swept away resistance and got possession of the road.

General Jones in the darkness was separated from all his command and made his way through the woods to Williamsport. Here he found everything in confusion, and began to reorganize the stragglers for the defense of Lee’s army train.

The enemy was momentarily expected. But soon a force of Confederate cavalry and infantry arrived and General Imboden [Jones, not Imboden] took command.

‘Jones’ Report.

General Jones now made his way back through the enemy’s lines to his brigade on the night of the 5th. In the morning he rejoined his brigade at Leitersburg, and returned with it by way of Smithtown and Cavetown and the old Frederick Road, so as to participate in the attacks on General Kilpatrick at Hagerstown.

General Kilpatrick, who had pushed Jones and Emack aside at Monterey Gap, captured over 300 prisoners and forty wagons.

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The Union Pursuit Out of Waynesboro

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 3 (Gettysburg Campaign), Page 991

[CONFIDENTIAL.] JULY 10, 1863-5. 30 a. m.

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Confederate General Robert E. Lee

Major General J. E. B. STUART:

GENERAL: I received last evening your note of the 9th, relative to information brought by your scouts. During the night, Lieutenant [Thomas L.] Norwood, Thirty-seventh North Carolina Regiment, who was wounded at Gettysburg and made his escape, arrived. He reports he passed at Waynesborough what he supposed a division of the enemy, though it was called a heavy column. He also stated he heard that another column was passing down toward Boonsborough, and a third to Fredericktown. Notify [B. H.] Robertson to be on the lookout, and offer stiff resistance. Lieutenant N. says that General Couch, with Pennsylvania militia, was at Chambersburg. We must prepare for a vigorous battle, and trust in the mercy of God and the valor of our troops. Get your men in hand, and have everything ready.

Very truly,

R. E. LEE, General.

Report of General Joseph Knipe At Waynesboro, Encamped at Washington Township

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Union General Joseph Knipe

HEADQUARTERS FIRST DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF THE SUSQUEHANNA, Waynesborough, July 11, 1863.

 

The brigadier-general commanding calls the attention of the command to the certainty of an early with the enemy, and it is strictly enjoined upon brigade, regimental, and company commanders to attend at once to the condition of the arms and ammunition of the men under them. No time is to be lost in putting the arms in perfect order, and seeing that the boxes are filled with cartridges. The rations on hand must be cooked and out in haversacks, so that no detention will ensue when the order to march is given, and also that the men may not suffer for food when it may be impossible for the supply trains to reach them. By order of Brig. General W. F. Smith, commanding First Division:

ALEXANDER FARNHAM, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Promulgated by order of Brigadier-General Knipe:

ROBERT MUNCH, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General .

Also the following.

Preparations were immediately made to carry out the above orders. Rations were procured and cooked under the directions of Quartermaster John C. Mullett, and orders were received to form in line at 3 p. m. of the 11th instant. Here, at this time, we joined you brigade for the first time, having been separated, as before mentioned, during our stay at Waynesborough, and marched down the hill on to the road; halted for the other regiments in our brigade to come into line, where we had to wait one full hour before they came into line, a delay, I am happy to say, which the gallant Sixty-eight regiment never caused any officer or brigade while in the service, being always prompt . Preparations being completed, orders were given,

“Battalion, right face; forward march!” and we were off for “Dixie, ” our march being on the direct road to Hagerstown from Waynesborough . Outmarch was with quick step for the first 4 miles. When we arrived at the Little Antietam – a river, from the heavy rains which had fallen, had become much swollen, and was very rough and rapid, the bridge over which had been destroyed by Lee’s army, on their retreat after the Gettysburg fight, only three days before, which we had to ford -we had now advanced some 2 miles across the line into Maryland, After fording and getting everything across, our march was slow and cautious, being in close proximity with the rebel pickets, and every moment expecting an engagement . Marching slowly, the night very dark, mud deep, we came to a halt in an open field about 10 o’clock, where the division bivouacked for the remainder of the night having sent out pickets and taken every precaution against a surprise . Before arriving where we bivouacked, my sickness became so severe that I was obliged to turn over my command to Lieutenant-Colonel Swift, and stopped, accompanied by Surgeon-

Report of Colonel John B. McIntosh’s Operations Around Waynesboro

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 1 (Gettysburg Campaign) Page 967-968, No. 348. Reports of Colonel John B. McIntosh, Third Pennsylvania Cavalry commanding First Brigade, Second Division.

HDQ US. FIRST BRIG., SECOND DIV., CAVALRY CORPS,

Near Warrenton, VA., August 20, 1863.

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Colonel John McIntosh, shown later in the war as a general.

CAPTAIN: In compliance with orders received I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of the First Brigade of this division since the battle of Gettysburg, July 3, 1863:Late in the afternoon of July 4, I received orders from the division general to report with my brigade to Major-General Pleasonton for orders. In accordance with his orders, I placed my brigade on the extreme left of the army, to picket the different roads and to observe the movements of the enemy in that direction. July 5, I received orders from Major-General Pleasonton move my command at once to Emmitsburg, as some of the enemy’s cavalry had gone in that direction, with further instructions that, should the enemy attempt to gain the rear of the army, I must them up to prevent it. In obedience to those orders, I moved my command at once to Emmitsburg, and found that enemy’s cavalry, under General Stuart, had gone through there in the morning, moving toward Frederick, I also ascertained that after proceeding on the road to Frederick as far as Graceham, they turned toward Hagerstown. Hearing during the day that the enemy was on the road leading from Emmitsburg to Waynesborough, I proceeded with my command in that direction, and soon met the enemy’s picket, which I drove in, capturing a dispatch showing the position of both Generals Longstreet’s and Ewell’s corps, which I immediately forwarded to Major-General Meade, and a copy of it to Major-General Pleasonton. I then found that, in order to reach the enemy, it became necessary for me to advance in a deep mountain gorge, where it would be impossible to use either cavalry or artillery to advance force of infantry was in my immediate front, caused me to withdraw my command in front commanding the corps. In answer to my dispatch, I received orders to move my brigade in front of Emmitsburg, and feel the enemy on the different roads to Fairfield, Jake’s Mountain, and Hagerstown, to ascertain his position, and also to find out if he was on the retreat. I proceeded to carry out these instructions, and had been engaged with the enemy about an hour when I received orders from Major-General Pleasonton to move my command to the Sixth Corps, in front of Fairfield, and report to General Neill for service in following up the enemy from that point, which I promptly complied with.

On the morning of the 7th, I moved with my brigade, in advance of General Neill’s column, by the mountain road toward Waynesborough, picking up a number of the enemy’s stragglers. I reached Waynesborough about 2 p. m. of that day, only two hours behind the rebel army, who, on my approach, burned the brigades over the Antietam. I remained with my brigade near Waynesborough, picketing well out toward the enemy, until the morning of the 10th instant, when I received orders from Major-General Smith, who had assumed command, to move with my brigade through Smithsburg and Cavetown, to ascertain if any enemy was in that locality. Finding none, I retraced my steps toward Leitersburg, and 3 miles to the west of it, and about a mile from Antietam Creek, met the enemy’s cavalry, which I drove across that stream, and which I found strongly guarded with cavalry, infantry, and artillery. Having determined the object upon which I was sent, I withdrew my command to Waynesborough. July 12, I received orders from General Neill, who at this time was detached from General Smith’s command, to move in conjunction with his brigade toward Funkstown. I was here met by an aide from Major-General Pleasonton, with orders to move to Boonsborough and report to General Gregg, which I did the same day. My brigade continued with the division until the 19th, when, in obedience to orders, I moved to Purcellville, in rear of the Twelfth Corps, arriving there July 20, when I was ordered to report to Major-General Pleasonton for orders. My orders were to proceed to Hillsborough, to draw my supplies from Harper’s Ferry, and to scout the country on the opposite side of the Shenandoah toward Charlestown. These orders were obeyed, and valuable information sent to corps headquarters. At 3 a. m. July 23, I received orders to move my command at once to Snickersville, relieve a regiment of the Third Division at Snicker’s Gap, and also a regiment of the same division at Ashby’s Gap. I remained at Snickersville until July 26, when I withdrew from the Gaps, and moved through Upperville and Middleburg to Warrenton, and reported to Major -General Pleasonton on the evening of July 27. On July 28, I again reported to General Gregg at Warrenton Junction.

I am, captain, very respectfully,

J. B. McINTOSH, Colonel, Commanding First Cavalry Brigade.

Cap. H. C. WEIR, Assistant Adjutant-General.

Soldier’s Aid Societies

By Alicia Miller

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The Union Soldier Monument stands guard, looking South from the Chambersburg Diamond. The same direction that many Confederate invasions took place from. 

How many of you are familiar with Soldier’s aid societies? Franklin County had its fair share of these societies during the Civil War, contributing all that they could for the welfare of their soldiers. At the outset of the war some women were reluctant to see their men join the army because they well understood the economic and emotional consequences of such action. These wives and sweethearts urged caution and counseled patience but they were in the minority and could not drown out the drumbeats that rallied communities to war. Most women supported the war and contributed to its conduct in numerous ways. Women on both sides of the mason and Dixon line took on roles that were quite similar during the war years. Clothing the first round of volunteers was but one way that they contributed to the initial rush to arms. They were expected to take care of the household and keep it running until the men returned. They also helped the war effort by sewing blankets, making bandages, joining nurse’s organizations and working at hospitals. Women rose to such challenges not only because they had the valuable skills of homemakers but also because they like their men folk had developed organizations ranging from sewing circles to temperance groups that allowed them to rally for quick collective action.

Soldiers Aid Societies became very prevalent in the war years on both side of the war. The Semi-Weekly Dispatch printed an article on January 28, 1862 urging the women of Pennsylvania to form Ladies’ Aid Societies in every village and town, as well as church and school societies, to make sure that all women contribute necessary supplies for the soldiers who are ill in hospitals throughout the Union.

Locally there were Ladies Societies in Mercersburg, Waynesboro, Chambersburg, Greencastle, and Fayetteville and they were very active both during the Civil War and the years following it. In 1861 the ladies of Chambersburg provided picket guards protecting the town with baskets of supplies and food, and presented a flag to the 7th and 8th regiments. In 1862 the Ladies of Waynesboro crafted a flag for the 126th Pennsylvania.

An article about the appreciation for the ladies societies in the area was in the Valley Spirit on July 30, 1862 entitled Our Patriotic Ladies: We visited, on Friday last, the Associate Reformed Church, which is occupied during the week by the Ladies Aid Society. We found the room pretty well filled with ladies, engaged in the noble, patriotic and christian duty of providing clothing, and other comforts, for our sick and wounded soldiers. We might say much in praise of our ladies, but this is an age in which noble deeds bring their own reward. We will say this much, however, the ladies of Chambersburg will compare with any in existence, in their efforts to provide for the wants, and relieve the suffering of our sick and wounded in the army. They have enlisted in the good cause their nimble fingers and their noble, warm and patriotic hearts with a will. All honor then to our ladies who have thus nobly evinced their patriotism and vindicated that judgment which the poet has pronounced upon their sex, and which the world has applauded. “When pain and anguish wring the brow, A ministering angel thou.”

The following article in Valley Spirit on May 6, 1863 is a striking comparison to the previous: How little is now in reserve for the next battle? With what remorse will every man and woman regret the indifferences of the present hour, when garments and various comforts are suddenly required? Heretofore hundreds of boxes were ready for shipment–now everything is lacking. The great rise in the price of material is one cause of this falling off; and this should render more imperative the duty of concentrating and sending through the most efficient channel all the stores which our loyal women furnish. Another cause of this falling off is in the weariness consequent upon this protracted war. But in the language of the President of the Commission, “As long as the men fight the women must knit and sew,” and the friends at home furnish means to alleviate the sorrows and wants of the camps and hospitals. Whatever you may have hitherto been doing, from this time consider how you can best and most surely reach the suffering soldier, where he is most exposed and most forgotten. Do not delay; do not abandon your efforts after a short time. You must enlist in the work for the war. It is the woman’s part in the patriotic struggle we are in.

In October 28, 1863, according to the Franklin Repository the Ladies Aid Society of Chambersburg reported some of their contributions to their soldiers in need: We forwarded in May and June 7 boxes containing the following goods (including a package from the ladies of Fayetteville, consisting of 4 shirts, 7 pair of drawers, 1 pair of pillow cases and 2 quilts,) 90 pillow cases, 62 pair drawers, 75 shirts, 14 bed sacks, 76 sheets, 127 towels, 68 handkerchiefs, 7 pair of stockings, 6 fans, 20 comforts, 15 quilts, 4 blankets, 22 wrappers, 4 pair of slippers and 14 pillows; also from friends in town and country a large quantity of canned and preserved fruit, bologna sausage, 14 doz. eggs, corn starch, jellies, butter.

In the latter years of the war many local ladies aid societies held held fairs benefitting Christian commission’s work for sick/diabled soldiers and by 1864, they were receiving letters from soldiers and officers asking them for items they needed and requesting the women to help supply them directly, certainly a sign of the need for such an organization and of the Aid Society’s success. In the years following the war the ladies aid societies of the area still continued to work tirelessly to improve the welfare of the soldiers, even with intentions of erecting a monument to Franklin County’s soldiers.

Initiated by the ladies aid society and secured through gifts of Franklin County citizens, the Memorial Fountain and Statue in downtown Chambersburg honors the town’s role in the Civil War. It was dedicated on July 17, 1878 to honor the men who fought in the Civil War and has a faithful Union soldier guarding the southern gate at the fountain.

Philip S. Crooke in Washington Township, 1863

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Brigadier General Philip S. Crooke

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign) page 242-247
HARRISBURG, July 4, 1863.

An order was given to take rations last night. Do troops wasn’t me to tell them to breathe? Always have rations in your haversacks. You want no buggy; you are going in the mountains for a few days. Beef-cattle go forward. Now is the time to aid your country. Let trifles go; march.
D. N. COUCH,

Major-General. On the receipt of this paper -as the only information seemed that we were bound ” for the mountains “- I started on the turnpike leading to the mountains south of Carlisle, all the officers, as well as men, on foot, without anything except they carried it ; not a wagon or pack-horse, or any knowledge of route or supplies,, present or future . The result proved the dispatch in one respect; we wanted “no buggy “- the roads in places were impassable for one. The dispatch was in fault as to the beef-cattle; they did not “go forward” fast enough to overtake us. We were left to our own resources in a country which had been overrun and exhausted by the rebel forces. About 2 miles south of Carlisle, we were overtaken by a heavy rainstorm, and we rested for three hours in a large barn and farm-house. Here we met a few stragglers from the battle of Gettysburg -paroled Union soldiers and rebel deserters – and from them heard of the great battle which was going on when they left. We then knew our route, and started anxiously. We met 3 of the “Brooklyn Fourteenth” who had been taken prisoners and paroled in the battle. Their unexpected recounted with their Brooklyn friends in the middle of Pennsylvania was startling and strange. We left them cheered and cheering. A little before sundown we arrived at Paperville, a village at the gorge of the mountains, with a steam of water which had over- flowed our road. Here we had to ford about half a mile, in places waist -deep; the drummer boys and drums where carried. We halted at Holly Springs after dark; the brigade bivouacked.

Next day a muddy, hard, hungry march to laurel Furnace. July 5. – Came up with General John Ewen’s brigade (Fourth New York State National Guard), who took command. Here the horses of myself and staff reached us. We were marched up a mountain road to a pass looking down upon Gettysburg, about 12 miles off. Bivouacked there; obtained some bread from the inhabitants, who were very kind and considerate. July 6. – Some wagons met us with supplies; obtained one day’s rations; marched on toward the south; bivouacked in the woods next morning.

July 7. – Arrived at Newman’s Gap., on the turnpike from Gettysburg to Chambersburg; met General W. F. Smith, U. S. Army, Commanding Army of the Susquehanna; saw traces of the battle of Gettysburg in broken caissons, &c.; marched forward on the track of Lee’s army; turned of the turnpike to the south; bivouacked at Funkstown; terrible rain-storm all night and until 10 a. m.

July 8. – But little to eat ; marched on to Waynesborough, near to Maryland line, a considerable village, where we found the Sixth Army of Corps of the Potomac bivouacked on the hills south of the village .

July 9, 10, 11. – Pleasant weather, and rations just before sundown orders to march; marched; forded Antietam Creek, the timber of the brigade, burned by the rebels, yet smoking; 11 p. m. bivouacked at Leitersburg, in a clover-field.

July 12. – Marched to Cavetown; tremendous storm of rain, thunder and daylight; bivouacked there .

July 13. – Marched through Smoketown and Mount Pleasant to Boonsborough, Md. There we met several members of the Fifth Brigade, now in the United States service; Colonel Brewster, of the Excelsior Brigade, Captain E. D. Taft, commanding battery, both of whom distinguished themselves at Gettysburg. Here we were informed that Lee’s army had escaped over the Potomac, and we were ordered home; marched to Frederick, Md. The march was very fatiguing, and Christian Hemming, a private of the Twenty-eight, did form exhaustion.

July 15. – Arrived at Frederick, and bivouacked south of the city remained there until July 17; passed by railroad to Baltimore.

July 18. – Arrived at Philadelphia.

July 19. – Arrived at New York. We were met on the wharf with orders from the Commander-in-Chief to report for duty in Brooklyn, and remained on duty until September 6, in the protection of the peace and property of Kings County, in all of which the whole of my command acquitted themselves as good soldiers and citizens, and did good service. The Seventieth Regiment, remaining at home, were on duty guarding the State arsenal, at Brooklyn, and assisting in preserving the peace during July, until September 6, faithfully and zealously, and also are entitled to the same credit . Their colonel, William J. Cropsey, is an energetic and reliable officer, and the officers and men are of almost respectable class of citizens. It is a valuable corps for home service. The Thirteenth and Twenty-eight Regiments had been in the United States service, in 1861; the Thirteenth also, in 1862. Many hundreds of their members had joined the United States volunteer service, and their uniforms were worn out in the service. Those regiments have done hard and faithful service, and are now reforming, with the prospect of much efficiency. All of which is respectfully submitted.

PHILIP S. CROOKE,

Brigadier-General, Fifth Brigade .

Union General Jesse Smith in Washington Township – 1863

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Jesse Smith, Findagrave website

ADJUTANT-GENERAL, STATE OF NEW YORK. –
No. 413. Report of Brig. General Jesse C. Smith, commanding, Eleventh Brigade, New York State National Guard, of operations June 16-July 19.

HDQRS. 11th Brig., NEW YORK STATE NATIONAL GUARD, Brooklyn, December 28, 1863.

COLONEL: On the morning of the 16th of June last, at about 9 o’clock, I received a telegraphic order from Governor Seymour, dates June 15, ordering all the regiments in my command to be ready to go to Philadelphia at once on short service. On the 18th, the Twenty-thirds Regiment, Colonel William Everdell, jr., 518 strong ; on the 19th the Fifty-sixth Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel J. Q. Adams, 409 strong, and on the 22d, the Fifty-second regiment, Colonel M. W. Cole, with 325 men, left for Harrisburg, Pa. The promptness, with which regiments responded to the call of the Commander-in-Chief was highly commendable.

On the 22nd of June, I received an order from Major-General [Harmanus B.] Duryea, commanding that division, that the Twenty-third, Forty-seventh, Fifty-second and Fifty-sixth regiments and such other regiments of the Second Division as should thereafter be designed for that purpose, were constituted a brigade under my command during the term of duty, in obedience to the orders of the Commander-in-Chief. On the afternoon, of the 24th of June, I departed for Harrisburg, Pa., with Major Benjamin Haskell, assistant adjutant-general (chief of staff); Captain John Berry, aide-de-camp; Captain Lebbeus Chapman, jr., brigade quartermaster ; Captain Zachariah Voorhies, assistant commissary of subsistence, on my staff .

On the morning of the 25th of June, I reported to Major-General Couch, at Harrisburg, and afterward, on the same morning crossed the Susquehanna River, and reported to Brigadier-General Hall, then in command of Fort Washington, a newly erected fort of earthworks on the high ground directly opposite Harrisburg. Three of my regiments, the Twenty-third, Fifty-second, and the Fifty-sixth, were then located in and around the fort, having arrived there at different times from the 19th to the 23rd of June. The Forty-seventh Regiment was ordered to Washington, D. C., and did duty in Virginia. On my arrival to take charge of the three regiments of my command, a great state of excitement existed at Harrisburg and through the Cumberland Valley, in consequence of the near approach of General Lee’s army, and of the daily reports that he was marching on Harrisburg, by way of Carlisle, with a large force. The Eight and Seventy-first Regiment New York State National Guard, and one regiment of Pennsylvania militia, having been sent forward, under command of General Knipe, by the Cumberland Vallet Railroad to Shippensburg, and having fallen back from point to point as they were driven in by the rebels, presented the appearance of an advance guard of a large force, delayed the rebels a week or more in their advance, and enabled many other regiments to arrive at Harrisburg, and to throw up to quite formidable earthworks, to erect barricades across the roads through the mountain gaps, and to dig rifle-pits and make other defensive preparations . My hospital surgeon, Major E. Maloe, joined me here, and his services were very valuable at the hospital established near the fort. The entire force was constantly employed night and day, as the regiments arrived, in erecting these earthworks, barricades, &c., and in picket duty, and were saved from an attack from Lee’s army by the delay in its advance, occasioned by the militia force and demonstration, until the morning of the 30th of June. After having driven in our outer line of pickets, the rebels fell back under orders, as appears by General Lee’s report, to meet the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg.

On the 1st of July, the Twenty-second and Thirty-seventh New York State National Guard, with two regiments of Pennsylvania militia, and a battery of citizens artillery from Philadelphia entered Carlisle, 18 miles from Harrisburg, down the Cumberland Valley, and were that night shelled by Stuart’s cavalry, who burned the Carlisle barracks and other buildings. The militia stood their ground nobly, and the artillery is said to have done good service in the defense of the place. On the afternoon of the 1st of July, my three regiments, with the Eight, Eleventh, and Seventy-first Regiments New York State National Guard, and Miller’s light battery, attacked temporarily to the Eight Regiment National Guard, marched out from the fort opposite Harrisburg on the road toward Carlisle, the whole under the command of General Knipe, and went into camp, or rather into a field 7 miles from the fort, at about 9 o’clock in the evening. As we went into quartermaster, heavy cannonading was heard in the direction of Carlisle, and the light of the burning barracks was distinctly visible on the sky. This was as anxious night to our command, as the supposition was that Ewell’s corps of Lee’s army had returned to Carlisle, and attacked our militia there in force, and would capture them, and be down upon us the next morning. We had no intimation that on that day there had been a battle of Gettysburg.

At 2 o; clock the next morning, a staff officer came in from General Couch, with orders to get the baggage train back on the road to Harrisburg, and to have the men in readiness to march at a moment’s notice. At a 3 a. m. another officer came from General Couch, with peremptory orders to march back at once to the fort. Three retreat was then commenced, and continued for about 3 miles. We were then halted in the road, and remained there until near sundown, when we bivouacked on the bank of a beautiful stream for the night, and the next day (July 3) marched to Carlisle, about 15miles. The weather was very warm, the men marched with their knapsacks packed, their blankets rolled, their haversacks supplied with two days ‘ ration, and their cartridge-boxes with 40 rounds. The suffered greatly from this first march, and were compelled to leave their knapsacks and many other things that were afterward much needed.

The next morning (July 4), our column, having been united to the brigades of General Ewen and Crooke, and a bridge of Pennsylvania militia, under command of Colonel Brisbane, with Landis’ battery of artillery from Philadelphia, which was now attached to our division, in command of General Knipe -in all about fifteenth regiments of infantry, one battery, and one light battery of artillery -moved out on the Mount holly road, south from Carlisle, and away from all railroad communication. About 12 o’clock it commenced to rain, and continued through the afternoon and night. The road led through the South Mountain, and was very narrow and muddy. The men marched through mud and water, oftentimes kneedeep. The Twenty-third Regiment, having had some of its men nearly drowned while fording a stream, had to stop for the night. The men of the other regiments struggled and straggled through, but when we halted for the night, at 9 o’clock, scarcely a “corporal’s guard” was present.

The next morning (the 5t of July), without anything to eat, and without waiting for the command to come up, we were marched over the mountains about 5 miles, and encamped; here we gathered some bread and other eatables from the neighborhood.

The next day (the 6th of July) was another rainy day, and night founds us on the road from Gettysburg to Chambersburg, on which the day before the rebels had retreated, without rations, the men sleeping on the west ground in an orchard; General Knipe and myself and our staffs without anything to eat excepting a little prepared coffee and a peace of bread. Captain Cipperly, additional aide-de-camp, at this time reported to me for duty.

The following night, the men having encamped in a piece of wood, found themselves immersed in water in the morning. Our supplies, which were to have come forward, had gone by mistake to Gettysburg. My quartermaster was directed to gather up all loose horses and wagons, and was then sent to Shippensburg from supplies. These did not reach us until after we had arrived at Waynesborough, on the 10th of July. We here (Waynesborough) connected with the Army of the Potomac, and had two or three days of rest. From this place, on the 12th and 13th, we marched to within 1 or 2 miles of Boonsborough, Md. Here w encamped again in the rain, and with scant rations. The next day we advanced on the National road toward Hagerstown, about 2 miles, and as we marched we heard the firing on the Potomac, as Kilpatrick engaged the rebels while crossing. A general engagement was expected, and our force stood in line of battle on the field where Kilpatrick had fought on the Friday proceeding, in readiness, if called upon as a reserve force to the Army of the Potomac, then in front of us.

In the afternoon, we were informed that General Lee had recrossed the Potomac River with his whole army. The next morning we were dismissed by General W. F. Smith, and my command, including the Eight and Seventy-first Regiments with Generals Ewen’s and Crooke’s, were placed in command of General Ewen, and directed to march to Frederick, where we would embark for home.

The march to Frederick, on the 15 of the July, was 18 miles over the South Mountain, and without rations. The men, supposing that Frederick was the termination of their day’s march, came in to that town in good order ; but when, after dark, the command was ordered by the commanding officer to march to the railroad junction, 3 or 4 miles farther, they became disheartened, and, having no rations served them since the day before, they suffered much from hunger and fatigue, and as they went into camp at 9 o’clock at night, one man of the Twenty-eight Regiment actually died from exhaustion – an unnecessary hardship, because the troops were on the homeward march, and did not obtain transportation for the next twenty-four hours . The following night the troops were embarked, in a most severe rain-storm, on board of cars for Baltimore, Md., some of the men in open cars, exposed to the storm. The entire next day was spent in reaching Baltimore, and the whole of the night of the 17th and of the of the 18th were spent in getting to Harrisburg, and many of the men in open cars, exposed to the rain an night air.

On Sunday, the 19th of July we came from, Harrisburg, and arrived in New York in the afternoon. The command in fifteen days were marched over 100 miles, most of the time in the rain, without proper clothing or shoes for many of the men, with scarcely half the ordinary rations of soldiers, and those irregularly supplied . With little or no covering at night, not even blankets or shelter tents, it is not to be wondered at that many have suffered and that others have died from sickness contracted in this short campaign; and when the facts shall be fully collected and properly detailed, I am sure that the General Government will be satisfied that if ” little or no reliance can be placed upon the paid militia ” (General Halleck’s report), it has at least contributed something toward the safety of the capital of the State of Pennsylvania, and of the great railroads that cross the Susquehanna River at or near that place.

The Sixty-eight Regiment New York State National Guard, from Chautauqua County, were with us at the front, and did yeomen’s service with axes in leveling a forest around, and marched with us the entire route. There was also another column, consisting of Pennsylvania Militia, under the command of General Dana, that went down the Cumberland Valley Railroad after it was reconstructed in part, and joined the Army of the Potomac near Hagerstown. The officers under my command having been required to make a report of their several regiments directly to the Commander-in-Chief, have, as I am informed, made such report.

The Fifty-second and Fifty-sixth having furnished to me copies, which have been printed, I annex. The Twenty-third and Forty-seventh Regiments have not made to me any reports. Too much praise cannot be given to the officers and men of the several regiments of my brigade for the promptness with which they responded to the call of the Commander-in-Chief, and for their endurance of fatigue in their duty, of throwing up embankments, felling forests, and marching through such and extent of country, so poorly as they were supplied with clothing, with camp equipments, and with rations. By the activity and energy of the different members of my staff, the several regiments in our column of march were much assisted, and their wants and suffering greatly alleviated.

Respectfully, yours,

JESSE C. SMITH,

More of Union General William Smith In Washington Township

WFSmith_MGENOFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign) page 220- 223
No. 407. Report of Brig. General William F. Smith, U. S. Army, commanding First Division, of operations June 26-July 15.

HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, DEPT. OF SUSQUEHANNA, Greencastle, Pa., July 18, 1863.
Major: I have to report that, in obedience to orders from the general commanding, I assumed command of the troops south of the Susquehanna and in the vicinity of Harrisburg on Friday, June 26, and was busily engaged until Tuesday, 30th, in strengthening the defenses at Bridgeport, opposite the city of Harrisburg, and at Marysville, to protect the bridges of the Pennsylvania and Northern Central Railroads. On Sunday, a rebel cavalry force, with a section of artillery, came to our picket line near Oyster Point, and drove in our cavalry pickets, but did not succeed in moving the infantry pickets .

On Monday, I sent the regular cavalry, under Lieutenant [Frank] Stanwood, on the Carlisle road, and he engaged and drove in the pickets of the enemy, but was obliged to retire under a fire of artillery which was opened on him. On Tuesday, learning that the rebel infantry had left Carlisle, the cavalry was ordered forward, and found the enemy at Sporting Hill. General Ewen, New York militia, in command of the Twenty-second and Thirty-seventh New York State Militia, went forward to support Lieutenant Stanwood, and a section of Landis’ battery, under the direction of Lieutenant Muhlenberg, was immediately ordered up. The enemy was found in position, and attacked about 4 p. m.

The artillery arrived on the ground about 5 p. m., and soon silenced the fire on the enemy. General Ewen’s command was ordered forward to occupy Carlisle, but did not march until the next morning . Captain Boyd, First New York Cavalry, with 120 men, was also ordered by the Trindle Spring Road, via Churchtown, to Carlisle. He stopped at Chuchstown, and entered Carlisle on the morning of July 1.

Colonel Brisbane, commanding the Pennsylvania Brigade, was ordered to move on Carlisle by the mud road at daylight, but owing to a want of transportation, did not to move until about 9 a. m. I visited the headquarters to receive instructions and make arrangements for supplies and transportation, and, recrossing the river, the remainder of the command, under Brigadier-general Knipe, U. S. Volunteers, was directed to march as far as practicable and encamp, and to move at an early hour in the morning.

The Eleventh New York Artillery, under Colonel Forbes, refused to march under certain pleas, and the, matter was referred to General Couch. This delayed my starting till 3. 30 p. m., and finally, leaving orders with General Knipe to carry out the instructions with reference to the refractory regiment, I left to join the advance. Hearing rumors on the road of a large cavalry force in the vicinity, I sent out scouts on the cross-road, and ousted on, entering Carlisle at sunset.

General Ewen had passed through the town on the Baltimore turnpike about 1 and 1/2 miles, and, while going on to examine his position, word came from my scouts that a large cavalry force of the enemy was in the immediate vicinity, on the York road, and, turning back, before I entered the village, their guns had opened on us. The road for several miles back of us was filled with stragglers from the brigades of General Ewen and Colonel Brisbane, and the men with me were wearied with a long march to which they were unused. Under these circumstances, I determined to content myself till morning with simply holding the town, but before I could get a line of skirmishers out, a summons was sent by General Fitzhugh Lee to surrender the town, or send out the women and children . I sent an answer that the women and children would be notified to leave. In less than half an hour, another message was sent to the purport that, if not surrendered, the town would be burned. The answer was returned that one answer had already been given. Then sent a volunteer aide, Mr. Ward, of Harrisburg, to communicate with General Knipe, and order him to march at 3 a. m., and to report to General Couch the position of affairs. In the meantime the enemy opened a battery on the town, to which, by my orders, our artillery did not reply, as I demand the fire too inaccurate, and wished to save my ammunition.

About 11 o’clock I sent another volunteer aide-de-camp, Mr. James Dougherty, to try and get to General Knipe with orders to move immediately. Mr. Dougherty was captured and his orderly wounded and about 12 m. a third and last summons came to surrender, to which the reply was given that the message had been twice answered before. About i o’clock the firing ceased, with the exception of three guns about 3 a. m., soon after which reports came in that the enemy was moving off on a country road which came into the turnpike about 2 and 1/2 miles from Carlisle, and by daylight there was nothing opposed to us . The casualties were 12 wounded, none fatally.

Thursday [July 2] the entire command was put in near the barracks, which had been burned during the night, and on Friday a train of provisions came up to Carlisle . The supplies which we could draw from the citizens were extremely limited, though every disposition to aid us was manifested. General Knipe’s command having joined me on Friday [July3], the whole command was put in a motion at 6 a. m. on Saturday [July4] for Mount Holly, where we were detained for two hours by the arrival of about 2, 000 prisoners, paroled on the battle-field, and sent under a flag of truce toward Carlisle .

Wishing to prevent the enemy from getting information of our strength, I was forced to accept the prisoners, subject to the decision of the Government, and turn the rebel escort back. The Thirty-seventh New York Militia Regiment was left at Mount Holly to watch the Baltimore road, and the command moved toward Pine Grove. A most furious rain-storm set in, which raised the creeks, carried away bridges, and made the march toilsome in the extreme.

The command of General Ewen was left at Laurel Forge, to cover the entrance to the narrow valley, and also watch a road leading over the mountain to Bendersville. The remainder of the force was concentrated at Pine Grove Furnace, the Eight New York State Militia being ordered to hold the pass to Bendersville from Pine Grove. On Sunday, General Knipe was ordered with his command to hold the cross-roads from Mount Holly to Cashtown and Pine Grove to Bendersville, while General Ewen crossed the mountain to the Mount Holly and Cashtown road, holding the pass in his rear, and being within a mile of Genera; Knipe’s command. Colonel Brisbane, with the Pennsylvania Brigade, was holding a by-road from Pine Grove to Cashtown.

A cavalry scout, under Lieutenant Stanwood, was sent up Mountain Creek Valley, in the direction of the pass from Chambersburg to Gettysburg, through which it was supposed the enemy would send his trains, if he were defeated. Lieutenant Stanwood drove in the pickets a couple of miles from the turnpike, but had not sufficient force to press on. Captain Boyd joined me at Pen Grove, having followed the rear guard of the enemy to Fayetteville, on the Gettysburg and Chambersburg road, capturing prisoners. He was directed to pass by Bendersville, in the direction of Cashtown, to try and ascertain the movements and position of the enemy. He fell in with them, and captured eight wagons and -prisoners. During the day a small provision train came up, which was very acceptable, as it was impossible to subsist the troops from the country. A scout from General Meade also came through, giving the information the enemy was retiring; and latter in the day, Captain West, a volunteer aide and assistant on the Coast Survey, returned having successfully opened communications with General Meade on Saturday from Mount Holly.

On Monday morning I marched the brigade by three different roads, concentrating at Newman’s Pass behind Cashtown. We were, however too late intercept the trains which had gone that route. Tuesday morning, I was proposing to enter the Cumberland Valley and follow down the mountains toward Boonsborough, when an order came from General Meade to march to Gettysburg, which order was shortly after countermanded, with permission to do as I had proposed.

The command was then marched to Altodale, and an officer sent to Chambersburg, to try and procure supplies, as my trains had failed to overtake me. A small supply being procured, the troops were marched on Wednesday to Waynesborough where I found General Neill, with a brigade of infantry and one of cavalry, and eight pieces of artillery.

Here I was forced to wait for my trains to come up, but sent a cavalry scout to communicate with General Meade, west of South Mountain. Thursday was spent in waiting for rations to come up, and for instructions from General Meade. On Friday, I was ordered by him to occupy the enemy to the best advantage, and at be ready to join the Army of the Potomac or General Couch, as circumstances might require.

Colonel McIntosh was at once ordered with his brigade of cavalry and four guns to feel the enemy along the Antietam below Leitesburg, which he did in the most skillful manner, driving his cavalry pickets across the creek upon their infantry and artillery supports. The cavalry was supported in this movement by tow regiments of Pennsylvania militia, under Colonel Frick, at Ringgold and Smithsburg, and one regiment, Forty-third New York Volunteers, from General Neill’s command, posted near Leitesburg.

On Saturday, hearing that rebels had ordered a miller on Marsh Run to grind wheat all night for them, Colonel Brisbane, with two regiments of Pennsylvania militia, was ordered, if possible, to intercept the wagons going for the flour, and destroy the grain if he could not bring it off. These regiments were supported by the Sixty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, of General Neill’s command. From 2 prisoners captured at the mill, we learned that the enemy had fallen back to Hagerstown.

Colonel Brisbane’s command was left at Waynesborough, with orders to march at daylight, and the rest of the troops were moved to Leitersburg, excepting the command of Colonel Frick, which was ordered from Ringgold to Chewsville. During the night an order came for General Neill to join the Army of the Potomac at once, and, as no instruction were sent to me, I ordered Colonel Brisbane to remain at Waynesborough, to guard my communications, and moved with what force I had with me to Cavetown.

After positing my troops there, I reported in person to General Meade, and recommended to him to divide my command among the old division of the Army of the Potomac before the anticipated battle. Under the supposition that this was to be done, I ordered Colonel Brisbane to Hagerstown, and moved with the rest of the command to the Boonsborough turnpike near Beaver Creek. General Meade declined to distribute the militia, and I remained until Wednesday morning, when I received orders to send the New York State militia home, via Frederick, and these necessary orders were given. The Pennsylvania militia were concentrated at Hagerstown, under Colonel Brisbane, who was appointed military governor, with instructions to watch the ford at Williamsport and Falling Waters.

Before closing, I must call to the remembrance of the general commanding the force that I moved without a quartermaster or commissary, without supply trains, some regiments even being without haversacks, and with no adequate transportation of the cooking utensils of the men, and must pay the proper tribute to the general behavior of the troops during long marches, in rainy weather and without sufficient food.

The rugged mountain roads left many of them barefooted, but the greater portion of the command seemed animated by a desire to do all that was required in the service of their country. Colonel Brisbane deserves special mention for the manner in which he managed and led his command, and I earnestly recommend him to notice. Captain Boyd, First New York Cavalry, also did gallant service with his small force. I am much indebted to Captain M. A. Reno, U. S. Cavalry, who acted as my chief of staff; to Lieutenant Muhlenberg, my chief of artillery; to Lieut, Rufus King, Fourth U. S. Artillery, and to Lieutenant Johnson, U. S. Cavalry, for their services. To my own aides-Lieutenants [Matthew] Berry and [Campbell] Tucker, and the following gentlemen, who were volunteer aides:Colonel McCormick, Captains P. C. F. West and Lamborn, Lieuts. Samuel Carey, F. Rogers, and – Evans, and Mr. Ward –

I am indebted for zealous and defatigable service. Dr. John Neill, medical director of the division, was particularly watchful and efficient in the discharge of his duties.

Very respectfully,

Wm. F. SMITH,
Brigadier-General .

Union General William Smith in Washington Township

WFSmith_MGENOFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign) Page 225-226
No. 407. Report of Brig. General William F. Smith, U. S. Army, commanding First Division (New York Militia)

Sunday, July 5. – The troops were moved from Pine Grove at 8 a. m. over the mountain, on the Bendersville road, General Knipe’s brigade, with one section of artillery, being placed at the intersection of this road with the road from Holly Springs to Shippensburg, and Colonel Brisbane’s brigade on a wood road leading into the Shippensburg road. Ewen’s brigade moved from Laurel Forge in the morning, by a road across the mountain, to a point where the road from Holly Springs to Shippensburg is crossed by the road from Laurel Forge to Bendersville. The Thirty-seventh New York was ordered to move to the fork of the road, 2 miles below Mount Holly, where the Gettysburg road comes into the Pine Grove road. Owing to the movements of the enemy, this regiment was afterward withdrawn, and rejoined the main body.

Monday, July 6. – All the troops moved by different roads to Newmans’ Cut, on the turnpike between Gettysburg and Chambersburg, 4 miles east of Cashtown, where they were concentrated during the evening .

Tuesday, July 7. – Orders were received from General Meade to move the command to Gettysburg, but just as the troops were about starting, the order was changed, and the head of the column left Newman’s Cut at 11 a. m. for Alto Furnace, where the whole force arrived, from 5 to 7 o’clock. Lieutenant Stanwood, with 100 cavalry, crossed to the same point by the way of Caledonia Springs. A scout sent out reported at 8. 30 p.m. that the Twelfth Corps occupied Waynesborough.

Wednesday, July 8. – Moved from Aldodale at 11 a. m.; reached Waynesborough in the afternoon. Two regiments, under Colonel Frick, arrived after dark. The whole force was encamped in line of battle on the right (Colonel Bisbane) and left (New York troops) of the road to Hagerstown, a mile and a half out of Waynesborough. The force at Waynesborough was found to be not the Twelfth Corps, but a small force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, under General Milroy.

Thursday, July 9. – Was sent in Waynesborough. Two regiments of Colonel Frick’s were sent to Ringgold, in Maryland.

Friday, July 10. – A reconnaissance by General Neill’s cavalry found the enemy in force on the right bank of the Antietam, below Leiterburg. An examination of the country from Franklin Cliff, Md., informed us that a large force of the enemy was encamped on high ground, 2 and 1/2 miles from Hagerstown, on the Waynesborough road, and a smaller force on the Boonsborough road, near Hagerstown. No earthworks could be discovered, nor any earthworks on the ridge toward Williamsport. No movements were visible on the Williamsport road. The supply train arrived in the evening. The short marches and the delay at Waynesborough were caused by the want of provisions and the impossibility of bringing up the supply trains with sufficient celerity. Every effort was made to supply the command with rations from the country people, but with little success, the rebels having cleaned out the region. Orders had been issued to the command to be in readiness to move, but a dispatch was received on the evening of the 10th, from General Meade, ordering that the commands of General Milroy and General Smith should remain at Waynesborough, to occupy the enemy or to join General Meade or General Couch, as the movements of the enemy might permit to require. According to this dispatch, General Meade’s right wing was to be on the Boonsborough and Hagerstown turnpike, between Antietam and Beaver Creek, and his left at Bakersville, on the evening of the 10th.

Saturday, July 11. – Colonel Brisbane with the Gray reserves and Twenty-eight Pennsylvania, supported by the Sixty-first Pennsylvania Volunteers, of General Neill’s command, made a reconnaissance to Marsh Mill, within the enemy’s lines of the day before, about 4, miles from camp. He destroyed 24 barrels of flour which had been ground for the rebels, and all the grain (100 bushels) in the mill. The patrol returned about dark. The whole command, excepting these troops engaged under Colonel Brisbane, moved at dusk to Leitersburg, and encamped there for the night.

Sunday, July 12. -The command (excepting Colonel Brisbane’s) left Leitersburg at 6 a. m., and reached Cavetown at noon. Colonel Brisbane moved from Waynesborough. Colonel Frick moved to Chewsville.

Monday, 13th. – The force at Cavetown, under the temporary command of General Knipe for the march, moved to a point near Smoketown. The orders were to go to Benevola, where Beaver Creek crosses the Boonsborough and Hagerstown turnpike, but they were not understood. The Blue Reserves took part in a skirmish under General Kilpatrick, near Hagerstown, with a loss of 1 killed and 9.