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Colonel Nevin's Report - Gettysburg Campaign (5 July 1863)


Report of Col. David J. Nevin,
Sixty-second New York Infantry, commanding Third Brigade.
Gettysburg Campaign
July 5, 1863.
Assistant Adjutant-General.]

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report of the operations of this brigade at the battle of Gettysburg, Pa.:

On the evening of July 1, I was placed temporarily in command of the four regiments present comprising it, viz: Sixty-second New York Volunteers, commanded by Lieut. Col. T. B. Hamilton; Ninety-third Pennsylvania, Maj. John I. Nevin; Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania, Maj. J. B. Kohler, and One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Col. F. H. Collier (the fifth regiment, One hundred and second Pennsylvania Volunteers, Col. J. W. Patterson, having been detailed to guard wagon train at Westminster, Md.).

At 9 p.m. of July 1, left bivouac near Manchester, Md., and, together with the other brigade of the division, marched toward Taneytown.

When a mile across the Gettysburg pike, were countermarched to the pike, and continued on in the direction of Gettysburg.

At 8 a.m. of July 2, passed through Littlestown, Pa., and halted at 2 p.m. within 2 miles of Cemetery Hill, having marched nearly 34 miles within seventeen hours.

At 4.30 p.m. we were hastily marched forward and to the left of Rocky Hill [Round Top], the extreme left of our line, to support the lines of the Second and Fifth Corps.

This brigade, having the advance, formed the first line of the Third Division, and had barely gotten into position when all the troops in front, excepting two regiments of the Pennsylvania Reserves, were driven back and up the hill, retreating irregularly through and past our line.

At that moment, three regiments (Sixty-second New York, Ninety-third and One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers) were ordered to advance, supported on the left by the Ninety-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers. They immediately closed up to the Pennsylvania Reserve regiments, and delivered two volleys into the ranks of the advancing rebels, and immediately after charged their column, breaking the same and driving them in disorder down the hill, recovering in the charge two light 12-pounder brass pieces which had been taken from the Fifth Corps. The brigade, after reaching the foot of Rocky Hill [Round Top], crossed a narrow swamp, and was halted at 100 yards beyond, the left resting at the foot of a small hill and the right in the works, connecting with the advance line of the Corps.

We remained in this position, supporting the two regiments of General Crawford's Pennsylvania Reserves, until 6 p.m. July 3.

On the 3d, at 10 a.m., the enemy made a reconnaissance in the front of the left of our line, but were repulsed.

At 2 p.m. the enemy shelled my whole line and the hill to our rear.

At 6 p.m. of July 3, orders were received to support a reconnaissance of General Crawford to the left. This was done, and, in addition to the support of two of my regiments, the Sixty-second New York and the One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers, the latter commanded by Lieut. Col. W. H. Moody (Colonel Collier having been accidentally wounded early in the day),took an active part in the reconnaissance, the Sixty-second New York having advanced to the extreme left, and driving a regiment of rebels half a mile, capturing many prisoners, and the One hundred and thirty-ninth Pennsylvania advancing on the right of General Crawford's command, driving the rebel picket line back half a mile, and recapturing one brass Napoleon gun and three caissons, taken by the enemy from the Ninth Massachusetts Battery on the 2d.

At 9 a.m. on the morning of the 4th, orders were received to support a reconnaissance in force by General Sykes. During the rest of the day all remained quiet, and in the evening I was relieved of the command of the brigade by General F. Wheaton, who had temporarily commanded the Third Division.

The casualties in the brigade are as follows...

In closing my report, I cannot withhold expression of my thanks to Capt. George Clendenin, jr., assistant adjutant-general, Third Brigade, for his valuable services; nor I can forget the assistance rendered me by Adjt. Samuel C. Thwait, Sixty-second New York Volunteers, acting aide-de-camp.

The extraordinary endurance evinced by my command, and their daring bravery at the turning point of the battle, deserve larger mention than the limit of the report will allow. Never did troops advance upon the enemies of their country with more cheerfulness and spirit.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel Sixty-second New York Vols., Comdg. Brigade.