Report on the Battle of Gettysburg by A.J. Clark, 1st NJ Artillery
Text of Report
NEAR BEVERLY FORD, VA.,
August 14, 1863.
Capt. GEO. E. RANDOLPH,
Chief of Artillery, Third Corps.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this battery in the engagement near Gettysburg, July 2:
Early on the morning of July 2, the battery was moved to the front, and placed in the second, near the left, of the line of batteries. About 9.30 a.m. the battery, by your orders, was moved to the front and left, and placed in line on the rise of ground midway between General Sickles' headquarters and the peach orchard, on the Emmitsburg road, where we remained until about 2 p.m. At this time the enemy's infantry was discovered passing in column across the Emmitsburg road to our left and front, and distant about 1,400 yards, and, by direction of General Sickles, I placed my battery in position, and opened fire upon their position, using shell and case shot, firing very slowly and apparently with good effect, as, after some 6 or 7 rounds, the columns had entirely disappeared, and no more were seen to pass that point.
Nothing more transpired until about 3 p.m. (at this time the battery was in line at the foot of the next slope, near the peach orchard), when a rebel battery, which had just been placed in position near a house on the Emmitsburg road, about 1,400 yards to our front, opened fire on my position, and I was ordered by you to go back and attack the battery. This I did, using shell and case shot, and, after a pretty short fight, silenced the battery, but only for a short time, when they opened again, as did other batteries which they had brought into position on my right. From this time until night the fire from them was rapid and severe.
About 3.30 p.m. the enemy's infantry commenced moving down from our front and right in strong columns, under cover of a heavy artillery fire, and the fire soon became sharp and obstinate. I immediately opened on them with shell and case shot, but although the fire seemed very destructive, opening large gaps in their ranks, it only temporarily checked them, and they pressed steadily on. I continued firing case and shell, however, at the column, and, later in the fight, into the woods on my immediate front and left, in which the enemy were pushing our troops, that seeming to be at the time the main point of their attack.
About 6.30 p.m. another of the enemy's columns commenced moving across my front, and distant about 350 yards, when I began firing canister, doing great execution, throwing the column wholly into confusion, and causing it to seek shelter behind the slope of a hill just beyond them. By this time our infantry on both sides had fallen back, as had also several batteries, when, having no supports, I deemed it best to retire, which I did, to near the ground occupied the previous evening. In the battle of the following day the battery was not engaged.
I was obliged to leave one caisson and one caisson body on the field for the want of horses to bring them off, but subsequently recovered them.
My loss in men was as follows: One man killed, 16 men wounded, and 3 missing, 2 of whom are known to be prisoners. I had 17 horses killed, and 5 disabled so badly that I was obliged to abandon them.
Of the conduct of the officers and men, I can only say that it was in the highest degree commendable for courage and bravery.
I am, captain, your obedient servant,
A. JUDSON CLARK,
Captain First New Jersey Artillery, Comdg. Battery B.