|Colonel Edward B. Fowler|
(14th Regt. NYSM)
Collection of : Anthony Mollo
Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - July 1st 1863
(Written At Warrenton Junction, Virginia, July 28th, 1863)I marched in command of the 14th Brooklyn, from camp about four miles north of Emmitsburg, about 7:30 A.M. July 1st, 1863, following the turnpike road to Gettysburg. When arriving to within a mile and a half of Gettysburg, the report of artillery was heard, and shells seen to burst over a woods about half a mile to our left, denoting the presence of the enemy. The head of the column immediately filed off in the direction across the fields, passing to the left of the Seminary, which is situated on the crest of a hill about a mile west of town.
As we were forming, our cavalry came rushing out of the woods on our left, crying “they are coming, give it to them.” Immediately the enemy opened fire on us from a strong line of skirmishers in the woods to our left and front, which we replied to and soon drove them back. We lost several men here, my horse was hit twice in the head, and I was myself stuck on the thigh by a spent ball, which passed through my coat and caused a sever contusion, breaking the skin the size of the ball. The Adjutant’s horse was also shot through the head.
At this time, on looking to our right and rear, I discovered to my surprise and consternation, the enemies’ line of battle advancing steadily, one of our guns was in their front, deserted except by one man, a brave fellow who fired the piece when the enemy were close upon him, and ran.
I had no time for deliberation; my first impression was that we were lost. Like lightning I reasoned that, if we attempted to retreat to the rear, every one of us would be shot, and that our only chance was to charge them. I at once faced the two regiments to the rear and retired, until I was on a line with the enemy, when I changed front perpendicularly to face them, the enemy at the same time performing the same maneuver and firing rapidly.
|AN OIL PAINTING BY A. C. REDWOOD (Fourteenth in action in the Railroad Cut at Gettysburg, Pa, July 1, 1863)|
|Rail Road Cut - 1864|
I did not expect this order, but thought the General would reinforce me. I did not know then that General Reynolds had been killed early in the action. I however obeyed the order at once, (our men dragging off the recaptured gun) and took position in the second line, of which line I was then placed in command.
I have since learned that when we made the charge the 147th N.Y. was lying behind the R.R. cut, and that our charge enabled them to go to the rear, otherwise the entire Regiment would have been captured.
After forming in the second line, Col. Biddle of the 95th discovered that a wound he had received was more serious than he had thought, and retired to the rear. After about five minutes breathing spell, the Brigade was again advanced a short distance to the front, formed in two lines, when we received a sharp artillery fire from the front; one of our batteries was then advanced to position on the left of the R.R. cut, and the 6th Wisconsin sent to support it, and soon after the 14th was also sent in support of the 6th Wisconsin.
The artillery fire of the enemy was rapid, and well directed, and was replied to by our battery vigorously. I soon discovered the enemy moving a battery to our right, and immediately notified the general. This battery was soon put in position directly on our right flank, perfectly enfilading our lines and battery. Its fire soon compelled a change of position. The brigade was moved back to a woods in our rear, and the front was changed to face this dangerous battery. A slight breast work was then improvised from fence rails, and the men allowed to, stack their arms.
In the meantime our battery had been ordered to retire with its supports (6th Wisconsin and 14th) to Seminary Hill. I proceeded there and marched the 14th to join the Brigade.
|Art Depicted by a veteran of the 14th Regt. NYSM of the 14th Brooklyn taking the Rail Road Cut.|
(All Information has been given to us by www.14thbrooklyn.info)