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Home > Exhibits > 5th Maine Battery > Stevens Battle Report

Stevens' Battle Report

Augusta Sept. 20th 1889

Genl. Connor:

My Dear Sir:-

Your letter in relation to the part taken by the 5th Maine Battery in the first days engagement at Gettysburg was duly received.

In answer I would say that the Battery was not held in reserve at all. We were first ordered into position in a little growth of trees along an old stone wall or pile of stones a short distance south of the Theological Seminary, but done no firing in that position. When the enemy made their attack the force of their flow appeared to be to the West and North of the Seminary.

We were then ordered t otake position immediately North of the Seminary and within 150 feet of the Seminary. There was not rom for all of our six guns and I ran some of them in between the guns of Coopers' Batty. "B" 1st Penn. One of the out buildings of the Seminary were in the way of one of our guns and I ordered it blown away which was immediately done. That gun continued to fire through the hole made in the building until the whole line was forced to retire. We were heavily and hotly engaged in this position and fell back with Wordsworths Division and Coopers Battery. Cooper lost one gun. We saved all of ours by moving to the right and retreating down the Chambersburg Pike with the balance of Coopers Battery and Wordsworth's Division.

We followed the Chambersburg pike until we struck Baltimore Street and floowed that street through the town and the Baltimore Pike until we reached Cemetery Hill opposite the gate leading into the Cemetery. Here we met Genl. Hancock sitting on horseback with some of his staff turning troops out of the road into the Cemetery or to the South in that direction. He called for the "Capt of that brass Battery" I galloped up to him and reported. He ordered me to take position on that hill (Culps Hill) and stop the enemy from coming up through that ravine". The ravine to the North-east of the town.

I did so at once without any infantry supports and opened a tremendous fire from our six Napolean guns. This attracted Genl. Hunt's attention. Hunt was Chief of Artillery Army of Potomac,. The enemy took shelter behind stone walls and fences and did not advance farther from that direction at that time. Genl Hunt came up & "did not like the looks of things" The enemy got around some of them to our right and got into the woods. We had no supports at that time or up to that time. Hunt ordered me to send men and tore down places in the wall to the rear so that we could get back to the Baltimore Pike in case we were driven out of that position. About this time Wordswroths' Division came to our support marched across the rear of the Battery and took position on our right. We were never driven out of this position. That night I threw up the earthworks for the protection of our men and guns.

Those earthworks served our purpose admirably for we did not have a man killed on the 2nd or 3rd day. We had three killed on the 1st day and several wounded. This was the Battery that was held in reserve on the first day that some of the historians mention. The story of the 5th Battery on the 2nd day has been better told by Genl. Doubleday in his history of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville and Genl. Hunt in the Century Magazine "2nd day at Gettysburg" than I can tell it.

Lieut. Hunt of my Battery, now resident physician Maine Genl. Hospital was severely wounded in the thigh the 1st dayat Gettysburg. I was shot rought both legs in the afternoon of the second day and laid at the house of Isaac Lightner 10 days after the battle. Lightners house in on the Baltimore Pike. Lieut. Whittier was in command of the battery after I was wounded. Batchelder in his history of the battle, that he has furnished the U.S. Government has called the little hill at the West end of Culp's Hill that we occupied "Stevens' Knoll". We expended 969 rounds of ammunition. The Committee on Legends Gettysburg Memorial Association requested us to put this on our monument which we have done.

Genl. you must pardon this very hastily written letter. Court is in session. I am pressed with business and have no time to revise or rewrite. The facts you have.

I am Genl

Very truly yours

G.T. Stevens

 

The within was provided me by Maj. Stevens, 5th Maine Batt'y when I was preparing my oration for the dedication of the Maine monuments at Gettysburg, Oct. 1889.

Seldon Connor