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Gettysburg Campaign

 

On June 4th the Second Corps with newly appointed Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell in command of three divisions with a total of roughly 25,000 men left Hamilton's Crossing and marched towards Somerville Ford. The Corps reached Culpeper on June 7. On the 9th, the enemy  reported to have crossed the Rapphannock River in force the Corps was directed to General Stuart's support at Brandy Station and found the Federal Cavalry already retiring. Resuming the march on the 10th, they passed through Gaine's Cross-Roads, Flint Hill, and Front Royal, arriving at Cedarville on the 12th.

 

General Rodes’ Division encamped near Stone Bridge, on the road to Millwood, on the night of June 12, and moved the next morning toward Berryville.

 

By the 15th the Division crossed the Potomac at Williamsport at sunset  and camped on the outskirts of town staying there until the 19th  to allow the men a much needed rest as most were worn out from hard marching. The Division passed through Hagerstown, and encamped on the road to Boonsborough . By June 22nd they crossed into Pennsylvania and camped near Greencastle.

 

The Divisions of Rodes and Johnson marched through the Cumberland Valley gathering horses, cattle and supplies along the way and used Confederate money as payment. Throughout this trip General Ewell traveled in a two-horse carriage still on the mend from losing his leg at 2nd Manassas.

 

On the 24th of June Rodes’ Division entered Chambersburg as their bands played “The Bonnie Blue Flag “they marched through the streets joking and laughing as grim faced bystanders looked on.

 

Doles Brigade would reach Carlisle on June 26th and encamp at Dickerson College where a portion of this force acted as a guard for the town.  The rest of the Division was moved to the Carlisle Army Barracks where they spent a comfortable night.

 

General Ewell, established his headquarters in the Post Commanders' quarters. His and Rodes’ staffs occupied other officers quarters. Once his headquarters were established, he sent forth a requisition for supplies to be gathered from local citizen.

 

On Wednesday July 1st the Division marched towards Middletown where General Ewell directed the column south towards Gettysburg.  General Rodes deployed three of his brigades as such, Doles on the left O’Neal in the middle and Iverson on the right. After advancing almost a mile the Division with the exception of Doles occupied a large hill that gave them a full view of the battle being waged by General Hill’s troops below.

 

At 1:00 PM General Doles was ordered to attack and his Georgians advanced through a wheat field with the Middletown Road on their left and the foot Oak Ridge on their right .the skirmish line for the 12th was commanded by Capt. S.G. Pryor of Co. A .The battle line was formed as follows, from the left 12th Georgia 327 men present, 4th, 44th, and 21st Georgia. Around 3:00 PM the brigade along with General John B. Gordon’s Georgia Brigade of Early’s division drove the Federals off of what would later become known as Barlows Knoll. Driving remnants of the 11th Corps towards Gettysburg they captured hundreds of prisoners. During this assault the 12th came under fire from its own battery.  Doles brigade was the first to enter the town including Major Hardeman and Adjutant Thomas of the 12th Georgia. The command was ordered to halt and reform its line of battle on what is known today as Middle Street in the center of town.

 

On July 2nd the morning passed with firing from sharpshooters from both sides. By late afternoon a heavy engagement had begun on the Confederate right. Doles, Iverson’s and Ramseur’s Brigades about 1800 men were brought to an old road bed now known as Long Lane southwest of town. A battle line was formed and advanced at dusk driving in the Federal skirmishers. This attack was to be coordinated with General Early with an attack upon Culps Hill .It ended when it was learned that Early had already withdrawn his troops and darkness fell over the battlefield.

 

On the morning of July 3rd  the Federals advanced a ”heavy line of skirmishers” against Doles’ Iverson’s and Ramseur’s Brigades  a force almost as large as the Confederate’s themselves but were driven back with some loss. By mid-day an artillery battle erupted and once again the Georgian’s were shelled by their own guns. At this time preparations were made to support the Picket-Pettigrew attack but were halted when it became apparent that the attack on the right had failed.

 

By 1:00 am on July 4th the 12th Georgia along with the rest of the brigade was ordered to fall back along the heights of town where they strengthened their position and waited for an attack that never came. By the end of the day they broke camp and started for Hagerstown.

 

The total casualties for the 12th Georgia was reported at 49 with Co “F” reporting just 9 wounded including Captain James Everett listed as severely wounded. This should not diminish their role during this battle, as they helped break  the Federal right flank on the first day and kept up a constant skirmish and sharpshooter fire throughout the entire affair. Doles Brigade “had acted with unsurpassed gallantry” and together with General Gordon’s Brigade these Georgians were described as “unstoppable”.