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St. Patrick's Day,
March 17, 1863

Company K Roster
1861-1864

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Don Troiani           Collection of U.S. Army National Guard Bureau

 Sergeant A. P. Carpenter’s

LETTER ON THE BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG (excerpt)
Written at
Warrenton Junction, Va. July 30, 1863

 

At about 10 o’clock [July 2, 1863] the enemy commenced throwing shells at us, and owing to the peculiar shape of our line, they fell fast and close among us, masses as we were, behind a little eminence. This we stood till towards night, every now and then a man falling to rise no more, and others being carried to the rear with more or less severe wounds. About this time we began to hear musketry which soon became one continuous roar. The smoke shut the combatants from sight and we could only judge of the direction of the fight by sound, but this was sufficient to tell who were retreating and who were advancing. Before sunset we were ordered a short distance to the left and on to the high ground where we had a full view of the field and its terrible, magnificent scene. From our front the ground sloped some sixty rods to a ravine wooded with small trees and brush; beyond was a plain three fourths of a mile in width and about two miles long. Back over this plain our men were hurrying in confusion, followed by Rebs in a most disorderly manner, while a fresh body of U.S. troops were advancing and drove the Rebs before them. The stragglers came rushing through our lines, whom we in vain tried to stop and at last gave it up entirely, believing they were of more injury than help to us.

We were near our batteries and now and then shells fell uncomfortably near us. The fresh troops our General had sent in drove the foe steadily until they encountered the Rebel reserves, and then their advance was stayed; but, determined not to yield, the old first division of the 3rd corps stood there immovable, making their line one blaze of fire until their decimated ranks could stand it no longer, and they were ordered to fall back. Back over the plain they came, slowly, not faster than a walk, loading as they came and every now and then turning and pouring a deadly volley into the pursuing foe.

The Rebs came in two splendid lines, firing as they advanced, capturing one of our batteries which they turned against us, and gained the cover of the ravine. The plain was strewed with dead and dying men. The Rebs had advanced their batteries and were hurling death and destruction into the ranks of our retreating men. They were nearing the hill, which if gained, the day was lost to us.

Then came the order for the 2nd Division of the 2nd Corps to advance. The hill must be held at all hazards. We advanced down the slope till we neared the ravine, and "Charge" rung along the line, and with a rush and a yell we went. Bullets whistled past us; shells screached over us; canister and grape fell about us; comrade after comrade dropped from the ranks; but on the line went. No one took a second look at his fallen companion. "We had no time to weep." We were nearing the Rebel line, and in a moment more we would have been at it hand to hand. Two regiments on our right faltered and subjected us to a flank fire, and we were ordered back, leaving our dead within a few rods of the Rebel line. Then forward we went again and the Rebs were routed, and the bloody field was in our possession; but at what a cost! The ground was strewed with dead and dying, whose groans and prayers and cries for help and water rent the air. The sun had gone down and in the darkness we hurried, stumbled over the field in search of our fallen companions, and when the living were cared for, laid ourselves down on the ground to gain a little rest, for the morrow bid far more stern and bloody work, the living sleeping side by side with the dead. Thousands had fallen, and on the morrow they would be followed to their long home by thousands more. Canister and shrapnel had made horrid gaps, and as the ranks were closed up we counted files, scarcely an hundred men were left out of the three hundred and more who were with us in the morning. Two out of every three had fallen. Where are the other fourteen hundred whose names are borne upon our roles? Some are sleeping on nearly all the Eastern battlefields from 1st Bull Run to Gettysburg. They have gone to rest; they are sleeping in soldiers graves, among the unknown and unnumbered dead.

  Matthew Marvin's Bound Diary (inside front cover)

 

Gettyiesburg Pa

July 2nd 1863

Should any person find
This on the body of a soldier
On the field of battle or by the
Roadside They will confer a
Lasting favor on the parents of
Its owner by sending the book
& pocket perce & silver finger
ring on the left hand. Taking
their pay for trouble out of
the Greebacks herein inclosed

Mat

To Seth Marvin Esq
St. charles
Kane Co
Ill

[Written in pencil inside the front cover

of Matthew Marvin's diary for 1863.]

mmdcxx.JPG (14195 bytes)

Matthew Marvin's Bound Dairy

 

Thursday July 2, 1863

We aroused from our Slu
mbers this Am at daybreak getting
Coffee partly made & had to fall in &
march to the Right The ball opened
about the time we started Gen orders
This Am say this is to be the Battle of
the war and every man must stand for the
Regt Or be shot Rumor says we have
nearly two regiments taken prisoner The battle
commenced in earnest about [about 9 am]
Our Brg was the last reserve & had [longer]
about 6 oclock  We marched in the [field]
crawled a ways & then Charly North
helped me off it was the hardest ...
I ever saw  We had a good ... ... ...
Battle the ground was ... ....
I was in awful pane all night
   Weather pleasant  

Marched 4 miles Gettiesburg

 

Matthew Marvin's Loose Leaf Diary

 

Thursday July 2nd 1863

We were aroused from our slumbers
at daybreak & told to hurry & make coffe
Which we got half done & orders to fall
in we went to the right about 4 miles
whare their was a new line forming Our
Division was the last reserve we stacked
arms with orders to remain near the stacks
Our position was opposite? the left center
their was a smart skirmish in the morning
the pickets kept up a brisk fireing until
about noon Their was a great deal of
artillery fireing which a good shair huged/
us rather close Our line was formed in the
shape of a horse shoe with the toe to the
anamy Their was some of the rebell shell
that passed clear over our line into their own
in the opposite side about 4 oclock The
ball opened in earnest & such a racket
is seldom herd in any battle it was huge
in the extreme at 6 oclock the battle had
went hard with boath sodes & I think that if
either had the worst of it was ours Our division
was called in under a sharp artillery
fire after deploying we layed down whare
the rebs shelled us rite smart Their collums
were advancing splendidly they a good line
with not any perceptiable confusion at
last the . . . time & we went in out
… charge the two armies were not 500
Yds apart we had not fired a musket & the
Rebs wer fireing rappedley I dropped to the
ground with a wound somewhar I picked
myself up as quick as possible when I saw blood
on my shoe the heel of which was tore out
I thought it a slight one & run to ketch
up thinking that no rebel line could stand
a charge of my Regt & if the Bayonet must
be used I wanted a chance in as it was free? …
for all I had just ketched up again when I
fell a second time to Faint to get up I dran
nk some Water & put some on my head and rists
then I tried to to walk to the rear was to weak
for that so after resting again I tried the
hands & knees I got in the rear of our batteries
when I divested myself of Gun & equipments
& knapsack When Charley North gave
me a helping hand to the Hospital
behind a big rock he was slightly wounded at
about 10 o'clock the ambulance came & took us to the
rear I have got about all the pain I can stand

Weather Am [Leavery] Pm pleasant

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