Captain William Lochren's Narrative (excerpt)
With the repulse of Pickett's charge the serious fighting of the battle of Gettysburg ended. The command of the First Regiment devolved upon Capt. Henry C. Coates, who appointed Lieut. William Lochren acting adjutant. Gen. Hancock was severely wounded in this last day's battle, as was also Gen. John Gibbon, our division commander, one of the most able and gallant leaders on the field. On July 4th we remained on the battlefield, in a drenching rain, burying our dead, and expecting a renewal of the fight; but, aside from alight skirmishing and artillery firing, the day passed quietly. On July 5th it was known that the enemy was retreating, and in the afternoon we moved to Two Taverns, and the next day to Taneytown, Md. On July 7th we made a long march to Frederick City, passing the aristocratic Seventh New York Militia Regiment, which the scare had brought that far, but which had been kept well out of danger. It had to bear, with meekness, all manner of jibes and jeers from the lines of dusty veterans. From this time on till July 13th we had crossed the South Mountain; and, passing near the old battlefield of Antietam, on that day confronted the enemy at Jones' Cross-roads, near Williamsport. They day was rainy, and was spent in bringing up the army, as the enemy was behind strong field-works. In the night following Lee succeeded in crossing the Potomac, and the pursuit was at an end. On July 15th the Second Corps marched to near Sandy Hook, and on the 18th it crossed the Potomac into Harper's Ferry, and, without pausing, crossed the Shenandoah, passing up around the foot of Loudon Heights into the beautiful Loudon Valley, following mainly the route traveled by us the year before, except that our division marched into and nearly through Manassas Gap when it was reached, driving out the Confederates who occupied it. The movement of the army was regulated considerably by the parallel movements of the Confederates, and continued somewhat deviously during the balance of July, on the last day of which we were near the Rappahannock, and not far from Kelly's Ford.
Captain H. C. Coates Report (excerpt)
. Our regiment took about 500 prisoners. Several stands of rebel colors were here taken. Private Marshall Sherman, of Company C, captured the colors of the Twenty-eighth Virginia Regiment.
Our entire regiment, except Company L, were in this fight, and our loss was again very severe. Captain Messick, while gallantly leading the regiment, was killed early. Capt. W.B. Farrell, Company C, was mortally wounded and died last night. Lieutenant Mason, Company D, received three severe wounds, and Lieutenants Harmon, Company C, Heffelfinger, Company D, and May, Company B, were also wounded. The enemy suffered terribly here, and is now retreating.
Our loss of so many brave men is heartrending, and will carry mourning into all parts of the state. But they have fallen in a holy cause, and their memory will not soon perish. Our loss is 4 commissioned officers and 47 men killed; 13 officers and 162 men wounded, and 6 men missing, - total 232 out of less than 330 men and officers engaged. I send herewith a list of killed and wounded.
Several acts of heroic daring occurred in this battle; I cannot now attempt to enumerate them. The bearing of Colonel Colvill and Lieutenant Colonel Adams in the fight of Thursday was conspicuously gallant. Heroically urging on the attack they fell nearly at the same moment (their wounds completely disabling them), so far in the advance that some time elapsed before they were got off the field. Major Downie received two bullets through the arm before he turned over the command to Captain Messick. Color Sergt. E. P. Perkins, and two of the color guard successively bearing the flag, were wounded in Thursdays fight. On Friday Corporal Dehn, of Company A (the last of the color guard), when close upon the enemy, was shot through the hand, and the flag staff cut in two; Corp. Henry D. OBrien, of Company E, instantly seized the flag by the remnant of the staff and waving it over his head rushed right up to the muzzles of the enemys muskets. Nearly at the moment of victory he too was wounded in the hand, but the flag was instantly grasped by Corp. W. N. Irvine, of Company D, who still carries its tattered remnants. Company L, Captain Berger, supported Kirbys battery throughout the battle, and did very effective service. Every man in the regiment did his whole duty. With great respect , I am, your obedient servant,
H. C. Coates
Captain, Commanding First Regiment Minnesota Volunteers.