2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Battle of Gettysburg - Wednesday, July 1, 1863
Confederate General Joseph Davis & the 147th NY

As the Confederates of Major General Henry Heth's Division surged forward, the fighting escalated in a conflict that perhaps only Union General John Buford, had planned. Less than 24 hours ago, in part due to conflicting intelligence reports, neither Confederate Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill nor Major General Henry Heth had placed much confidence in Brigadier General James Johnston Pettigrew's report that he saw Yankees just outside of town. [G] Now as the morning progressed, Major General Henry Heth's Fourth Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Joseph R. Davis, pushed back a stubborn Union line north of the Chambersburg Pike and the railroad cut.

General Davis, nephew to the Confederate President, would write of this day, "Between us and the town, and very near it, was a commanding hill in wood, the intervening space being inclosed fields of grass and grain, and was very broken. On our right was the turnpike and a railroad, with deep cuts and heavy embankments, diverging from the turnpike as it approached the town. On the high hill the enemy had artillery, with infantry supports. The line of skirmishers advanced, and the brigade moved forward about 1 mile, driving in the enemy's skirmishers, and came within range of his line of battle, which was drawn up on a high hill in a field a short distance in front of a railroad cut. The engagement soon became very warm. After a short contest, the order was given to charge, and promptly obeyed. The enemy made a stubborn resistance, and stood until our men were within a few yards, and then gave way, and fled in much confusion, but rallied near the railroad, where he again made a stand, and, after desperate fighting, with heavy loss on both sides, he fled in great disorder toward the town, leaving us in possession of his commanding position and batteries.

Fields over which General Davis Attacked. After a short interval, he again returned in greater numbers, and the fight was renewed, and, being opposed by greatly superior numbers, our men gave way under the first shock of his attack, many officers and men having been killed or wounded, and all much exhausted by the excessive heat; but the line was promptly formed, and carried to its former position, and, while there engaged, a heavy force was observed moving rapidly toward our right, and soon after opened a heavy fire on our right flank and rear.

In this critical condition, I gave the order to retire, which was done in good order, leaving some officers and men in the railroad cut, who were captured, although every effort was made to withdraw all the commands. This was about 1 p.m." [9]

Union General Lysander CutlerDavis' adversary this day, Union Brigadier General Lysander Cutler, would report similarly, "I was ordered to move obliquely to the left across the fields to the ridge near the seminary, west of the town, where the enemy were already engaging our cavalry. I moved forward across the railroad with the Seventy-sixth New York Volunteers, One hundred and forty-seventh New York Volunteers, and the Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteers, immediately formed in line of battle, and found myself engaged with a vastly superior force of the enemy, advancing in two lines, at short range, in front and on my right flank. The Ninety-fifth New York Volunteers and the Fourteenth Brooklyn had been detached to the left, by order of General Reynolds, to support the Second Maine Battery and to hold the enemy in check until other troops could arrive. The three regiments under my immediate command fought as only brave men can fight, and held their ground until ordered to fall back, by General Wadsworth, to the woods on the next ridge. The Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania and Seventy-sixth New York fell back. The One hundred and forty-seventh did not receive the order, in consequence of Lieutenant-Colonel Miller being wounded at the moment of receiving it. Major Harney held the regiment to its position until the enemy were in possession of the railroad cut on his left, when it was impossible for him to retire until relieved by a charge on the enemy from the left by the Sixth Wisconsin, Ninety-fifth New York, and Fourteenth Brooklyn, which resulted in capturing a large body of the enemy and enabling Major Harney to bring off the remainder of his regiment. The loss of this gallant regiment was fearful at this point, being officers 2 killed and 10 wounded, 42 men killed and 153 wounded--207 out of 380 men and officers within half an hour." [5] When including those captured and missing, the valiant regiment lost 301 of the 380 or 79% of their numbers. [C]