During the night of July 2nd, as Union troops were pulled from Culp's Hill to support the crumbling line of Major
General Daniel Sickle's 3rd Corp at the southern end of the battlefield, Confederate soldiers attacked Culp's Hill. Along the area
pictured, men from Major General Edward Johnson's Division, including Brigadier General Steuart's
, held the trenches and breastworks within the tree line originally built by their Union foes. Federal soldiers slept
in the fields that night, getting whatever rest they could in preparation for what was yet to come. The rock at this field's center
stands to honor the men who early on the morning of July 3, 1863, charged across these fields to retake their works. A bronze plaque
mounted on the western face of the rock pictured tells more of the story.
"At 5:00 a.m. the One Hundred and Forty-Seventh Penna. Volunteers
(Lt. Col. Ario Pardee Jr.) was ordered to charge and carry the
stone wall occupied by the enemy. This they did in handsome
style their firing causing heavy loss to the enemy who then
abandoned the entire line of the stone wall.
Report of Brig. General John W. Geary
Commanding 2d Division 12th Corps."
The various reports from the officers involved on both sides describe the resulting actions while offering somewhat different
descriptions and timeframes for what occurred. Brigadier General George H. Steuart included this description of the
morning's action in his report to Edward "Allegheny" Johnson, his commanding general.
"The whole command rested from about 11 p. m. till about daylight, [3d], when the enemy opened a terrific fire of
artillery and a very heavy fire of musketry upon us, occasioning no loss to the brigade, excepting to the First
Maryland Battalion and Third North Carolina, which in part alternated positions behind the breastworks. The First
North Carolina, with the exception of four companies which had been stationed as a picket on the other side of the
creek, was at this time formed to the left of the brigade. At about 10 a. m. the Tenth Virginia was ordered to deploy
as skirmishers, and clear the woods on our left of the enemy's skirmishers. This was done, and the enemy was discovered
in the woods, drawn up in line of battle, at not over 300 yards from the west of the stone wall. The brigade then formed
in line of battle at right angles to the breastwork in the following order: Third North Carolina, First Maryland
Battalion, Thirty-seventh Virginia, Twenty-third Virginia, and First North Carolina, and charged toward the enemy's
second breastworks, partly through and open field and partly through a wood, exposed to a very heavy fire of artillery
and musketry, the latter in part a cross-fire. The left of the brigade was the most exposed at first, and did not maintain
its position in line of battle. The right, thus in advance, suffered very severely, and, being unsupported, wavered, and
the whole line fell back, but in good order. The enemy's position was impregnable, attacked by our small force, and
any further effort to storm it would have been futile, and attended with great disaster, if not total annihilation. The
brigade rallied quickly behind rocks, and reformed behind the stone wall which ran parallel to the breastworks, where it
remained about an hour, exposed to a fire of artillery and infantry more terrific than any experienced during the day,
although less disastrous. Ultimately, in accordance with orders from the major-general commanding, the brigade fell back to
the creek, where it remained during the rest of the day, nearly half of it being deployed as skirmishers. During the night,
the enemy advanced their line some distance beyond the breastworks, but were driven back to them again."
In perhaps a somewhat understated manner, Lieutenant Colonel Pardee described the action of command that day.
"On the morning of the 3d, we marched to a point near the line of the previous day and toward the right
of the line of the brigade, having on our right the Seventh Regiment Ohio Volunteers and on our left the
Fifth Regiment Ohio Volunteers. Soon after the line was formed, I was ordered by General Geary, commanding
division, to move forward with my regiment to a point which commanded the right of the line of entrenchments,
and from which a view could be had of the movements of the enemy. My regiment, soon after reaching its assigned
position, became engaged with the skirmishers of the enemy, who were soon driven from their position. Skirmishers
were sent to the front and right flank, into the woods, from which they greatly harassed the enemy. At about 8 a.m.
an attempt was made by the enemy to turn the right of the line of the entrenchments. They boldly advanced to within
about 100 yards without discovering my regiment. I then ordered the regiment to fire, and broke their line. They
reformed again as a body and advanced. Their advance was checked by the heavy fire they received, when they broke and ran."
Major General Henry W. Slocum, Commander of the 12th Corps, would later writer of this days
fighting in his official report, "The portion of the field occupied by the enemy presented abundant
evidence of the bravery and determination with which the conflict was waged. The field of battle at this
point was not as extended as that on the left of our line, nor was the force engaged as heavy as that brought
into action on that part of the line. Yet General Geary states that over 900 of the enemy's dead were buried
by our own troops and a large number left unburied, marching orders having been received before the work was
Brigadier General Geary, of whose Division the 147th Pennsylvania was a part, would note, "
I estimate upon personal observation-in which I am supported by statements from intelligent prisoners in our
hands-their killed in front of our lines at nearly or quite 1,200, of which we succeeded in burying 900,
and wounded in the ratio of at least four to one killed, the greater portion of whom were carried off during
the night by the enemy. We took over 500 prisoners, independent of those who were wounded, 600 of the latter
from Rodes' division alone falling into the hands of our army." As a testament to the ferocity of fighting,
Geary would add of his Division, "The command expended in the fight on July 3, and in subsequent skirmishing,
277,000 rounds of ammunition."