O!How I Dread Tommorrow~Gettysburg~July 1, 1863

0! How I Dread Tomorrow~Sallie Robbins Broadhead, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

fighting on the first day

fighting on the first day

July 1– Wednesday– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– The weather is cloudy and breezy all day. High temperature reaches 76 degrees. The fighting begins early in the morning as Confederate infantry runs into General Buford’s dismounted cavalry in a good defensive position. Both sides bring up more troops and heavy fighting takes place all morning. A lull occurs at mid-day. All afternoon Confederate forces push hard and the Federals retreat through the town. Fighting ceases as dusk descends. Lee’s army wins the day’s battle; however, the Union forces do not retreat but take up defensive positions. The casualties are heavy, about 9,000 Union and about 6,000 Confederate. The Confederate 26th North Carolina loses 627 of 839 men, their commander, Colonel Henry Burgwyn, fatally wounded. The Federal 24th Michigan loses 399 of 496, the 16th Maine 263 of 298 and the 151st Pennsylvania 337 of 467. The dead include Union General John Reynolds. Among the wounded is Confederate General Harry Heth, age 37, graduate of West Point, Class of 1847, shot in the head and remains unconscious. Union General Solomon Meredith, age 53, politician from Indiana, is seriously wounded. Union General Francis Barlow, age 28, first in his graduating class at Harvard, a New York lawyer and newspaperman, is seriously wounded and taken prisoner. Confederate General James Archer, a Maryland man age 45 and sick with fever, is taken prisoner.

General John Reynolds, killed on the first day

General John Reynolds, killed on the first day

July 1– Wednesday– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– Sallie Robbins Broadhead, wife, teacher and mother of a 4 year old, remembers. “I got up early this morning to get my baking done before any fighting would begin. I had just put my bread in the pans when the cannons began to fire, and true enough the battle had begun in earnest, about two miles out on the Chambersburg Pike. What to do or where to go, I did not know. People were running here and there, screaming that the town would be shelled. No one knew where to go or what to do. My husband went to the garden and picked a mess of beans, for he declared the Rebels should not have one.” At nightfall, “the town was full of the filthy Rebels . . . all is quiet, but 0! how I dread tomorrow.”

July 1– Wednesday– Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– Tillie Pierce, a 15 year old resident, receives permission from her parents to accompany a neighbor, Mrs Schriver with the two Schriver children to the home of Mrs Schriver’s parents three miles south of town. Tillie, whose father runs a prosperous butcher shop in town, has been attending the Young Ladies Seminary, a finishing school near her home. “At last we reached Mr. Weikert’s and were gladly welcomed to their home. It was not long after our arrival until Union artillery came hurrying by. After the artillery had passed, infantry began coming. I soon saw that these men were very thirsty and would go to the spring which is on the north side of the house. I was not long in learning what I could do. Obtaining a bucket, I hastened to the spring, and there, with others, carried water to the moving column until the spring was empty. We then went to the pump standing on the south side of the house, and supplied water from it. Thus we continued giving water to our tired soldiers until night came on, when we sought rest indoors. Now the wounded began to come in greater numbers. That evening Beckie Weikert and I went out to the barn to see what was transpiring there. Nothing before in my experience had ever paralleled the sight we then and there beheld. There were the groaning and crying, the struggling and dying, crowded side by side, while attendants sought to aid and relieve them as best they could.”

a Gettysburg street seen from the Lutheran Seminary, 1863

a Gettysburg street seen from the Lutheran Seminary, 1863

July 1– Wednesday– Cashtown, Pennsylvania– Having spent the day riding with General James Longstreet, Sir Arthur James Fremantle describes some of what he saw and heard. “After passing Johnson’s division, we came up to a Florida brigade, which is now in Hill’s corps; but as it had formerly served under Longstreet, the men knew him well. Some of them (after the General had passed) called out to their comrades, ‘Look out for work now, boys, for here’s the old bull dog again.’ At 3 P. M. we began to meet wounded men coming to the rear, and the number of these soon increased most rapidly, some hobbling alone, others on stretchers carried by the ambulance corps, and others in the ambulance wagons. Many of the latter were stripped nearly naked, and displayed very bad wounds. This spectacle, so revolting to a person unaccustomed to such sights, produced no impression whatever upon the advancing troops, who certainly go under fire with the most perfect nonchalance. They show no enthusiasm or excitement, but the most complete indifference. This is the effect of two years’ almost uninterrupted fighting. . . . The town of Gettysburg was now occupied by Ewell, and was full of Yankee dead and wounded. I climbed up a tree in the most commanding place I could find, and could form a pretty good general idea of the enemy’s position, although the tops of the ridges being covered with pine-woods, it was very difficult to see anything of the troops concealed in them. The firing ceased about dark, at which time I rode back with General Longstreet and his Staff to his headquarters at Cashtown, a little village eight miles from Gettysburg. . . . At supper this evening, General Longstreet spoke of the enemy’s position as being ‘very formidable.’ He also said that they would doubtless intrench themselves strongly during the night. The Staff officers spoke of the battle as a certainty, and the universal feeling in the army was one of profound contempt for an enemy whom they have beaten so constantly, and under so many disadvantages.”


part of Gettysburg National Cemetery

part of Gettysburg National Cemetery

July 1– Wednesday– near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Confederate soldier Benjamin Farinholt writes to his wife, Lelia. “We are living very well over here and the amount of money saved to our Government every day by our subsisting on the Enemy is about $200,000. We are impressing & purchasing a great many fine horses from the Enemy and our Commissaries are supplied with fine Cattle sheep &c, the rations of Whiskey, Coffee & Sugar remind me of our living at West Point. We are about 20 miles from the Pennsylvania line, and the farms are generally about 1000 acres in size and produce from 12 to 15 bushels of corn and from 30 to 40 bushels of wheat to the acre. The owners are generally of Dutch descent and are very much terrified at our presence and think it horrible that we should invade Pennsylvania, indeed they have known nothing of the war heretofore, and I believe unless we do bring it home to them in this manner they would be willing to carry it on indefinitely. Of the plans of General Lee I know nothing our Division is in the rear. General Ewell & Hill and some of Longstreet’s Division are near Harrisburg the Capital of Pa. We can take it very readily but whither it will be our plan to attack it or Baltimore or Philadelphia I do not know, we have already supplied our Army with a great many shoes hats &c . . . . Our soldiers have burnt no houses and no barns as the Enemy do and are obeying strictly Genl Lee’s orders to ‘take no property unless we pay for it’ but we have burnt some larger iron works, foundries &c, and are tearing up their Rail Road by whole-sale.”

July 1– Wednesday– Chambersburg, Pennsylvania– Rachel Cormany diaries her day. “It is very muddy this morning of yesterday’s rain– in fact I believe it has rained every day this week. I was out hunting yeast & got some at last . . . . Every one can see by their actions that they [the rebels] do not feel quite as easy as they would like. They are chopping &c at a great rate over at the R.R. all morning. I judge they are breaking up the iron by the sound. Must now go & set my bread. Evening. Got good bread. Mrs. Fritz was here & told us of Emma Plough being sick from the fright & how the rebels have been carrying on out there. They robbed the country people of nearly everything they had and acted very insultingly.”

monument to Pennsylvania's soldiers at Gettysburg

monument to Pennsylvania’s soldiers at Gettysburg

July 1– Wednesday– Hanover, Pennsylvania– Union soldier Samuel Cormany, Rachel’s husband writes about his day. “I had a fine chicken breakfast– and a feast of other good things. . . . . Very fine rich country– and such fine water–Settlers are Old Style People. Many Dunkards. We were given any amount to eat all along the way–The Rebs who had passed this way acted very meanly– All around– demanding settlers to pay money to exempt horses from being taken and barns and houses from being burned. . . . . Found N.C. R. R. badly torn up– During the day we heard heavy cannonading– and later musketry firing– in the direction of Gettysburg. Rumor was, ‘There’s a Battle on at Gettysburg’ and was not hard to believe– Some of our Cavalry had fought desperately here today, early– Charging into the enemy’s rear and flanks– Killed some 30 rebs and hustled large forces on their way. So they had to abandon their dead and some of their wounded– We lay on arms in a field for the night–we were well fed, but awfully tired and sleepy–A shower of rain failed to awaken me.” [The term “Dunkard” refers to several Christian groups with roots in German pietism. Hundreds had come to Pennsylvania because of William Penn’s proclamation of religious toleration and freedom. Some Dunkards practice pacifism as part of their faith.]

large artillery at Gettysburg

large artillery at Gettysburg

July 1– Wednesday– near Manchester, Maryland– Union soldier Elisha Hunt Rhodes: “We have been doing some fine marching for the past few days, making an average of twenty miles per day. . . . . Young ladies stand at the gates and furnish the men with cold water and loaves of breadf as we pass. . . . I am tired– in fact I never was so tired in my life. But Hurrah! It is all for Union!”

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