The death of Crab’s fellow officer by cannonball you cannot forget. I have tried to find the officer’s name. Lt. Cherry does not say in his memoir.
The official report of General Doles states that the 4th Georgia lost two officers on July 1. Doles names one of the officers killed, Lt. Col. D. R. E. Winn. Colonel Winn commanded the regiment. His wife had a premonition of his death:
“It was said that on the morning of 2 July the wife of Lt. Col. David R. E. Winn, commander of the 4th Georgia, entered her parlor in Americus, Georgia. To her horror she saw that the portrait of Colonel Winn had fallen from the wall and struck a chair post, which punctured the colonel’s face. She ran to a neighbor’s house and told them [sic] that she believed that Winn had been killed in battle. When news of Gettysburg reached Americus, the list of killed included Colonel Winn, who had been shot in the face on 1 July.”
H. Pfanz, Gettysburg – The First Day, p. 256 (Chapel Hill: Univ. Of North Carolina 2001).
The Regimental History names a second officer killed on July 1:
“CAPTAIN JOHN T. LANE was first sergeant of company G, elected second lieutenant in August, 1861, and promoted to captain when the regiment was reorganized. He was killed while leading his men in the battle of Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. He was a brave man and a model officer, and died a hero’s death in defense of the rights of the South.”
H. Thomas, History of the Doles-Cook Brigade, p. 87 (Atlanta 1903). It must have been Lane’s sword that Crab picked up after the cannonball struck. The sword did not come down to us.
Doles’s Brigade spent July 2 on Middle Street in Gettysburg facing Cemetery Hill. That evening, Lee moved the brigade to support the advance of Pickett’s Division. Crab wrote:
I witness’d during the three following days, July 2, 3, & 4, the famous fighting which took place of the two armies of Gen’ls Lee and Meade. It is said to be the greatest artillery duel that ever took place on this continent.
We also witnessed the firing and charge of Gen’l Pickett’s division, which immortalized him and which is now in paintings, though we only were in action on July 1st and but one of our company was wounded. Many said that it was by the death of Gen’l Stonewall Jackson that Gen’l Lee failed to whip the enemy there. We retreated to Virginia, which took about 10 days, undergoing in the meantime many privations and hardships. At times, it was looking as if we were going to have a renewal of the battle, especially
at Williamsport, Maryland, where we recrossed the Potomac River — having to wade it to our armpits.
General Doles wrote a concise after-action report for Gettysburg, as follows:
Maj. H. A. WHITING,
MAJOR: This brigade was formed into line of battle about 1 p.m. July 1, in front of Gettysburg, Pa. We occupied the left of Major-General Rodes’ division. The enemy’s cavalry picket appearing in force on our front and left flank, skirmishers from this command were ordered to dislodge him. After a short engagement, he was driven from his position, when we occupied his position (a hill to our left), about 3.30 p.m.
The enemy moved his force from our front, made a strong demonstration on our left, driving our skirmishers from the hill from which we had driven him. The command was then moved by the left flank, to meet any attack the enemy might attempt on our left and rear. We found the enemy strongly posted, with infantry and artillery, on the hill from which our skirmishers had been driven. The brigade of General Gordon, of Major-General Early’s division, having made a conjunction with our left, we moved forward to attack the enemy in his position. Our effort was successful. He was driven from behind a rock fence, with heavy loss in killed and wounded, and a large number of prisoners sent to our rear. We suffered severely from the enemy’s batteries and musketry in this attack.
While we were in pursuit of the enemy, a strong force of the enemy appeared on my right flank and rear. We
changed our front to meet this force. General Gordon continued the pursuit of the enemy toward the town. We met the force on our right, attacked and routed him, pursuing him across the plain in front of Gettysburg. But few of this force escaped us. We then moved toward the theological college, to the right of Gettysburg, where the brigades of Generals Daniel, Ramseur, Iverson, and Colonel O’Neal were engaged with the enemy.
As we advanced toward the enemy, our position at that time being on his right flank, the enemy withdrew his forces from the college hill to the railroad. We then moved rapidly by the left flank, to cut him off from the town. We did not succeed, as he retired faster than we advanced. We followed through the town as far as the outer edge of town, when I received an order to halt the column, and to form line of battle in the street running east and west through the town.
We remained in line here until about 8 p.m. July 2, when we moved by the right flank, forming line and advancing toward the enemy’s position on Cemetery Hill. This column of attack was composed of Generals Ramseur’s, Iverson’s, and this brigade. We moved forward until the line arrived within 100 yards of the enemy’s line. After consulting with Generals Ramseur and Iverson, the line was ordered to fall back to a dirt road some 300 yards to the rear. We remained in this position until 1 a.m. July 4. We were then ordered to fall back to the heights near the theological college. This command was actively engaged in heavy skirmishing during July 2, 3, and 4.
In the action of July 1, Lieutenant-Colonel [D. R. E.] Winn was killed and Lieutenant-Colonel [S. P.] Lumpkin fell, severely wounded (leg since amputated), while gallantly leading their respective regiments in a charge against the enemy. . . .
I have the honor to report and return one flag captured by the Twelfth Georgia. We lost no colors.
The brigade went into action with 131 officers and 1,238 enlisted men; total, 1,369.
The National Park Service has published a fuller account of the brigade’s service, available at http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/gett/
Only one year had passed since William C. and James A. Cherry first saw action in the Army of Northern Virginia. R. E. Lee said it best:
“There were never such men in an army before. They will go anywhere and do anything if properly led.”