Writing update – TENNESSEE VALOR: The 7th Tennessee Infantry at the Battle of Gettysburg: Part 2

Posted on Friday, August 19th, 2011

 

Writing update – TENNESSEE VALOR: The 7th Tennessee Infantry at the Battle of Gettysburg: Part 2

This is the second and final segment describing the 7th Tennessee in Pickett’s Charge:

Colonel Fite wrote that only half of his force made it into the Emmitsburg confines. This means out of the 245 or so men who started the advance, maybe 120 – 125 were still with the colonel. However, he did not state whether those with him were able-bodied, or wounded. What this means is that those who were wounded west of Emmitsburg Road did not move forward, and they were picked up by volunteers who carried them back to safety. There also were a number of soldiers who chose not to climb the fence, but instead settled in west of the fence and began to fire at the Yanks occupying the Stone Wall.

Again, Fite gave the order to advance, only now every Tennessean in the Emmitsburg Road confines knew what faced them if they charged that last 125 yards up to the Stone Wall. They knew they were well within the ‘Killing Zone’, where virtually every shot fired would find Tennessee flesh. It would take a really determined man, or maybe one who was no longer thinking rationally to stay with John Fite. In fact, the Federals were so excited about the possibility of the Confederates advancing further, they were shouting, “Come on! Come on!”

When John Fite climbed over the eastern fence and advanced that last 125 yards, he was supported by only a fraction of those in the Emmitsburg Road position. He wrote later, “Not more than fifty of us got across the last fence.” This small mob of men clustered around their colonel and their battle flag. They advanced in a spear-headed formation, with the colors and colonel at the tip.

 

The Federals, men of the 14th Connecticut immediately poured a heavy fire into the Confederates and the Tennessean formation, “melted away to a mere skirmish line.” A small number, maybe as many as a dozen or so, drifted to the right and joined the mess of Tennesseans, Virginians, and other Confederates who swept over the Angle and pushed the Northerners back. But this assault was crushed within five minutes and the survivors fled.

The 14th Connecticut, many of the riflemen armed with breech-loading weapons, pinned the remaining able-bodied Tennesseans down with a constant stream of fire. Every one of those 50-or-so men who went towards the Stone Wall were either a casualty, or soon, were lying on the ground waving something white, in surrender. Then, the shooting stopped and the Yanks came over the wall and gathered up the wounded and corralled the survivors, sending them into incarceration. Only a few Tennesseans who had joined Col. Fite in that final assault got away, including Capt. Archibald Norris, who ripped the flag off the flagstaff and outran his pursuers.

My research has identified 69 Tennesseans who may have been part of Fite’s attack on the Stone Wall and the Angle. Of that number, 29 were shot down, and all the wounded captured; 35 were captured; and 5 escaped, though three of those were wounded.

Here are the casualties (again this list is open to alterations):

Col. John Fite (Staff) – Wounded in leg and captured.

Maj. William Williamson (Staff) – Wounded; right arm shattered, and captured. Arm amputated.

2nd Lt. George Cowen (Co. A) – Killed near stone wall.

Pvt. John Luck (Co. A) – wounded in right arm, and captured. Exchanged Aug. 17, 1863

Cpt. John Allen (Co. B) – Wounded in the neck and captured. Sent to Johnson’s Island.

1st Lt. Frank Timberlake (Co. B) – Wounded in side and captured. Sent to Johnson’s Island.

Pvt. Paleaman Dillard (Co. B) – Wounded and captured.

Pvt. James Hale (Co. B) – Wounded and captured. Paroled.

Pvt. John Hall (Co. B) – Wounded and captured. Sent to Ft. Delaware. Died of small pox Oct. 17, 1863.

Pvt. Thomas Hubbard (Co. B) – Wounded and captured. Sent to Baltimore. Died of wounds Aug 2, 1863.

Pvt. Samuel King (Co. B) – Wounded and captured.

Pvt. David Lynch (Co. B) – Wounded in arm and hip, and captured. Exchanged and furloughed, Nov. 20, 1863.

Pvt. James Paty (Co. B) – Killed near stone wall.

5th Sgt. John Webster (Co. D) – Wounded and captured. Sent to Ft. Delaware.

Pvt. James Hearn (Co. D) – Wounded and captured. Sent to Ft. Delaware. Died of wounds Aug 8, 1863.

Pvt. Andrew Whitehead (Co. D) – Wounded and captured. Sent to Ft. Delaware.

2nd Sgt. Blackman Dunn (Co. E) – Wounded and captured. Sent to Ft. Delaware.

1st Cpl. William Garrett (Co. E) – Wounded and captured. Sent to Ft. Delaware.

Pvt. John Etson (Co. E) – Wounded and captured. Sent to Ft. Delaware.

Pvt. George Hamilton (Co. E) – Wounded and captured. Sent to Ft. Delaware.

Cpt. Asoph Hill (Co. F) – Wounded and captured. Died of wounds July 8, 1863.

Pvt. James Sutton (Co. F) – Killed near stone wall.

1st Sgt. William Baird (Co. G) – Killed near stone wall.

Pvt. John Roberts (Co. G) – Killed near stone wall.

Pvt. Thomas Halloway (Co. H) – Killed from wounds to head and shoulder.

Pvt. William Wade (Co. H) – Wounded and captured. Sent to Ft. McHenry.

Pvt. Robert Wormack (Co. H) – Wounded in right arm (amputated) and captured.

Pvt. John Eatherly (Co. I) – Killed near stone wall.

Pvt. James Walpole (Co. I) – Wounded and captured. Sent to Ft. Delaware.

 

Those who reached the Angle and survived:

2nd Lt. John Moore (Co. B) – Got back safely.

1st Cpl. Joseph Bashaw (Co. I) – Wounded near stone wall. Got back safely. Captured at Greencastle. Paroled.

Cpt. Archibald Norris (Co. K) – Saves the colors. Got back safely.

Sgt. William Cato (Co. K) – Wounded slightly. Got back safely.

Pvt. William Oliver (Co. G) – Carried the colors: Wounded in slightly in leg. Got back safely.

Casualty in the retreat:

Pvt. James Grissom (Co. G) – Killed by artillery fire.

Lastly, once the sun set, that evening and ending the battle of Gettysburg, the 7th Tennessee, at just over 100 men, was a shell of what it had been 72 hours earlier. The regiment was now commanded by Lt. Col. Samuel G. Shepard, who also had to do double-duty leading the brigade. Of course, the entire brigade—counting all five regiments—only numbered around 350 men.

Here is a muster roll calculation taken on the night of July 3, 1863:

Unit Commander Total

Reg’t.

Lt. Col. Samuel G. Shepard

2

Co. A

2nd Lt. Burgess Wilmouth

10

Co. B

2nd Lt. John Moore

16

Co. C

1st Lt. Oliver Foster

13

Co. D

Sgt. Roman Little

11

Co. E

Sgt. Jesse Cage

5

Co. F

2nd Lt. John Sloan

10

Co. G

Sgt. Tom Jackson

11

Co. H

No officer or NCO

7

Co. I

Capt. James Bass

18

Co. K

Capt. Archibald Norris

10

Total

103

 

 

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7 Responses to
“Writing update – TENNESSEE VALOR: The 7th Tennessee Infantry at the Battle of Gettysburg: Part 2”

  • jim lemley says: May 20th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    my gggrandfather was 1st lieutenant john rains demonbreun of the 30th tn. infantry. sgt. blackman dunn was his first cousin. i thank you for the info on the 7th tn. infantry and especially on sgt. dunn. my daughters belong to the united daughters of the confederacy in columbia tn. i will pass your website on to them they will be thrilled to find out their relative was one of seven to make it to the angle at the stonewall. our family visited gettysburg in oct. 2010. my family stood at the angle never suspecting one of our relatives had accomplished so much with his regiment. thanks again for all your work. jim lemley springfield tn.

  • A.C. Williams says: July 9th, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    It was about 2 years ago that I accidentally discovered my GGGrandfather Joseph F. Williams while doing family tree research. Had no idea that I had any ancestors that served in the Civil War. What an honor to learn of his courage and those of his fellow soldiers who served in Company E of the 7th Tennessee Infantry. I have since discovered additional documents that indicate he was captured on the 3rd of July at Gettysburg and sent to the Union Prison at Fort Delaware, described as a “Perfect Hell On Earth”. He spent the remainder of the war, almost 2 years as a prisoner of war at Fort Delaware. When finally released, and in poor health due to prison conditions, he returned home to his wife and two young sons in Sumner County, Tennessee. Records indicate, due to his health, he was greatly limited in the work he able to do to support his family. Joseph applied for and was granted a pension thru the State of Tennessee for his service in 1902. Included with his pension records is the following certified statement from Blackman H Dunn and James W. Gray ” … both served with Joseph F. Williams from Seven Pines to Gettysburg. Were in prison with him and that under all circumstances he was faithful in the discharge of all duties.” Wow what a testament to his courage! Would love to know exactly how far he advanced during the 7th Tennessee Infantry’s attack on the “Angle”. I may never know for sure but would have to assume, based on this statement above from his two comrades, that he would have most certainly made it at least as far as the Emmitsburg Road Fences and quite possible was one of the few that may have actually made it to the “Angle”. Looking forward to the book with great anticipation and comments from readers.

  • marcia g. partekel says: May 28th, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    know of any images of major William henry Williamson of the 7th Tennessee infantry anywhere? have his tactics manual looking up more history of him and can only find later years photo of him as judge.

  • tvenner says: May 29th, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Marcia G. Partekel – Yes, there is a photo of Maj. William H. Williamson taken of him in uniform. I will send it to your email address.

  • Tom Elmore says: December 15th, 2014 at 3:59 am

    I am researching an article on college alumni at Gettysburg. The 7th Tennessee had quite a number of Cumberland University alumni, including several at Gettysburg: Col. John A. Fite (Law School, 1855); Maj. William H. Williamson; possibly Adj. George A. Howard; and Lt. Mitchell A. Anderson of Company K (killed). Can any others be confirmed?

  • Thomas Horn says: November 24th, 2015 at 3:43 am

    My ggggrandfather, Charles L. Brandon was in Co K, 7th Tennessee Infantry. He enlisted May 28, 1861 from Gallatin, Tennessee. He was captured in Pickett’s Charge up Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg, PA on July 3, 1863. Sent to Ft. Delaware Prison. He was paroled April 18, 1865 and ordered released by President Lincoln. This date was the date that President Lincoln was assassinated.

    Sumner County Archives, Sumner County Tennessee in the Civil War..

  • Thomas Boyers says: January 5th, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    I’m Oliver Foster’s Descendant, his daughter was my great grandmother.

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