Report from Capt. Hubert Dilger, Battery I, First Ohio Light Artillery to Maj. T. W. Osborn, Chief of Artillery, Eleventh Corps
JULY 29, 1863
MAJOR: In regard to the part my battery took in the engagement July 1, 2, and 3, near Gettysburg, Pa., I have the honor to report:
The battery arrived at Gettysburg at about 10 a.m. July 1, attached to the division of Maj. Gen. C. Schurz, commanded by Brig. Gen. A. Schimmelfennig, who ordered me to take a position between the Taneytown and Baltimore road, wherever I might find it necessary, to which order I complied by putting one section, Lieutenant [Clark] Scripture commanding , on the highest point of the field. A four-gun battery of the enemy immediately opened fire at about 1,400 yards on this section, and compelled me very soon to bring my whole battery into action. During this heavy artillery dual, the enemy had been re-enforced to eight pieces, of which two advanced [to within] 800 or 1,000 yards, but I finally succeeded in silencing them, with a loss of five carriages, which they had to leave on the ground, after several attempts to bring them to the rear with new horses.
Short time afterward, a rifled battery commenced to play on me, and you brought, at my request, Lieutenant Wheeler's battery to my support, and gave me the honor of taking charge of both batteries. I instantly advanced Lieutenant Weidman's section about 600 yards on our right, on the Baltimore and Harrisburg road, and returned from there the other four pieces of my battery on the left, under protection of Lieutenant Wheeler's fire, about 400 yards.
In advancing, a ditch (5 feet wide and 4 feet deep, crossing the field in our front) had to be filled up, so as to form at least a passage for a column by pieces, which was executed under a very heavy fire. Lieutenant Wheeler followed as soon as my pieces were in position, and we remained here until the enemy's infantry commenced to mass on our right flank 100 yards, supported by about four batteries, which concentrated their fire on us, one of them enfilading our line completely, causing great damage to men and horses, and disabling one piece of mine and one of Wheeler's battery.
Our final retreat was executed in the same manner as the advance, and our infantry falling back toward the town, which could only be reached on one road, I sent all the pieces back excepting one section of each battery, commanding with them the entrance of the town as long as possible. The two rifled guns had to retire first, because I would not expose them too much at this short range, at which they commenced to become useless.
Our infantry having reached the town, I left my position, and was relieved on the Market road by two pieces of Battery G, Fourth U.S. Artillery.
The main road was completely blockaded by artillery, infantry, and ambulances, and I took the first road to the left, marched around the town, and rejoined my command on Cemetery Hill, having lost on this day 14 men, 24 horses, and 1 piece disabled.
During the whole engagement, three of my caissons were always employed to carry ammunition, and as slowly as I directed the fire, we were twice nearly out of ammunition.
In regard to the ammunition, I must say that I was completely dissatisfied with the results observed of the fuses for 12-pounder shells and spherical case, on the explosion of which, by the most careful preparation, you cannot depend. The shell fuses, again, were remarkably less reliable than those for spherical case. The fuses for 3-inch ammunition caused a great many explosions in our right before the mouth of the guns, and it becomes very dangerous for another battery to advance in the fire of his batteries , which kind of advancing of smooth-bore batteries is of very great importance on the battlefield, and should be done without danger. I would, therefore, most respectively recommend the use of percussion shells only.
The other three days, major, I had the honor to stay under your immediate command, and cannot report any fact of special importance, excepting the loss of 2 men and 4 horses more.
The behavior of officers and men of my battery was excellent. Also, I am very much obliged to Lieutenant Wheeler for his kind and gallant assistance on the first day.
I have the honor, major, to sign, your obedient,
Captain, Commanding Battery I, First Ohio Artillery.
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