Thursday, December 17, 2015

19th Virginia Infantry: Gettysburg and Pickett's Charge

Continued from 19 Virginia Infantry: Fredericksburg and North Carolina:

John Thomas Jennings was admitted to the Confederate Army Hospital in Farmville, Virginia, on 8 May 1863, suffering from rheumatism. He was there for at least four days before going home. On 1 July he married Margaret Ellen Tomlinson in Amherst County, so it is highly unlikely, he rejoined the 19th Virginia Infantry before they fought in Gettysburg.

On 13 May 1863, Charles Edward Jennings, my great grandfather was transferred from the Receiving and Wayside Hospital, or General Hospital No. 9, in Richmond to the Chimborazo Hospital Division No. 1. He was admitted on 15 May suffering from dropsy of the foot. Three days later, he was transferred to the Confederate Army hospital in Danville, Virginia, suffering from debilitas, or general weakness. He returned to the regiment on 29 May. Meanwhile, on 18 May, General Lee's command had issued Special Order No. 134, which detailed Charles Edward Jennings for duty at the general hospital in Lynchburg. He was to report to Sergeant W. O. Owen when he arrived.

Virginia Monument at Gettysburg, the first of the Confederate
State monuments, dedicated in 1917; personal collection

Daniel Rose and Leroy Powhatan Jennings had returned to the 19th sometime before Longstreet's corps began moving north on 15 June. They marched along the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge mountains stopping briefly between Ashby's and Snicker's Gap. Longstreet and his men reached Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, on 27 June 1864. Discipline had been strict. One deserter was executed as an example to the other soldiers.

The battle at Gettysburg had raged for two days before Longstreet's men arrived. They camped three miles from town the morning of 3 July. At noon they took a position behind a hill protected by artillery. The battle that morning had not gone as General Lee planned. Now he decided Pickett's division was to attack the right center of the Union line from Cemetery Ridge.

Pickett's charge at Cemetery Ridge, a drawing from Harper's Weekly; courtesy
of the Library of Congress

Pickett's men began the now famous "Pickett's Charge" and advanced about three quarters of a mile across an open field before coming under fire from three directions. Bitter hand-to-hand fighting continued for a time but eventually hope was lost and the Confederates had to retreat. The 19th lost nearly 60 percent of its men and the regiment's colonel had been wounded. Brigade commander, Garnett had been killed. Only a major was left able to make a brigade report to divisional headquarters. Daniel Rose and Leroy Powhatan Jennings had both been wounded. Daniel was picked up by Confederates. Leroy was not so lucky. After lying injured on the field of battle for hours, he was picked up by the Union side and taken prisoner after having been shot in the right lung.

4 July dawned and it rained heavily. The two armies stared across the bloody field at each other for most of the day. When it became clear Union general Meade was not going to risk another battle, Lee began moving his army towards Fairfield and Chambersburg. Several thousand wounded men were loaded into wagons, which lacked layers of straw or springs to absorb the jolts, and joined the miles long train, as well as 4,000 prisoners of war. The Confederates retreated towards Williamsport, Maryland. The Union pursuit was half-hearted. They didn't catch up to the Confederates until 14 July and found the enemy had just crossed the Potomac river.

Lee's retreat across the Potomac at Williamsport. Painting by Edwin Forbes;
courtesy of Wikipedia

The 19th Virginia Infantry was one of the first units to cross back into Virginia as they provided guard and escort duties to the prisoners. Those prisoners were delivered to authorities in Winchester on 10 July. Confederate general John D. Imboden described the retreat as  "that vast procession of misery." Most men were without food and water and many were injured.

To be continued...

Jennings, Charles E. (my great grandfather), Private, Co. H; enlisted 1 March 1862 at Amherst courthouse; Present until detailed 18 May 1863 to General Hospital in Lynchburg on surgeon's certificate; absent there through last roll August 1864.

Jennings, Daniel R. (my first cousin three times removed), Corporal, Co. H; enlisted 15 April 1861 at Amherst Courthouse; age 20, farmer; Private to 4th Corporal by August 1863; 4 Corporal to 3rd Corporal by October 1863; 3rd Corporal to 2nd Corporal by February 1864; Present until wounded at Ganes Mill on 27 June 1862; returned, wounded in action at Gettysburg on 3 July 1863; sent to Lynchburg Hospital; absent, detailed on government work, dropped as non-commissioned officer from 16 April 1865. Surrendered at Appomattox, pension in 1910.

Jennings, John T. (my great grand uncle), Private, Co. H; enlisted 15 April 1861 at Amherst Courthouse, age 23, farmer; present through last roll 31 December 1863.

Jennings, Leroy P.  (my first cousin three times removed), Corporal, Co. I; enlisted 29 April 1861 at Buffalo Springs; age 19, farmer; Private to 3rd Corporal by August 1863; 3rd Corporal to 2nd Corporal by October 1863; Present till wounded at Gaines Mill on 27 June 1862; returned; wounded in action and taken prisoner of war on 3 July 1863 at Gettysburg; gunshot in right lung; paroled at General Hospital West's Building in Baltimore on 25 September 1863; returned to duty by February 1864; through last roll August 1864.

Jennings, Samuel H. (my first cousin three times removed), Private, Co. H; enlisted 15 April 1861 at Amherst courthouse; age 24, farmer; Present until discharged discharged on 12 September 1861 by order of General Beauregard, surgeon's certificate, listed disease was smallpox. Pension 1900.

Mapping the 19th Virginia Infantry: September 1862-May 1863 
19th Virginia Infantry: Fredericksburg and North Carolina
19th Virginia Infantry: Battles of South Mountain and Sharpsburg
Mapping the 19th Virginia Infantry: August-September 1862
19th Virginia Infantry: Battle of Second Manassas
19th Virginia Infantry: Seven Days Battles
19th Virginia Infantry: Peninsula Campaign
Mapping the 19th Virginia Infantry: January-August 1862
19th Virginia Infantry: First Winter Camp
Mapping the 19th Virginia Infantry: 1861
19th Virginia Infantry: First Blood at Manassas
A Lover, Not a Fighter

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