Official Report of Captain Van Brown of the Second North Carolina Battalion at Gettysburg.
Report of Capt. Van Brown, Second North Carolina Battalion.
Camp Near Darkesville, W. Va.,
July 19, 1863.
Captain: I have the honor to report that the Second North Carolina Battalion, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel [H.L.] Andrews, entered the engagement of July 1, with the remainder of the brigade, between the hours of 12 m. and 1 p.m.
The original position in line of the battalion was on the left of the brigade. Afterward, and when the troops on the left of our brigade had become warmly engaged with the enemy, the Forty-third and Fifty-third Regiments were shifted to the left, throwing the battalion in the center, with the Forty-fifth Regiment immediately on its right. Moving forward in this position for a distance of nearly 1 1/2 miles, through open fields, and constantly exposed to a galling fire of artillery and musketry, it encountered the enemy, strongly posted near a deep railroad cut, and along the crest of a hill in rear of the cut. Here the contest was protracted and bloody. Finally, the Thirty-second Regiment moving with and supporting the Forty-fifth and battalion on the right, the enemy were driven in confusion from the railroad cut across the hill into the outskirts of the town, where large numbers of them threw down their arms and surrendered. Many prisoners were also captured by the battalion and the Forty-fifth in the railroad cut.
In this charge, and during the previous advance, the battalion suffered heavily, its loss in officers and men amounting to about two-thirds of the number who entered the fight. It was in the final charge that Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews was killed. He had been wounded already in the hip, but continued to lead his men until struck down within a few yards of the enemy's line. Major [John M.] Hancock was about the same time carried from the field, he having received a wound through the breast. It may justly be said of every officer and man in the battalion that they discharged their whole duty.
The battalion rested with the rest of the brigade during the night of the 1st under cover of a railroad embankment, and took its position on the morning of the 2d between the Thirty-second and Fifty-third Regiments. This it held during the day, in the afternoon being subjected to a heavy fire of artillery, from which, however, it suffered very little, having lost only 1 man wounded.
On July 3, the battalion, under command of Captain [Van] Brown, was assigned a position on the right of the brigade, and was employed during the day chiefly as skirmishers, in which capacity it rendered important service, losing only 2 men slightly wounded.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Capt, Comdg. Second North Carolina Battalion.
Capt. W.M. Hammond,
Series I Vol. XXVII (Part II) Ch. XXXIX Pgs. 577-578.