Report of Col. James L. Sheffield, Forty-eighth Alabama Infantry.
AUGUST 7, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor herewith to give a statement of the part taken by the Forty-eighth Alabama in the battle of Gettysburg, on July 2 and 3.
On the morning of the 2d ultimo, this regiment, with the brigade, marched from New Guilford to the field, a distance of 20 miles, where we were placed in line of battle in the open field, where Companies A and H were ordered on picket. After lying in line of battle a half hour, we were ordered forward, and advanced a distance of 1 mile over a very rough and rugged road—the worst cliffs of rocks there could have been traveled over.
On reaching the enemy’s lines, where they were well and strongly situated, I ordered my regiment forward, which was gallantly obeyed until within about 20 paces of their line. Here the fire of the enemy was severe. Here the men opened fire on the enemy, and for some time continued, until the left, from the loss of men and their exposed position to a fire from the front and from the mountain on the right, were forced to fall back. The right steadily maintained its position for some time, forcing the enemy to withdraw from their first line and establish their line a short distance to their rear, where they continued their fire. After the contest had continued for an hour and a half, and my whole regiment had been brought to the front the third time, only to be driven back, I ordered them to reform in the rear of their advanced position. While doing this, I was ordered to take command of the brigade. After this, the regiment was commanded by Capt. T. J. Eubanks, who reformed and carried it to the front, where the battle-ground was held during the night, bringing off our wounded.
In this battle the regiment had 275 men engaged. There were 102 killed, wounded, and missing.
On the 3d ultimo, the regiment was withdrawn a short distance, where we remained during the day, excepting while engaged in a short fight with cavalry.
At night, we were still farther withdrawn to the rear. The men and officers acted very well.
I cannot close without speaking of those who acted most conspicuously during the hottest of the conflict. Lieutenants [F. M.] Burk and [R. T.] Ewing and Captains Eubanks and [Jeremiah] Edwards are especially noticed for their gallantry in leading their men forward and remaining in front of their commands encouraging their men.
Lieutenant-Colonel [W. M.] Hardwick and Major [C. B.] St. John were very efficient in performing their part until wounded.
It is proper to state that in the account of missing, 24 men were taken prisoners, with Captain Edwards and Lieutenant [T. L.] Christian (of General Law’s staff), while posting pickets after night on the 2d ultimo.
J. L. SHEFFIELD,
Colonel Forty-eighth Alabama Regiment.