2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Battle of Gettysburg - Wednesday, July 1, 1863
The Union 1st Corps' Retreat

The 24th Michigan Monument
After the repulse of CSA General Archer's and Davis' Brigades, a lull settled over the newly christened battlefield. Both sides took the time to reorganize and rethink the mornings events. With the arrival of Lieutenant General Ewell's Corps on the field, the men of Lt. General Ambrose Powell Hill's Corps who had clashed with General Reynolds' 1st Corps earlier in the day, renewed the attack. General Heth expressed a particular interest in retrying his men against the stubborn Yankee defenders. Now far outnumbering their Union foes at the point of contact, the men in gray advanced, coercing their blue clad adversaries to make a grudging withdrawal. Colonel Henry A. Morrow of the 24th Michigan and the Iron Brigade, described their desperate struggle in his morose after battle report.

The 24th Michigan's Colonel Henry A Morrow"The enemy advanced in two lines of battle, their right extending beyond and overlapping our left. I gave direction to the men to withhold their fire until the enemy should come within short range of our guns. This was done, but the nature of the ground was such that I am inclined to think we inflicted but little injury on the enemy at this time. Their advance was not checked, and they came on with rapid strides, yelling like demons. The Nineteenth Indiana, on our left, fought most gallantly, but was overpowered by superior numbers, the enemy having also the advantage of position, and, after a severe loss, was forced back. The left of my regiment was now exposed to an enfilading fire, and orders were given for this portion of the line to swing back, so as to face the enemy, now on this flank. Pending the execution of this movement, the enemy advanced in such force as to compel me to fall back and take a new position a short distance in the rear. In the meantime I had lost in killed and wounded several of my best officers and many of my men. Among the former were Captain William J. Speed, acting major, and Lieutenant Dickey, a young officer of great promise. Charles Bellore*, my second color-bearer, was killed here. The second line was promptly formed, and we made a desperate resistance, but the enemy accumulating in our front, and our losses being very great, we were forced to fall back and take up a third position beyond a slight ravine. My third color-bearer, Augustus Ernest, of Company K, was killed on this line. Major E. B. Wight, acting lieutenant-colonel, was wounded at this time and compelled to leave the field. By this time the ranks were so diminished that scarcely a fourth of the forces taken into action could be rallied. Corpl. Andrew Wagner, Company F, one of the color guard, took the colors, and was ordered by me to plant them in a position to which I designed to rally the men. He was wounded in the breast and left on the field. I now took the flag from the ground, where it had fallen, and was rallying the remnant of my regiment, when Private William Kelly, of Company E, took the colors from my hands, remarking, as he did so, 'The colonel of the Twenty-fourth shall never carry the flag while I am alive.' He was killed instantly. Private Lilburn A. Spaulding, of Company K, seized the colors and bore them for a time.

Willoughby RunSubsequently I took them from him to rally the men, and kept them until I was wounded. We had inflicted severe loss on the enemy, but their numbers were so overpowering and our own losses had been so great that we were unable to maintain our position, and were forced back, step by step, contesting every foot of ground, to the barricade...Shortly after I was wounded, Captain Edwards found the colors in the hands of a wounded soldier, who had fallen on the east side of the barricade. He was reclining on his right side, and was holding the colors in his left hand. I have not been able to ascertain the name of this brave soldier in whose paralyzed hands Captain Edwards found the flag. Captain Edwards describes him as being severely wounded, and he is, therefore, probably among our dead. His name may forever be unknown, but his bravery will never die." [5]

26th North Carolina MonumentThe 24th Michigan's antagonists on this day were the 26th North Carolina of Brigadier General J. Johnston Pettigrew's brigade. Major J. Jones of the 26th North Carolina would write of the continuing conflict, "On this second line, the fighting was terrible-our men advancing, the enemy stubbornly resisting, until the two lines were pouring volleys into each other at a distance not greater than 20 paces. At last the enemy were compelled to give way. They again made a stand in the woods, and the third time they were driven from their position, losing a stand of colors, which was taken by the Twenty-sixth; but, owing to some carelessness, they were left behind, and were picked up by some one else. While the Twenty-sixth was thus engaged, the rest of the line, having cleared the field and being exposed to heavy fire from the enemy's batteries, were ordered to fall back, which they did in perfect order. The Twenty-sixth, not receiving the order, were now engaged in collecting ammunition from the enemy's dead, being entirely out themselves...While the whole brigade behaved most admirably, especial credit is due the Eleventh and Twenty-sixth. The Twenty-sixth lost more than half its men killed and wounded, among them Colonel H. K. Burgwyn, jr., killed, Lieutenant Colonel J. R. Lane seriously wounded, both with the colors, with many other most valuable officers."

In a letter to the Governor of the Old North State, Captain J. J. Young, Quartermaster of the 26th North Carolina, would add,

"Near Gettysburg, PA., July 4, 1863.

My Dear Governor:

I will trespass a few minutes upon your indulgence to communicate the sad fate that has befallen the old Twenty-sixth. The heaviest conflict of the war has taken place in this vicinity. It commenced July 1, and raged furiously until late last night. Heth's division, of A. P. Hill's corps, opened the ball, and Pettigrew's brigade was the advance. We went in with over 800 men in the regiment. There came out but 216, all told, unhurt. Yesterday they were again engaged, and now have only about 80 men for duty." [5]

*I have seen this name also listed as "Ballard" and "Ballare". However, according to the NPS Soldiers and Sailors database and the 24th Michigan's web site, there is only a Charles Bellore noted as serving with the 24th Michigan. He left the service as a Corporal.