|Unit History Project|
On July 1, 1863, the stern chase of the Army of the Potomac after that of Lee was soon to result in another trial of battle, though few of the enlisted men knew at the time that the great struggle was imminent; at least such was the belief of the men of the Ninth New York. The regiment was then encamped at Emmitsburg, Md., and at about 8 o'clock a. m. started on the march towards Gettysburg, Penn., some nine miles distant. But a few miles had been covered when the well-known sounds of battle were heard, each step almost increasing the indications. The troops hurried along the pike without special orders until near the Codori • House, when, turning into the fields to the left, they continued on towards the Seminary Building, which was reached about noon. The Ninety-seventh New York and Eleventh Pennsylvania, of the brigade, were almost immediately sent to the front, followed soon after by the remaining regiments, including the Ninth New York. Buford's Cavalry, with the First and Third Divisions of the First Corps had, up to then, sustained the brunt of the fight, and now the Second Division was placed to extend the line, in the expectation of covering the open ground to that point occupied by the Eleventh Corps, which, at this hour, 1 o'clock, was in position farther to the right and rear, on Oak Ridge.
The Ninth New York, under command of Lieut. Col. Joseph A Moesch, belonged to Baxter's Brigade of Robinson's Division, First Corps. It was first put into line of battle facing the Mummasburg road; but the appearance of several brigades of the enemy, to the left and rear, necessitated a corresponding change of front, and it was then formed on the top of Seminary Ridge, protected by a stone wall which, for a while, concealed the men from the enemy's view.
The enemy, advancing in line of battle, opened fire on the Ninth, charging “up the hill with desperation.” The men of the Ninth stood their ground like heroes, encouraged by the bravery of their lieutenant colonel, who rode along the line cheering on his men. The men displayed great coolness, reserving their fire until the enemy came within fifty yards, when a murderous volley was poured into their ranks, which sent them reeling back in utter confusion, followed closely by the brigade, whose cheers rent the air.
The enemy at this point consisted of the North Carolina Brigade of Iverson, supported by Ramseur, and to the right by O'Neal, of Ewell's Corps, whose men marched as on parade towards the boys in blue. Such a concentrated fire was poured into Iverson's troops that they became at once totally demoralized, and lost a large number of prisoners.
At this time the regiment captured 150 prisoners, besides many officers. The enemy rallied, making another stand, when an incessant fire was kept up by both sides. After being engaged nearly three hours Baxter's Brigade was relieved by the First Brigade, commanded by General Paul, of the same division.
The Ninth took into this battle 148 men, including officers. Its loss, as far as ascertained, is 2 officers killed, 2 wounded, and I missing; 4 enlisted men killed, 15 wounded, and 44 missing. Many of the missing were taken prisoners while falling back through the town, where they were hotly pursued by the enemy, who had received heavy reinforcements. Captain Quirk and Lieutenant Clark were killed, Lieutenants Jacobs and Whitney wounded, and Lieutenant Barnes was taken prisoner.
Too much praise cannot be given to both officers and men for their bravery on this occasion, which was particularly noticed by General Baxter, who took occasion to thank the regiment. General Baxter won the admiration of every member of the Ninth Regiment for his bravery and coolness on the field, and stands in their estimation among the bravest of the brave.
Upon the retreat from Seminary Ridge the remnant of Robinson's Division stopped near the position of Stewart's U. S. Battery long enough to prevent its capture; then, with those who had preceded them, they took position at Ziegler's Grove, near Cemetery Hill, at about 5 p. m., and remained there for the night.
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History