Description[Battle of Gettysburg]. Thomas Ruger Autograph Draft of a Report of the Battle of Gettysburg to John Bachelder. Six pages, 8" x 10.25", Atlanta, August 1869. Ruger is preparing his report of the famous battle at the request of noted painter, lithographer, and photographer, John Bachelder (1825-1894), the preeminent 19th century historian and cartographer of the Battle of Gettysburg. He begins by apologizing for the delay : "Seeing reference recently made to yourself in connection with the meeting of the Society of the Army of the Potomac reminded me I had too long neglected to give you some information relative to the part taken by my command in the battle of Gettysburg particularly as circumstances connected with the attack made by the 2d Mass Vol. Infy and the 27th Indiana on the 3d day."
He continues: "I commanded the 1st Div of the 12th Corps during the 2d & 3d days...At about ten oclock...I received an order from General Slocum to attempt to carry that part of my original line...before going to the left in the evening...the enemy were becoming shaky or showed signs of falling back...I reported that I thought the enemy still held that part of the line in force and that a direct attack then would probably not succeed and result in serious loss...I then sent orders to General [in actuality, a colonel as noted later in the report] Colgrove...to advance a line of skirmishers (the enemy had none out...)...and if it was found that the enemy held the line or a weak line to attack at once with two Regts & take the position but if held in force not to attempt it...the 2d Mass & 27th Indiana moved out to charge the enemy came quickly under fire...and were repulsed. there was not time to correct the mistake or prevent the result. Genl Colgrove I knew to be an officer who would know the difference between finding the enemy still strong at the point or sensibly weakened and thought at first that he had intentionally disregarded my order...he asserted however that he received an order to charge the position with two regts without condition."
Somewhere between giving the order and it being delivered to Colgrove, it became botched and only a few heard the order being delivered: "There was no one present who heard all that passed between Col. Colgrove and the staff officer...The only one who state pointedly as to any part of the conversation stated that he heard the staff officer say that his Regiments were to make the 'charge' but he did not hear all...It was impossible to tell whether the staff officer delivered the order with sufficient precision...Col. Colgrove thought that he executed the order as delivered. There was no doubt as to the order I gave to the staff officer..." Ruger's report is heavily emendated throughout. Some ink smudging is present. Folds are lightly to moderately toned.
With a four integral page, typed letter, measuring 7.5" x 10.5", from Bachelder, presumably to Ruger, regarding the illustration to his History of the Battle of Gettysburg. In the letter he describes the scope of the work and adds a handwritten postscript reading: "Will you do me the favor to send me a copy of your Official Report. I have William's but presume yours may contain details not embodied in his."
Thomas H. Ruger (1833-1907), a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, reenlisted in the volunteer army with the outbreak of the Civil War where he saw action at the Battle of Antietam and led troops at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. He remained in the regular army after the war and was breveted brigadier general for his actions at Gettysburg. He served as the military governor of Georgia and as head of the Department of the South during Reconstruction. He was superintendent of the U. S. Military Academy before being posted on the frontier, participating in the Crow War.
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