Official Report on the Battle of Gettysburg
The War of the Rebellion Official Records Volume 27 part 1.
592 - 595 General George Sykes
598 - 605 General James Barnes
613 - 615 Colonel Strong Vincent
615 - 622 Colonel James C. Rice
622 - 626 Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
626 - 627 Captain Atherton Clark
652 - 656 General Samuel Crawford
658 - 659 Colonel Joseph Fisher
A few months after submitting these reports a controversy would break out between Rice and Fisher, Rice writing to the New York Times in an article entitled: The Rebel Invasion of Pennsylvania.; The Truth Regarding Some Important Historical Facts.
and Fisher offering a response. Sykes had initially gone along with some of Crawford and Fisher's claims as seen in these reports.
On page 594 Sykes reports,
"Colonel Rice, who succeeded to the command of the Third Brigade, First Division, on the fall of
Colonel Vincent, deserves great credit for the management of his troops. His position on our extreme left was one of the most important held by the corps, and the
unflinching tenacity with which he maintained it, and his subsequent forcible occupation of the ground possessed by the enemy, with Chamberlain's regiment (Twentieth Maine)
and two regiments of Fisher's brigade, Third Division, are worthy of the highest praise."
However in a letter to General Crawford a few months later Sykes states,
"In my official report of the battle, credit is given to this portion of your command, (part of Fisher's brigade) for
assisting in taking forcible possession of Round Top Mountain, but the merit and result of that achievement, I have always thought due to Colonel, now General Rice, and
especially to Colonel Chamberlain and his regiment the Twentieth Maine Volunteers."1
The War Department apparently lost Chamberlain's original report. In 1883 the clerk wrote to Chamberlain asking if he still had a copy.
Chamberlain responded that he did not, but could recreate a report from his "memory and notes." The report shown here is that recreation.*
The original report still exists thanks to a copy he sent to the Adjutant General of Maine.
It can be viewed at: www.gdg.org.
Chamberlain's 1883 report describes in depth Colonel Fisher's failure to take Big Round Top or to support his own efforts to take it. In
his original report written before he know of Fisher's or Crawford's attempts to take credit, Chamberlain had only mentioned the Pennsylvania Reserves as coming to his support during the night after he was already in place on Big Round Top.