RETREAT TO CEMETERY HILL
Capt. Fred C. Winkler stood with thirty men of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment on the Carlisle Road at the north edge of Gettysburg and watched a long, gray line of battle approaching astride the Harrisburg Road somewhat to his right. The Confederates, the brigades of Hays and Hoke, soon struck and shattered the three regiments of Coster's brigade nearby, leaving Winkler's little band almost alone to face the awful threat. Winkler saw a staff officer of the Eleventh Corps trotting near and called to him for orders. "Fall back," the officer shouted. The men of the 26th, carrying their colors, hurried back a short distance to the yard of a small white cottage where some of Schurz's troops had paused to fire a volley before continuing their retreat. Winkler's men stopped there too, delivered a volley of their own, and followed their comrades into the town.
Winkler knew that it would be useless for his little band to oppose such overwhelming Confederate strength, but having to retreat infuriated him. As he looked down Carlisle Street toward the "Diamond" or town square, he could see the troops of Barlow's division hurrying along the sidewalks while artillery vehicles, ambulances, and wagons rattled south in the street. He was ashamed. It was a northern town: "I had ridden up and down its streets from one end to the other three times that day and everywhere there were manifestations of joy; handkerchiefs were waving everywhere," he wrote, "and ladies stood in the streets offering refreshments to the soldiers as they passed. It seemed so awful to march back through those same streets whipped and beaten. It was the most humiliating step I ever took." 1.