brevetted for gallantry at Gettysburg, an unattributed post-war view mounted on paper measuring 9” by 11” overall, signed as “M.F. Watson/Capt. 5th Arty/Bvt. Maj. USA.” Malbone Francis Watson, USMA ’61 was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the exclusive 1st US Cavalry in May 1861 but quickly transferred to the 5th US Artillery filling a 1st Lieutenant’s vacancy. Serving in Battery I, 5th USLA commanded by Captain Stephen H. Weed, Watson earned his first brevet at Gaines Mill in June 1862 for “coolness under a very heavy fire,” according to Weed’s battle report. Watson was “mentioned in dispatches” for his conduct near New Bridge, Virginia later that year and again at Antietam. During Fredericksburg the young officer served as temporary chief of division artillery and later at Chancellorsville earned mention in General Sykes’ report for engaging the enemy “at point-blank range” for nearly an hour before being forced to withdraw. At Gettysburg, Battery I, 5th USLA served in Captain Augustus Martin’s Artillery Brigade attached to the 5th Corps along with Hazlett’s Battery D, 5th USLA, and gunners from New York, Ohio and Massachusetts. Three batteries of 5th Corps artillery engaged in the heroic defense of Little Round Top on July 2, while in the confusion the reserve Batteries, I/5th USLA and the 3rd Massachusetts, were mistakenly ordered away. Battery I was left unsupported and overrun by attacking Confederates after a fierce close quarters fight. Battery commander Watson was wounded early in melee and 2nd Lieutenant Samuel Peeples, 5th USLA, mounted a counterattack with the aid of the 39th New York and recaptured the prized guns bringing them off safely. Having lost 22 men and most of their horses, Battery I was declared “unserviceable” and ordered off the field by General Sykes and Chief of Artillery General Hunt. For the action at Gettysburg Lieutenant Watson was brevetted Major to date from July 2. Lieutenant Watson served for the duration and remained in the regular army long enough to make Captain in March 1866, retiring in September 1868. He died in 1891.
Ex Gettysburg Collection of Craig Haffner
Condition: Albumen in EXC condition, vibrant with strong tones, paper mount slightly mottled with edges toned brown. Housed in a modern mat measuring 16” by 20”.