Battles & Leaders of the Civil War
THE CHARGE OF PICKETT, PETTIGREW, AND TRIMBLE.
movements then proceeding. I replied, "McMahon's army will be prisoners of war in ten days." They were very indignant and stated that I was a Republican and in sympathy with the Prussians. My reply was that I had only given them my solution of a military problem. The Prussians were on the shorter route to Paris or to Metz, so that if McMahon should attempt to move in either direction the Prussians, availing themselves of the shorter lines, would interpose and force McMahon to attack; but as he had already been so beaten and demoralized, that he could not be expected to make a successful attack and would therefore be obliged to surrender. If he had gone direct to Paris before giving up his shorter route, it is possible that he could have organized a succoring army for the relief of Metz.
Had we interposed between Meade and Washington our army in almost as successful prestige as was that of the Prussians, Meade would have been obliged to attack us wherever we might be pleased to have him. He would have been badly beaten like the French, and the result would have been similar. I do not mean to say that two governments would have been permanently established; for I thought before the war, and during its continuance, that the people would eventually get together again in stronger bonds of friendship than those of their first love.
THE CHARGE OF PICKETT, PETTIGREW, AND TRIMBLE. #BY J. B. SMITH.
In address delivered by Colonel Andrew Cowan to his comrades at Gettysburg on the 3d of July, 18 8 6, he, like nearly every other speaker and writer, ascribes all the praise of the Confederate charge of the third day to Pickett's division. He says: "Beyond the wall nothing but the gray-clad Virginians." He speaks of no other troops except Pickett's. Some writers have gone so far as to say Pickett made the immortal charge with five thousand Virginians, etc. Pickett's division was fresh, not having engaged the enemy on the first or second day, while the other troops of the assaulting body fought on the previous days with unsurpassed bravery, and some of the brigades were almost annihilated.
The grand assaulting column was formed in three divisions, and the divisions were commanded and led to the slaughter by Pickett, Pettigrew, and Trimble.
General George E. Pickett's division, composed of three brigades commanded by Generals Richard B. Garnett, Lewis A. Armistead, and James L. Kemper, was 4900 strong, Garnett fell during the progress of the charge while at the head of his column urging his men on. Armistead led his men through the terrific storm of battle to the base of the Federal works, and there he placed his cap on his sword and sealed the wall, appealing to his troops to follow him. A few of his disorganized men imitated his heroic example, and died at his feet. General Kemper was wounded in the charge.
General J. Johnston Pettigrew's command embraced the following brigades: Archer's Tennessee brigade, commanded by Colonel Fry, of the 13th Alabama; Pettigrew's North Carolina brigade, Jo Davis's Mississippi brigade, and Brock-enbrough's brigade of Virginians, aggregating five thousand troops. All were of Heth's division of A. P. Hill's corps. General Pettigrew was wounded 'in the charge, but he did not quit the field, and remained in command until he fell at Falling Waters.
I will now notice the conduct of Archer's Tennessee brigade. It opened the battle on the first day and lost its brave and gallant commander. While leading his men he was captured by a flank movement made by the enemy. The brigade suffered heavy losses in other ways on that day. When the grand assault was made on the 3d, the 1st and 7th Tennessee regiments made the first breach in the Federal works on Cemetery Hill, and they were the only organized regiments that entered into and beyond the enemy's walls.
The 14th Tennessee, after losing heavily on the first day, went into the grand charge with 375 men: and planted its colors on the stone wall and left them there. The heroic conduct of the 13th Alabama in that awful and trying scene has been carefully written up, and the record is in the archives of the Southern Historical Society, in its native State, and will be loved and admired as long as heroism is admired. It was Archer's worn, tattered, and bleeding brigade that fought the last
#From the "Bivouac" of March, 1887, and editorially revised.--EDITORS.