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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
Page 470 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

and was informed that Johnson's division was coming up, and it was determined with this division to get possession of a wooded hill to the left of Cemetery Hill, which it commanded; but this division arrived at a late hour, and its movement having been delayed by the report of the advance on the York road, no effort to get possession of the wooded hill on the left of the town was made that night. Having been informed that a large portion of the rest of our army would come up during the night, and that the enemy's position would be attacked on the right and the left flanks very early next morning, I gave orders to General Hays to move his brigade under cover of night from the town into the field in front of the left of the town, to a place where he would not be exposed to the enemy's fire, and would be in position to advance upon Cemetery Hill when a favorable opportunity should occur. This movement was made, and Hays formed his brigade on the right of Avery and just behind the extension of the low ridge on which the town is located. The attack did not begin in the morning, as was expected, and in the course of the morning, I rode with General Ewell to examine a position for the artillery on the left. Having been subsequently informed that the attack would begin at 4 p. m., I directed General Gordon to move his brigade to the railroad in rear of Hays and Avery, Smith being left, under General J. E. B. Stuart, to guard the York road. The fire from the artillery having opened on the right and left at 4 o'clock and continued for some time I was ordered by General Evell to advance upon Cemetery Hill with my two brigades that were in position as soon as General Johnon's division which was on my left, should become engaged at the wooded hill on the left, which it was about to attack, information being given me that the advance would be general, and made also by Rodes' division and Hill's divisions on my right. Accordingly, as soon as Johnson became warmly engaged, which was a little before dusk, I ordered Hays and Avery to advance and carry the works on the heights in front. These troops advanced in gallant style to the attack, passing over the ridge in front of them under a heavy artillery fire, and then crossing a hollow between that and Cemetery Hill, and moving up this hill in the face of at least two lines of infantry posted behind stone and plank fences; but these they drove back, and passing over all obstacles, they reached the crest of the hill, and entered the enemy's breastworks crowning it, getting possession of one or two batteries. But no attack was made on the immediate right, as was expected, and not meeting with support from that quarter, these brigades could not hold the position they had attained, because a very heavy force of the enemy was turned against them from that park of the line which the divisions on the right were to have attacked, and these two brigades had, therefore, to fall back, which they did with comparatively slight loss considering the nature of the ground over which they had to pass and the immense odds opposed to them, and Hays' brigade brought off four stand of captured colors. At the same time these brigades advanced, Gordon's brigade was ordered forward to support him, and did advance to the position from which thy had moved, but was halted here because it was ascertained that no advance was made on the right, and it was evident that the crest of the hill could not be held by my two brigades supported by this one without any other assistance, and that the attempt would be attended with a useless sacrifice of life. Hays' and Hoke's


Page 470 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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