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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 666 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.

I was soon afterward informed by Major [H. A.] Whiting, of General Rodes' staff, that General Rodes would advance at dark, and that he wished me to protect his right flank. I did not give him a definite answer then, as I had sent you to notify General Hill of General Pender's fall, and to receive instructions. On being notified, however, by General Ewell that his whole command would move on the enemy's position that night, commencing with Johnson's division on the left, I told Major Whiting that I would act without awaiting instructions from General Hill. I at once ordered forward Thomas' brigade and McGowan's, then commanded by Colonel Perrin, with instructions to Colonel Perrin to form an obtuse angle with Ramseur's brigade, which was the right of Rodes' first line, leaving an interval of 100 paces. At the same time, I determined to support these two brigade with Scales' and my own (commanded, respectively, by Colonels Lowrance and Avery), should there be any occasion for it. I subsequently received orders from General Hill, through Captain [W. N.] Starke, corresponding with what I had already done. Rodes' right advanced but a short distance beyond the road which was held by my skirmishers when the night attack was abandoned, and Rodes' front line occupied the road, Thomas and Perrin extending the same with their commands, the right of Thomas' brigade resting a short distance from an orchard, near a brick dwelling and barn. Next morning, the skirmishing was very heavy in front of Thomas and Perrin, requiring at times whole regiments to be deployed to resist the enemy and drive them back, which was always most gallantly done. While this was going on, I was ordered by General Hill, through Captain [F. T.] Hill, to move in person to the right, with the two brigades forming my second line, and to report to General Longstreet as a support to Pettigrew. General Longstreet ordered me to form in rear of the right of Heth's division, commanded by General Pettigrew. Soon after I had executed this order, putting Lowrance on the right, I was relieved of the command of the division by Major-General Trimble, who acted under the same orders that I had received. Heth's division was much larger than Lowrance's brigade and my own, which were its only support, and there was consequently no second line in rear of its left. Now in command of my own brigade, I moved forward to the support of Pettigrew's right, through the woods in which our batteries were planted, and through an open field about a mile, in full view of the enemy's fortified position, and under murderous artillery and infantry fire. As soon as Pettigrew's command gave back, Lowrance's brigade and my own, without ever having halted, took position on the left of the troops which were still contesting the ground with the enemy. My command never moved forward more handsomely. The men reserved their fire, in accordance with orders, until within good range of the enemy, and then opened with telling effect, repeatedly driving the cannoneers from their pieces, completely silencing the guns in our immediate front, and breaking the line of infantry which was formed on the crest of the hill. We advanced to within a few yards of the stone wall, exposed all the while to a heavy raking artillery fire from the right. My left was here very much exposed, and a column of the enemy's infantry was thrown forward in that direction, which enfiladed my whole line. This forced me to withdraw my brigade, the troops on my right having already done so. We


Page 666 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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