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

in the meantime, every efforts was made to ascertain the numbers and position of the enemy, and find the most favorable point of attack . It had not been intended to fight a general battle at such a distance from our base, unless attacked by the enemy, but, finding ourselves unexpectedly confronted by the Federal Army, it became a matter of difficulty to withdraw through the mountains with our with our large trains. At the same time, the country was unfavorable for collecting supplies while in the presence of the enemy's main body, as he was enabled to restrain our foraging parties by occupying the passes of the mountains with regular and local troops . A battle thus became, in a measure, unavoidable . Encouraged by the successful issue of the engagement off the first day, and in view of the valuable results that would ensue from the defeat of the army of general Meade, it was thought advisable to renew the attack . The remainder of Ewell's and Hill's corps having arrived, and two divisions of Longstreet's . our preparations were made accordingly . During the afternoon was received of the arrival of general Stuart at Carlisle, and he was ordered to march to Gettysburg and take position on our left . A full account of these engagements cannot be given until the reports of the several commanding officers shall have been received, and I shall only offer a general description. The preparations for attack were not completed until the afternoon of the 2d. The enemy held a high and commanding ridge, along which he had massed a large amount of artillery. General Ewell occupied the left of our line, General Hill the center, and General Longstreet the right . In front of General Longstreet the enemy held a position from which, if he could be driven, it was thought our artillery could be used to advantage in assailing the more elevated ground beyond, and thus enable us to reach the crest of the ridge . That officer was directed to endeavor to carry this position, while general Ewell attacked directly the high ground on the enemy's right, which had already been partially fortified . General Hill was instructed tho threaten the center of the Federal line, in order to prevent re-enforcement being sent to either wing, and to avail himself of any opportunity that might present itself to attack. After a severe struggle, Longstreet succeeded in getting possession of and holding the desired ground . Ewell also carried some of the strong positions which he assailed, and the result was such as to lead the belief that he would ultimately be able to dislodge the enemy. The battle ceased at dark. These partial successes determined me to continue the assault next day. Pickett, with of his brigades, joined Longstreet the following morning, and our batteries were moved forward to the positions gained by him the day before. The general plan of attack was unchanged, excepting that one division and two brigades of Hill's corps were ordered to Support Longstreet. The enemy, in the meantime, had strengthened his lines with earthworks . The morning was occupied in necessary preparations, and the battle recommenced in the afternoon of the 3rd, and raged with great violence until sunset . Our troops succeeded in entering the advanced works of the enemy, and getting possession of some of his batteries, but our artillery having nearly expended its ammunition, the attacking columns became exposed to the heavy fire of the numerous batteries near the summit of the ridge, and, after a most determined and gallant struggle, were compelled to relinquish their advantage, and fall back to their original position with severe loss.


Page 308 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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