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

soon silenced. Those as the Cemetery Hill combated us, however, very obstinately. Many of them were driven off, but fresh ones were borough up to replace them. Colonel Alexander was ordered to a point where we could best observe the effect our fire, and to give notice of the most opportune moment for our attack.

Some time after our batteries opened fire, I rode to Major[James] Dearing's. It appeared that the enemy put in fresh batteries about as rapidly as other were driven off. I concluded, therefore, that we must attack very soon, if we hoped to accomplish anything before night. I gave orders for the batteries to refill their ammunition chests, and to be prepared to follow up to advance of the infantry. Upon ridding over to Colonel Alexander's position, I found that the advised GeneraL Pickett that the time had arrived for the attack, and I gave the order the General Pickett to advance to the assault. I found then that our supply of ammunition was so short that the batteries could not reopen. Then order for this attack, which I could not favor under better auspices, would have been revoked had I left I had that privilege. The advance was made in very handsome style, all the troops keeping their lines accurately, and taking the fire of the batteries with great coolness and deliberation. About half way between our position and that of the enemy, a ravine artillery sheltered our troops for the enemy's fire, where a short halt was made for rest. The advance was resumed after a moment's pause, all still in good order. The enemy's batteries soon opened upon our lines with canister, and the left seemed to stagger under it, but the advance was resumed, and with some degree of steadiness.

Pickett's troops did not appear to be checked by the batteries, and only halted to deliver a fire when close under muskets-range.

Major-General Anderson's division was ordered forward to support and assist the wavering columns of Pettigrew and Trimble. Pickett's troops, after delivering fire, advanced to the charge, and entered the enemy's lines, capturing some of his batteries, and gained his works. About the same moment, the troops had before hesitated, broke their ranks and fell back in great disorder, many more falling under the enemy's fire in retiring than while they were attacking. This gave the enemy time to throw his entire force upon Pickett, with a strong prospect of being able to break up his lines or destroy him before Anderson's division could reach him, which would, in its turn, have greatly exposed Anderson. He was, therefore, ordered to halt. In a few moments the enemy, marching against both flanks and the front of Pickett's division, overpowered it and drove it back, capturing about halt of those of it who were not killed or wounded. General Wright, of Anderson's division, with all the officers, was ordered to rally and collect the scattered troops behind Anderson's division, and many of my staff officers were sent to assist in the same service. Expecting and attack from the enemy, I rode to the front of our batteries, to reconnoiter and superintend their operations.

The enemy threw forward forces at different times and from different points, but they were only feelers, and retired as soon as our batteries opened upon them. These little advance and checks were kept up till night, when the enemy retired to his stronghold., and my line was withdrawn to the Gettysburg road on the right, the received orders to make all the needful arrangements for our retreat.

The orders for preparation were given, and the work was begun before daylight on the 4th.


Page 360 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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