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

I received orders soon after dark to draw my corps to the right, in case it could not be used to advantage where it was; that the commanding general thought from the nature of the ground that the position for attack was a good one on that side. I represented to the commanding general that the hill above referred to was unoccupied by the enemy, as reported by Lieutenants Turner and Early, who had gone upon it, and that it commanded then position and made it untenable. so far as I could judge. He decided, to let me remain, and on my return to my headquarters, after 12 o'clock at night, I sent orders to Johnson by Lieutenant T. T. Turner, aide-de-camp, to take possession of this hill, if he had not already done so. General Johnson stated in reply to this order, that after forming his line of battle this side of the wooded hill in question, he had sent a reconnoitering party to the hill, with orders to report as to the position of the enemy in reference to it. This party, on near succeeded in capturing a portion of the reconnoitering party, the rest of of it making its escape. During this conversation with General Johnson, one man arrived, bringing a dispatch, dated at 12 midnight, and taken from a Federal courier making his way from General Sykes to General Slocum, in which the former stated that his corps was then halted 4 miles from Gettysburg, and he would resume his march at 4 a. m. Lieutenant Turner brought this dispatch to my headquarters, and at the same time stated that General Johnson would refrain from stacking the position until I had received notice of the fact that the enemy were in possession of the hill, and had sent him further orders. Day was now breaking, and it was too late for any change of place. Meantime orders had come from the general commanding for me to delay my attack until I heard General Longstreet's guns open on the right. Lieutenant Turner at once returned to General Johnson, and delivered these instructions, directing him to be ready to attack, Early being already in line on the left and Rodes on the right of the main street of the town, Rodes line extending out on the Fairfield road. Early in the morning, I received a communication from the commanding general, the tenor of which was that he intended the main attack to be made by the First Corps, on our right, and wished me, as soon as their guns opened, to make a diversion in their favor, to be converted into a real attack if an opportunity offered. I made the necessary preparations, and about 5 p. m., when General Johnson commenced a heavy cannonade from Andrew's battalion and [Archibald]Graham's battery, the whole under Major [J. W.]Latimer, against the Cemetery Hill. After an hour's firing, finding that his guns were overpowered by the greater number and superior position of the enemy's batteries, Major Latimer withdrew all but one battery, which he kept to repel any infantry advance. While with this battery, this gallant you officer received, from almost the last shell fired, the wound which has since resulted in his death. Colonel Brown says justly of that calamity, "No greater loss could have befallen the artillery of this corps. ' Major Latimer served with me from March, 1862, to the second battle of Manassas (August 28to30, 1862). I was particularly struck at Winchester, May 25, 1862, his first warm engagement, by his coolness, self-possession, and bravery under a very heavy artillery


Page 446 N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., PA., ETC. Chapter XXXIX.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 27, Part 2 (Gettysburg Campaign)
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