Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/130
120 Southern Historical Society Papers.
closing as follows: "When the smoke cleared away, Pickett's divi- sion was gone. Nearly two-thirds of his men lay dead on the field, and the survivors were sullenly retreating down the hill. Mortal man could not have stood that fire. In half an hour the contested field was cleared, and the battle of Gettysburg was over." There are two interesting points in this quotation first, that nearly two- thirds of Pickett's men were killed on the field, and, second, the fraction of little more than a third retreated sullenly down the hill. It was generally believed that this fraction each man for himself went as fast as his legs could carry him, and that they did not stand upon the order of their going.
General Longstreet made the attack on the third day with only three brigades of his corps, when it should have been made by his entire corps, and this to have been supported by Hill's corps. This is what General Lee's Adjutant-General tells us, but this General Longstreet denies. The attack was really made with three of Long- street's brigades and six of Hill's, who was ordered to reinforce. I never believed the attack made by Longstreet on the 3d was strong enough in numbers. I did not know that he had failed to attack as ordered. The statement of Colonel Taylor is borne out and sustained by Lieutenant-General A. P. Hill, as will appear from the following extract from his official report of the operations of his corps for that day : " I was directed to hold my line with Ander- son's division and the half of Pender's, now commanded by Gen- eral Lane, and to order Heth's division, commanded by. General Pettigrew, and Lane's and Scales' brigades of Pender's division, to report to Lieutenant-General Longstreet as a support to his corps in the assault on the enemy's line. Colonel C. S. Venable, of General Lee's staff, settles beyond question the fact that Hood and McLaws were to have supported Pickett. He says: "As they were ordered to do by General Lee, for I heard him give the orders when arranging the fight; and called his attention to it long afterward, when there was discussion about it. He said, ' I know it ! I know it!'"
Well may Colonel Taylor exclaim: " Was it designed to throw these few brigades, originally at most but two divisions, upon the fortified stronghold of the enemy, while full half a mile away seven-ninths of the army, in breathless suspense, in ardent admira- tion and fearful anxiety, watched, but moved not? I maintain that such was not the design of the Commanding-General." That it was never the purpose of General Lee to launch such a feeble