Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/142
134 Southern Historical Society Papers.
the enemy from his guns and prepared the way for attack. And I presume that it was in consequence of this having been the first plan settled on, that the erroneous report was circulated that Heth's division was assigned the duty of supporting that of Pick- ett. But the order referred to was countermanded almost as soon as given, and General Pettigrew was instructed to advance upon the same line with Pickett, a portion of Pender's division acting as supports."
Wilcox's brigade was ordered to support Pickett's right flank, and the brigades of Lane and Scales acted as supports to Heth's divi- sion. General Lane, in his report, says :
" 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 re- lieved 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 longer than Lowrance's brigade and my own, which constituted its only support, and there was, consequently, r>o second line in rear of its left."
The assaulting column really consisted of Pickett's division two brigades in front, and one in the second line as a support with the brigade of Wilcox in the rear of its right to protect that flank ; while Heth's division moved forward on Pickett's left in echelon, or with the alignment so imperfect and so drooping on the left as to appear in echelon, with Lane's and Scales' brigades in rear of its right, and its left without reserve or support, and en- tirely exposed. Thus the column moved forward. It is needless to say a word here of the heroic conduct of Pickett's division ; that charge has already passed into history as " one of the world's great deeds of arms." While, doubtless, many brave men of other commands reached the crest of the height, this was the only organized body that entered the works of the enemy. Much can be said in excuse for the failure of the other commands to fulfill the task assigned them. As a general rule, the peculiarly rough and wooded character of the country in which our army was accustomed to operate,, and which in some respects was unfavora- ble for the manoeuvres of large armies, was of decided advantage to us ; for, in moving upon the enemy through bodies of woods, or in a broken, rolling country, not only was the enemy at a loss how