Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/246

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
238
Southern Historical Society Papers.

"Headquarters, July 3d, 1863.

"Colonel: The intention is to advance the infantry, if the artillery has the desired effect of driving off the enemy, or such other effect as to warrant us in making the attack when that moment arrives. Advise General Pickett, and of course advance such artillery as you can use in aiding the attack.

"Most respectfully, J. Longstreet, Lieut. Gen"

"To Colonel E. P. Alexander."

To this I replied, that when the effect of the artillery fire was at its maximum I would direct General Pickett to advance. At 1 P. M. the signal was given, and the fire opened furiously—my seventy-five guns being assisted by sixty-five in the Third corps, and Henry's guns (ten or twelve) on the right. The enemy replied with at least an equal number—and I believe with a far greater—for the artillery of our Second corps took little or no part in this cannonade, while the enemy's accounts represent that they used in reply every gun in their army. The advantage in position was decidedly on the enemy's side, and many of their guns, and nearly all of their infantry, were protected by breastworks. For a long time neither side seemed to have any advantage over the other, and I delayed giving General Pickett the order to advance until the expenditure of ammunition threatened to reduce the fire.

At length, at half-past 1 o'clock, I wrote to General Pickett that unless he advanced immediately the artillery ammunition would be so nearly exhausted that it would give him but little support, although the enemy was still firing vigorously, and at least eighteen guns were firing directly from the point (the cemetery) he was to charge. Five minutes after dispatching this note these eighteen guns were entirely silenced and left the field, and the enemy's fire generally began to slacken. On this, I wrote again to General Pickett: "The eighteen guns have been driven off. Hurry up for God's sake, or the artillery can't help you"; and I also dispatched verbal messages to the same effect. At fifteen minutes to 2 o'clock General Longstreet came up to my position, and on learning the state of affairs, ordered me to stop Pickett's advance until the guns could replenish ammunition; but on my representations that this would involve sufficient delay for the enemy to recover himself, and moreover, that the supply of ammunition in