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country for years, and fina ly lodged in various pretentious historical works, as the simple yet authentic explanation of how the entire Confederate army was by an unlucky accident drawn down to Get- tysburg to meet the Federals, who were also there by accident.
GENERAL HETH's STORY.
The story, as told me by General Heth himself, is that his division, the advance of General A. P. Hill's Corps, moving from Chambers- burg, along the Cashtown pike, bivouacked in the vicinity of Cash- town on the 3Oth of June. Having learned that a much-needed supply of shoes could be obtained in the town of Gettysburg, a few miles further down the pike, General Pettigrew, one of Heth's bri- gade commanders, asked permission to march into the village and secure the shoes, which he was ordered to do, there being no suspi- cion that the Federals were anywhere in the vicinity. But when General Pettigrew arrived before Gettysburg he unexpectedly found himself confronted by considerable Federal force, with artillery. This was General John Buford's Cavalry Division, but Pettigrew appears to have mistaken it for an infantry force. Not desiring to assume the responsibility of precipitating an engagement without orders, Pettigrew quickly fell back on the main force near Cashtown.
Thereupon, with the approval of General Hill, Heth concluded to lead his entire division to Gettysburg the next morning, and thus make sure of securing the shoes for his barefooted soldiers, still under the impression that the town was probably defended by no more than a small militia force. Accordingly the movement of Heth's Division was initiated early on the morning of the ist; but instead of meeting irregular militia, Heth at once came in contact with Buford's Cavalry, deployed in front of Gettysburg, and cover- ing the road from Cashtown, which he stubbornly defended, com- pelling the Confederates to deploy into line and advance with caution. Buford was soon relieved by the Union First corps of infantry, under General John F. Reynolds, and a murderous battle ensued, in which both sides lost several thousand men killed and wounded. Reynolds was killed and Heth wounded very early in this terrific combat. General Hill ordered forward Pender's Division to the support of Heth, who had been roughly handled, and later Rodes's and Early 's Divisions came up, while the Union force was augmented by the timely arrival of Howard's Eleventh Corps. And thus the Battle of Gettysburg began.