Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/126
122 Southern Historical Society Papers.
H. Taylor, in his "Four Years With Genl. Lee," says: "Genl. Lee witnessed the flight of the Federals through Gettysburg and up the hills beyond. He then directed me to go to Genl. Ewell and to say to him that from the position he occupied he could see the en- emy retiring over the hills, without organization and in great con- fusion; that it was only necessary to press 'those people' in order to secure possession of the heights, and that, if possible, he wanted him to do this. In obedience to these instructions I proceeded immedi- ately to Genl. Ewell and delivered the order of Genl. Lee." Genl. Ewell did not obey this order. Those heights were what is known as Cemetery Hill, which was the key to the Federal position. The enemy afterward, that night, with great diligence fortified those heights; and subsequently the lives of thousands of our soldiers were sacrificed in the vain effort to capture them. It was a fatal disobedi- ence of orders. What if Jackson had been there? Col. Taylor would not have had any order to bear to him. Lee would have wit- nessed not only the fleeing enemy, but at the same time the hot pursuit of Stonewall Jackson. Ah ! if Stuart had been there, to give one bugle blast and to set his squadrons on the charge ! Alas ! he was then twenty-five miles away at Carlisle, ignorant that a battle was on.
That afternoon after the fight was over, Anderson's division of Hill's corps arrived on the battle field and took position where Fender formerly was. At sunset Johnson's division of Ewell' s corps came up and took line of battle on Early' s left, and about midnight McLaws' division and Hood's division (except Laws' brigade) of Longstreet's corps encamped withing four miles of Gettysburg. The troops which had been engaged in the fight bivouacked on the positions won. I am thus particular to locate our troops in order to show who may be responsible for any errors of the next day.
Inasmuch as Meade's army was not fully up, it required no great generalship to determine that it would be to our advantage to make an attack as early in the next morning as possible. And it was no more than reasonable that every general having control of troops should feel and fully appreciate the imperious necessity of getting ready to do so and to be ready for prompt action.
General Lee determined to make the main attack on the enemy's left early in the morning. This attack was to be made by Long- street, who was directed to take position on the right of Hill and on the Emmittsburg road. After a conference with the corps and di-