Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/157

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
General R. E. Rodes' Report of the Battle of Gettysburg.

foot of the hill I occupied, and as he did so, I caused Iverson's brigade to advance, and at the same moment gave in person to O'Neal the order to attack, indicating to him precisely the point to which he was to direct the left of the four regiments then under his orders; the Fifth Alabama, which formed the extreme left of this brigade, being held in reserve, under my own immediate command, to defend the gap between O'Neal and Doles. Daniel was at the same moment instructed to advance to support Iverson, if necessary, if not, to attack on his right as soon as possible. Carter's whole battalion was by this time engaged hotly, a portion from the right, the remainder from the left of the hill, and was subjected to a heavy artillery fire in return.

Iverson's brigade attacked handsomely, but suffered very heavily from the enemy's musketry fire from behind a stone wall along the crest of the ridge. The Alabama brigade went into action in some confusion, and with only three of its regiments, the Sixth, Twelfth and Twenty-sixth, the Fifth having been retained by my order, and for reasons explained to Colonel O'Neal, the Third having been permitted by Colonel O'Neal to move with Daniel's brigade. The three first mentioned regiments moved with alacrity (but not in accordance with my orders as to direction) and in confusion, into the action. It was soon apparent that they were making no impression upon the enemy, and hence I ordered forward the Fifth Alabama to their support, but, to my surprise in giving this command to its colonel, Hall, I found that Colonel O'Neal, instead of personally superintending the movements of his brigade, had chosen to remain with this reserve regiment. The result was that the whole brigade, with the exception of the Third Alabama, the movements of which will be seen by reference to the reports of Generals Ramseur and Iverson, and Colonel Battle, was repulsed quickly, and with loss. (Upon investigation recently, I find that just as O'Neal's men were about starting, and upon his informing me that he and his staff officers were not mounted, and that he had no mounted men with him, I permitted him to send Lieutenant Arrington, of my staff, to Colonel Battle, commanding the Third Alabama regiment, with his orders, and that Lieutenant Arrington delivered them to Colonel Battle).

Iverson's left being exposed thus, heavy loss was inflicted upon his brigade. His men fought and died like heroes. His dead lay in a distinctly marked line of battle. His left was overpowered, and many of his men being surrounded, were captured.