Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 02.djvu/53

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
43
General Lee's Report of the Gettysburg Campaign.


bringing with them about one hundred prisoners and four stands of colors. General Ewell had directed General Rodes to attack in concert with Early, covering his right, and had requested Brigadier-General Lane, then commanding Pender's division, to co-operate on the right of Rodes. When the time of attack arrived, General Rodes not having his troops in position, was unprepared to cooperate with General Early, and before he could get in readiness the latter had been obliged to retire from want of expected support on his right. General Lane was prepared to give the assistance required of him, and so informed General Rodes; but the latter deemed it useless to advance after the failure of Early's attack.

In this engagement our loss in men and officers was large. Maj.-Generals Hood and Pender, Brigadier-Generals Jones, Semmes, G. T. Anderson and Barksdale, and Colonel Avery, commanding Hoke's brigade, were wounded—the last two mortally. Generals Pender and Semmes died after their removal to Virginia.

The result of this day's operations induced the belief that with proper concert of action, and with the increased support that the positions gained on the right would enable the artillery to render the assaulting columns, we should ultimately succeed, and it was accordingly determined to continue the attack.

The general plan was unchanged: Longstreet, reinforced by Pickett's three brigades, which arrived near the battle-field during the afternoon of the 2d, was ordered to attack the next morning, and General Ewell was directed to assail the enemy's right at the same time. The latter during the night reinforced General Johnson with two brigades from Rodes' and one from Early's division.

General Longstreet's dispositions were not completed as early as was expected, but before notice could be sent to General Ewell, General Johnson had already become engaged, and it was too late to recall him. The enemy attempted to recover the works taken the preceding evening, but was repulsed, and General Johnson attacked in turn. After a gallant and prolonged struggle, in which the enemy was forced to abandon part of his entrenchments, General Johnson found himself unable to carry the strongly fortified crest of the hill. The projected attack on the enemy's left not having been made, he was enabled to hold his right with a force largely superior to that of General Johnson, and finally to threaten his flank and rear, rendering it necessary for him to retire to his original position about one P. M.

General Longstreet was delayed by a force occupying the high, rocky hills on the enemy's extreme left, from which his troops could be attacked in reverse as they advanced. His operations had been embarrassed the day previous by the same cause, and he now deemed it necessary to defend his flank and rear with the divisions of Hood and McLaws. He was, therefore, reinforced by Heth's division and two brigades of Pender's, to the command of which Major-General Trimble was assigned. General Hill was directed to hold his line with the rest of his command, afford Gene-