Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 04.djvu/288

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

war by any command, and my brave Louisianians and Carolinians were the first to enter the enemy's works at Gettysburg. Now, to have their brilliant exploit characterized as part of an attack by "piecemeal," in which, "Early was beaten back before Rodes was ready to support him," is worse than being "damned with faint praise," or having one's name spelt wrong in a bulletin.

When my brigades started I sent word to Rodes that I was moving, and while they were making their way up the rugged slopes of Cemetery Hill, I sent again to urge him to go forward, the message being repeated more than once, but he did not start. I have nothing to say in regard to the causes of his delay, except that I imagine that he and the division commander on his right were discussing the question as to whether the latter should also move, while the time was passing when they could advance with chances of success. I submit that in describing this affair a discrimination should be made between Johnson's and my divisions and Rodes'. There was no attack here by "piecemeal" in any sense. Johnson and I attacked together, but Rodes did not attack at all.

Ewell gave the order for a simultaneous advance of the whole corps, and the failure of Rodes' division to go forward is the solitary instance of remissness on the part of any portion of the corps in the battle.

In regard to this, General Ewell says:

"Major-General Rodes did not not advance for reasons given in his report. Before beginning my advance I had sent a staff officer to the division of the Third corps on my right, which proved to be General Pender's, to find out what they were to do. He reported the division under command of General Lane (who succeeded Pender, wounded), and who sent word back that the only order he had received from General Pender was to attack if a favorable opportunity presented. I then wrote to him that I was about attacking with my corps, and requesting that he would co-operate. To this I received no answer, nor do I believe that any advance was made. The want of co-operation on the right made it more difficult for Rodes' division to attack, though had it been otherwise I have every reason to believe, from the eminent success attending the assault of Hays and Avery, that the enemy's lines would have been carried."

Immediately following his statement of Rodes' explanation, Col. Taylor says: "The whole affair was disjointed."