Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/127

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117
General C. M. Wilcox on the Battle of Gettysburg.

from the fact of its having been written by a sprightly young newspaper man, Henry W. Grady.

General Longstreet says: "I found that night that 4,529 of my men—more than one-third of their total number—had been left on the field." This was far short of the real loss, for we all know that many wounded in battle walk or crawl or are carried off. But these 4,529, General Longstreet says, "he found that night were left on the field." It is, perhaps, the only instance on record in which the exact number of a corps left on the field after a battle remarkable for the stubbornness with which it was contested, and which closed near dark, was so soon ascertained.

We will now examine the operations of the third day, and quote freely from General Longstreet himself. It will be seen that he was also at fault in the third day's collision.

"The plan of assault," says General Longstreet, was as follows: "Our artillery was to be massed in a piece of woods from which Pickett was to charge, and it was to pour a continous fire upon the Cemetery. Under cover of this fire and supported by it, Pickett was to charge." Pickett's three brigades were in line in an open field nearly parallel with and two hundred yards, perhaps a little less, from the Emmettsburg road. The house and yard and a small orchard of Mr. H. Spangler was close in rear and near the centre of the line of these brigades. I am positive on this point, because my brigade was placed out in this field between daylight and sunup in support of artillery then being placed in position under the direction of Colonel Alexander. It was this officer who brought me the order to move forward from the ravine in rear, where the brigade had bivouacked during the night. About 10 A. M., Pickett's three brigades—Armistead's, Garnett's and Kemper's—arrived and formed in line, the centre brigade, Garnett's, being directly in rear of mine, and probably twenty yards from it. Armistead was on his left, Kemper on his right. Pickett's division did not charge from any piece of woods in which artillery was massed. The artillery seen by me was in the open field near the road, and the maps show that most of it was so placed. That General Longstreet should have so erred in his statement as to the artillery and Pickett's division being in woods when the charge was made, is a little strange when we read the following: "After our troops were all arranged for assault [I quote from General Longstreet,] General Lee rode with me twice over the lines to see that everything was arranged according to his wishes. He was told that we had been more particular