Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/128

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

in giving orders than ever before; that the commanders had been sent for and the point of attack carefully designated, and that the commanders had been directed to communicate to their subordinates, and through them to every soldier in the command, the work that was before them, so that they should nerve themselves for the attack and fully understand it. After leaving me, he again rode over the field once, if not twice, so that there was really no room for misconstruction or misunderstanding of his orders." It is very distasteful to me to enter into details and make a statement that conflicts in every particular with that made by General Longstreet. I was on the ground before sunup and present when Pickett's division, conducted by a staff officer, reached the field. The brigade commanders were all personally known to me. Two of them—Generals Garnett and Armistead—had served with me in the army previous to the war. We had been friends for years. General Kemper I had known two years. We four brigade commanders were together nearly all the time before the artillery fire opened in the yard near Spangler's house. When the artillery fire which preceded the assault began, we separated—and after it had continued fifteen or twenty minutes—to protect our horses, myself, staff and couriers leading them, retired down into the ravine a short distance in rear. General Armistead withdrew his brigade and sheltered it a little further in rear. The other brigades remained, and during this very heavy fire Kemper lost over two hundred of his men; Garnett and myself much less, mine being the least. When the artillery firing ceased—it lasted on our part of the line fifty minutes—I returned to the brigade, and Armistead's brigade resumed its place in line on the left of Garnett.

If Generals Lee and Longstreet rode twice along the line together, and the former once, if not twice, after leaving Longstreet, it was whilst I was in rear, as explained, and is it to be presumed that they would have selected that time, about thirty minutes; or if they did, that they could have made the rounds twice together, and General Lee once or twice alone? The truth is, there was no officer present with these four brigades up to the time that I retired under the heavy artillery fire, as explained, higher in rank than brigadier-general, nor was there one of higher rank after the firing ceased before the advance. Had there been—certainly if it had been either General Lee or Longstreet, he would have been seen, as the field was open, and we brigade commanders being together, he would no doubt have halted near us or sent for some one of the