Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/148

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144 Southern Historical 'Society Papers.

ard's whole command was broken, and retired to find refuge with the reserve division on Cemetery Hill. They left 5,000 prisoners behind, with three guns, and a field with many dead and wounded. Nearly fifty thousand were engaged, almost equally divided on the two sides, though the Confederates when all got into battle, were somewhat stronger.

At first there was no thought of delay; General Lee sent Colonel Walter Taylor to order Ewell, "Press those people and secure the hill if possible." Early's and Rodes' men went out of the town and on the slopes of Cemetery Hill, undaunted and in high spirits. But just then, General William Smith, one of Early's brigadiers, guard- ing the left flank on the York road, sent word that a Federal force was moving on his front, and Early sent General Gordon and his brigade to support General Smith. But it was a false alarm, and a serious loss of time. Edward Johnson's division of Ewell's corps was not up. Anderson's division of A. P. Hill's corps was yet in the rear, caught in a tangle of wagon trains. The four Confederate divisions on the field had fought a battle against a force of unknown numbers, and had left many officers and men on the field.

About 5 P. M., I rode with General Ewell and staff into the town square of Gettysburg. The square was filled with Confederate sol- diers, and with them were mingled many prisoners, while scarcely a citizen was to be seen. As our corps commander sat in his saddle under the shade of a tree, a young officer brought from a cellar a bottle of wine, which the General pleasantly declined, while he chatted amiably with his men, and the Federal prisoners gathered about him. It was a moment of most critical importance, more evi- dently critical to us now, than it would seem to* any one then. But even then, some of us who had served on Jackson's staff, sat in a group in our saddles, and one said sadly, "Jackson is not here." Our corps commander, General Ewell, as true a Confederate soldier as ever went into battle, was simply waiting for orders, when every moment of the time could not be balanced with gold. General Early and General Rodes came with great earnestness and animation to tell of the advanced position. They desired General Lee to be informed that they could go forward and take Cemetery hill if they were supported on their right; that to the south of the Cemetery there was in sight a position commanding it which should be taken at once; and I was sent by General Ewell to deliver the message to the commanding general. I found General Lee quite well to the