Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 37.djvu/127

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
Review of the Gettysburg Campaign.

the position. The two artillery battalions of the third corps, which had been actively engaged during the day, had met with severe causalities and several guns had been disabled, but their fighting efficiency was still unimpaired. Each had a complement of sixteen guns, about one-half of which were rifled pieces, and by this time Garnett's battalion of artillery had arrived. It was easily practicable to have placed thirty or forty guns on Seminary Ridge, south of Cashtown road, and used them precisely as they were used before Pickett's charge on the third day.

General Pendleton, chief of artillery of the army, says the proposition did occur to him, but on General Ramseur's suggestion that it would draw fire upon his troops in the town, it was allowed to drop. The suggestion was an untimely and ill-judged as its acceptance was weak and unfortunate.

Viewing the intervening ground as it looked the next day, and as it looks now after the lapse of forty-four years, it is almost incomprehensible how the situation could have escaped the attention of General Lee or of General Hill, or their subordinates in rank. It would appear that everybody was of the same mind as A. P. Hill, and was "content with what had been gained."

Up to this time two brigades of Fender's divisions had not been seriously engaged. Lane's brigade with Johnson's battery was looking out for Buford's cavalry on the flank, and both that and Thomas' brigade were fresh enough for further work. There was still three hours of daylight, and Anderson's division was close at hand. But the golden opportunity was let go by, and the Confederates contented themselves with the capture of about four thousand prisoners and a few pieces of artillery.

It is due to General Early to say that after the war he published an article in the Southern Historical Society Papers, inspired doubtless by a generous desire to vindicate the reputation of his corps commander, to whom he was greatly attached, in which he zealously and eloquently defends the action of General Ewell on this occasion, and admits that he himself had changed his opinion in reference to the advisability of further pursuit on the afternoon of the 1st, owing, he says, to information subsequently acquired by him, in reference to the preparedness of the enemy to resist further attack. The article further undertakes to show, that the possession of Cemetery Hill on the afternoon