Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 40.djvu/277

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The Gettysburg Campaign.

that it was only necessary to press those people in order to secure possession of those heights, and if possible he wished him to do this. Colonel Taylor says "General Ewell did not express any objection, but left the impression upon my mind that the order conveyed to him would be executed." (Four Years with Lee, p. 95.)

It was then between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon. At least three hours of daylight remained during which Ewell could have executed General Lee's order. He did not execute it, however, although earnestly solicited to do so by General Early, General Gordon and General Trimble. The last named officer was most urgent. "Give me a division," said he, "and I will engage to take that hill." When this was declined he said: "Give me a brigade and I will do it." When this, too, was declined he said: "Give me a good regiment and I will engage to take that hill." When this was declined the gallant Trimble threw down his sword and left General Ewell's headquarters, saying that he would not serve longer under such an officer! He could do this because he had no command, and was acting as a volunteer aid. He participated gallantly in the great charge on the third day of the battle, in command of Fender's division, and was severely wounded and captured.

Here then we find still another of General Lee's lieutenants, the gallant and usually energetic Ewell, failing at a critical moment to recognize what ought to be done; failing also to carry out the suggestion and conditional order of General Lee himself, although urgently solicited to do so by three of his subordinate generals. Had the advance upon Cemetery Hill been pushed forward promptly that afternoon we now know beyond any possible question that the hill was feebly occupied, and could have been easily taken, and thus Meade would have been compelled to retreat to the line of Pipe's Creek, or else would have "been disastrously defeated. General Gordon, in his Reminiscences, tells us that his heart was so burdened by the mistake of that afternoon that he was unable to sleep. Mounting his horse at 2 o'clock in the morning, he rode with one or two staff officers to the red barn in which General Ewell and General Early had their headquarters. He said: "Much of my time