Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/155

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General Lee at Gettysburg. 151


At daylight it was found that the Round Tops were heavily occu- pied. Meade had reinforced his left with the Fifth and Sixth corps and heavy artillery. General Lee, changing his plan, directed Longstreet to form a column of attack on the Federal left centre, and assault from the south, while Ewell attacked from the north, at Gulp's hill, on the opposite sides of the fish-hook curve. Pickett's division, not yet in battle, was to be the centre, with Heth's division of Hill's corps, under Pettigrew, as a second line. Two brigades (Wilcox and Perry) of Anderson's division, supported the right and two brigades (Lane and Scales), under Trimble, supported the left. Ewell's left had begun vigorously on Gulp's hill, when the order to advance was given to Pickett. Near the middle of Han- cock's line was a clump of trees, which General Lee suggested to Longstreet as an objective point. It was not far from the position Wright's Georgians had gained the evening before. At 10 A. M., General E. P. Alexander opened the fire of fifteen guns along the Emmettsburg road, and General R. L. Walker opened from the Seminary hill a battery of sixty-three guns. The artillery was to go forward as the infantry column advanced and support the attacks.

Again Longstreet was reluctant. Three hours passed away in unnecessary delay. And in this time Ewell's attack on Gulp's hill was a wasted opportunity. Not until 2 o'clock did the artillery duel begin. More than two hundred guns made a crash and roar that was indescribable and unearthly. The two ridges opposing were blazing volcanoes. The Confederate swept the Cemetery ridge. General Walker, of the Federal army, says: " The whole space behind Cemetery hill was in a moment rendered uninhabit- able. Caissons exploded, destruction covered the whole ground, army headquarters were broken up. Never had a storm so dread- ful burst on mortal man." The batteries in the Cemetery with- drew, partly to save ammunition. General Alexander, with the ad- vanced guns, wrote a line to Pickett: " If you are coming at all, you must come at once." Pickett asked Longstreet: Shall I ad- vance? " and he was silent. Then Pickett said: " Sir, 1 shall lead my division forward ! " And they went. Out of the woods, across the Emmettsburg road, two lines of gray, with glittering bayo- nets, 12,000 of them altogether, with their supports. A deep silence fell upon the field. Half-way to Hancock's salient and the clump