152 Southern Historical Society Papers.
of trees, they met the cannister and the musket fire in their faces. But the Confederate batteries had nearly exhausted their ammu- nition, and were unable to help the charging column in its hour of sore need. General Lee says in his report: "Owing to the fact, which was unknown to me when the assault took place, the enemy was enabled to throw a strong force of infantry against our left, already wavering under a concentrated fire of artillery. " Alexander, Longstreet's chief of artillery, had a reserve of nine howitzers, in- tending to take them with Hckett across the field. But when they were wanted they had been removed, and could not be found. Fif- teen guns were taken out for the advance, but in the crisis, it was found that their chests had not been refilled. Federal artillery wore away the left of the attacking force, and a Vermont brigade charged upon its right. The guns on Round Top enfiladed the line. When Pickett's men reached one hundred yards from the wall, the Federal line broke to the rear. The left of Pickett's division and the right of Pettigrew's and Trimble's line reached the stone wall, silenced the guns and captured prisoners. Armi- stead's brigade, which was Pickett's second line, also reached the wall. And for a little while there seemed no enemv before them. In Meade's center a long space was held by men in gray, and the stars and bars waved over the stone wall. Above the stone wall was the crest of the ridge, and Armistead, with his hat on the point of his sword, sprang forward, crying, "Boys, we must give them the cold steel; who will follow me ? " A line of Virginians leaped forward and reached the crest, when Armistead fell, and his line fell back to the wall. Some one without authority ordered a retreat, and many turned to flee. From the flanks, forces of Federal troops swarmed in upon them, and 4,000 men were cut off from the retreat, and were prisoners. Other brigades were sent forward, but too late, and only to be driven back. Two divisions in reserve, Ander- son on the left and McLaws on the right, received no orders from Longstreet to advance.
Colonel Freemantle, of the English army, writes: "General Lee was perfectly sublime." Calm and quiet, he and his staff were earn- estly engaged in rallying the returning men, encouraging them with many kind words. General Wilcox came to him much distressed, but General Lee said to him: "Never mind, General, all this has been my fault. It is I that have lost this fight, and you must help me out of it the best you can." During the immensely critical