previous next
[311] this lack of expected support, General Rodes, who was on General Early's right, states in his report, that after he had conferred with General Early on his left, and General Lane on his right, and arranged to attack in concert, he proceeded at once to make the necessary preparations; but as he had to draw his troops out of the town by the flank, change the direction of the line of battle, and then traverse a distance of twelve or fourteen hundred yards, while General Early had to move only half that distance, without change of front, it resulted that, before he drove in the enemy's skirmishers, General Early had attacked, and been compelled to withdraw.

The whole affair was disjointed. There was an utter absence of accord in the movements of the several commands, and no decisive results attended the operations of the second day. It is generally conceded that General Longstreet, on this occasion, was fairly chargeable with tardiness, and I have always thought that his conduct, in this particular, was due to a lack of appreciation, on his part, of the circumstances which created an urgent and peculiar need for the presence of his troops at the front. As soon as the necessity for the concentration of the army was precipitated by the unexpected encounter, on the 1st of July, with a large force of the enemy, near Gettysburg, General Longstreet was urged to hasten his march; and this, perhaps, should have sufficed to cause him to push his divisions on toward Gettysburg, from which point he was distant but four miles, early on the 2d. But I cannot say that he was notified, on the night of the 1st, of the attack proposed to be made on the morning of the 2d, and the part his corps was to take therein. Neither do I think it just to charge that he was alone responsible for the delay in attacking that ensued after his arrival on the field. I well remember how General Lee was chafed by the non-appearance of the troops, until he finally became restless, and rode back to meet General Longstreet, and urge him forward; but, then, there was considerable delay in putting the troops to work after they reached the field; and much time was spent in discussing what was to be done, which, perhaps, could not be avoided. At any rate, it would be unreasonable to hold General Longstreet alone accountable for this. Indeed, great injustice has been done him in the charge that he had orders from the commanding general to attack the enemy at sunrise on the 2d of July, and that he disobeyed these orders. This would imply that he was in position to attack, whereas General Lee but anticipated his early arrival on the 2d, and based his calculations upon it. I have shown how he was disappointed, and I need hardly add that the delay was fatal.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Gettysburg (Pennsylvania, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
James Longstreet (4)
Jubal A. Early (4)
Fitz Lee (2)
Rodes (1)
Lane (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
2nd (3)
July 2nd (1)
July 1st (1)
1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: