enemy from his guns, and prepared the way for the attack.
And I presume that it was in consequence of this having been the first plan settled on, that the erroneous report was circulated that Heth's Division was assigned the duty of supporting that of Pickett.
But the order referred to was countermanded almost as soon as given, and General Pettigrew was instructed to advance upon the same line with Pickett, a portion of Pender's Division acting as supports.
's Brigade was ordered to support Pickett
's right flank, and the brigades of. Lane
acted as supports to Heth
, in his report, says:
General Longstreet ordered me to form in rear of the right of Heth's Division, commanded by General Pettigrew.
Soon after I had executed this order, putting Lowrance on the right, I was relieved of the command of the division by Major General Trimble, who acted under the same orders that I had received.
Heth's Division was much longer than Lowrance's Brigade and my own, which constituted its only support, and there was, consequently, no second line in the rear of its left.
The assaulting column really consisted of Pickett
's Division-two brigades in front, and one in the second line as a support-with the brigade of Wilcox
in the rear of the right, to protect that flank; while Heth
's Division moved forward on Pickett
's left in echelon
, or with the alignment so imperfect and so drooping on the left as to appear in echelon
, with Lane
's and Scales
' Brigades in rear of its right, and its left without reserve or support, and entirely exposed.
Thus the column moved forward.
It is needless to say a word here of the heroic conduct of Pickett
's Division; that charge has already passed into history as “one of the world's great deeds of arms.”
While, doubtless, many brave men of other commands reached the crest of the height, this was the only organized body that entered the works of the enemy.
Much can be said in excuse for the failure of the other commands to fulfil the task assigned them.
As a general rule, the peculiarly rough and wooded character of the country in which our army was accustomed to operate, and which, in some respects, was unfavorable for the maneuvres of large armies, was of decided advantage to us; for, in moving upon the enemy, through bodies of woods, or in a broken, rolling country, not only was the enemy at a loss how to estimate our strength, but our own men were not impressed with that sense of insecurity, which must have resulted from a thorough knowledge of their own weakness.1