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[315]

It was different here. The charge was made down a gentle slope, and then up to the enemy's lines, a distance of over half a mile, denuded of forests, and in full sight of the enemy, and perfect range of their artillery. These combined causes produced their natural effect upon Pettigrew's Division, and the brigade supporting it, caused them to falter, and finally retire. Then Pickett's Division, continuing the charge without supports, and in the sight of the enemy, was not half so formidable or effective as it would have been had trees or hills prevented the enemy from so correctly estimating the strength of the attacking column, and our own troops from experiencing that sense of weakness which the known absence of support necessarily produced. In spite of all this, it steadily and gallantly advanced to its allotted task. As the three brigades under Garnett, Armistead, and Kemper, approach the enemy's lines, a most terrific fire of artillery and small-arms is concentrated upon them; but they swerve not — there is no faltering; steadily moving forward, they rapidly reduce the intervening space, and close with their adversaries; leaping the breastworks, they drive back the enemy, and plant their standard on the captured guns, amid shouts of victory-dearly won and short-lived victory.

No more could be exacted, or expected, of those men of brave hearts and nerves of steel; but where are the supports to reap the benefit of their heroic efforts, and gather the fruits of a victory so nobly won? Was that but a forlorn hope, on whose success, not only in penetrating the enemy's lines, but in maintaining its hold against their combined and united efforts to dislodge it, an entire army was to wait in quiet observation Was it designed to throw these few brigades-originally, at the most, but two divisions-upon the fortified stronghold of the enemy, while, full half a mile away, seven-ninths of the army, in breathless suspense, in ardent admiration and fearful anxiety, watched, but moved not? I maintain that such was not the design of the commanding general. Had the veteran divisions of Hood and McLaws been moved forward, as was

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George E. Pickett (1)
Pettigrew (1)
McLaws (1)
James L. Kemper (1)
Hood (1)
Robert Garnett (1)
Armistead (1)
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