I left General Lee
only after the line had stretched out on the march, and rode along with.
's Division, which was in the rear.
The march was necessarily slow, the conductor frequently encountering points that exposed the troops to the view of the signal station on Round Top
. At length the column halted.
After waiting some time, supposing that it would soon move forward, I sent to the front to inquire the occasion of the delay.
It was reported that the column was awaiting the movements of Colonel Johnston
, who was trying to lead it by some route by which it could pursue its march without falling under view of the Federal
Looking up toward Round Top
I saw that the signal station was in full view, and, as we could plainly see this station, it was apparent that our heavy columns was seen from their position, and that further efforts to conceal ourselves would be a waste of time.
I became very impatient at this delay, and determined to take upon myself the responsibility of hurrying the troops forward.
I did not order General McLaws
forward, because, as the head of the column, he had direct orders from General Lee
to follow the conduct of Colonel Johnston
Therefore, I sent orders to Hood
, who was in the rear and not encumbered by these instructions, to push his division forward by the most direct route, so as to take position on my right.
He did so, and thus broke up the delay.
The troops were rapidly thrown into position, and preparations were made for the attack.
It may be proper just here to consider the relative strength and position of the two armies.
Our army was fifty-two thousand infantry; Meade
's was ninety-five thousand.
These are our highest figures, and the enemy's lowest.
We had learned on the night of the 1st, from some prisoners captured near Seminary Ridge
, that the First, Eleventh, and Third Corps had arrived by the Emmetsburg
road, and had taken position on the heights in front of us, and that reinforcements had been seen coming by the Baltimore
road, just after the fight of the 1st.
From an intercepted dispatch, we learned that another corps was in camp, about four miles from the field.
We had every reason, therefore, to believe that the Federals
were prepared to renew the battle.
Our army was stretched in an elliptical curve, reaching from the front of Round Top
around Seminary Ridge
, and enveloping Cemetery Heights on the left; thus covering a space of four or five miles. The enemy occupied the high ground in front of us, being massed within a curve of about two miles, nearly concentric with the curve described by our forces.
His line was about one thousand four hundred yards from ours.
Any one will see that the proposition for this inferior force to assault