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[429] astray early in the fight. General Anderson, in his report, says: “A strong fire was poured upon our right flank, which had become detached from McLaws' left.” General Lee, alluding to the action of these two brigades, says: “But having become separated from McLaws, Wilcox's and Wright's Brigades advanced with great gallantry, breaking successive lines of the enemy's infantry, and compelling him to abandon much of his artillery. Wilcox reached the foot and Wright gained the crest of the ridge itself, driving the enemy down the opposite side; but having become separated from McLaws, and gone beyond the other two brigades of the division they were to attack in front and on both flanks, and compelled to retire, being unable to bring off any of the captured artillery, McLaws' left also fell back, and it being now nearly dark, General Longstreet determined to await the arrival of Pickett.” So much for the action of the first day.

I did not see General Lee that night. On the next morning he came to see me, and, fearing that he was still in his disposition to attack, I tried to anticipate him, by saying: “General, I have had my scouts out all night, and I find that you still have an excellent opportunity to move around to the right of Meade's army, and maneuvre him into attacking us.” He replied, pointing with his fist at Cemetery Hill: “The enemy is there, and I am going to strike him.” I felt then that it was my duty to express my convictions; I said: “General, I have been a soldier all my life. I have been with soldiers engaged in fights by couples, by squads, companies, regiments, divisions, and armies, and should know, as well as any one, what soldiers can do. It is my opinion that no fifteen thousand men ever arrayed for battle can take that position,” pointing to Cemetery Hill. General Lee, in reply to this, ordered me to prepare Pickett's Division for the attack. I should not have been so urgent had I not foreseen the hopelessness of the proposed assault. I felt that I must say a word against the sacrifice of my men; and then I felt that my record was such that General Lee would or could not misconstrue my motives. I said no more, however, but turned away. The most of the morning was consumed in waiting for Pickett's men, and getting into position. The plan of assault was as follows: Our artillery was to be massed in a wood from which Pickett was to charge, and it was to pour a continuous fire upon the cemetery. Under cover of this fire, and supported by it, Pickett was to charge.

Our artillery was in charge of General E. P. Alexander, a brave and gifted officer. Colonel Walton was my chief of artillery; but Alexander, being at the head of the column, and being first in position,

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George E. Pickett (5)
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