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[497] the extract will be found errors, but it would appear that he is hardly responsible for them. Page 430 he says: “General Lee began the action by striking Grant's right flank, and some little while before the time ordered by Grant for renewal of the battle;” and again he says: “But as the left was the point at which, by common consent, the fiercest dispute took place, I shall, first of all, set forth the sequence of events on that flank. When, at 5 A. M., Hancock opened his attack by an advance of his two right divisions under Birney, together with Getty's command (Owen's and Carroll's Brigades, Gibbon's Division, supporting), and pushed forward on the right and left of the Orange plank road, the onset was made with such vigor, and Lee was yet so weak on that flank, owing to the non-arrival of Longstreet, that for a time it seemed as though a great victory would be snatched. At the same time Hancock opened a direct attack, Wadsworth's Division (Fifth Corps) assailed his flank, took up the action and fought its way across that part of the Second Corps posted on the right of the plank road. The combined attack overpowered the Confederates, and after an hour's severe contest the whole hostile front was carried, and Hill's Divisions under Wilcox and Heth were driven for a mile and a half through the woods, under heavy loss, and back to the trains, and artillery, and Confederate headquarters.” This author, in a note at the bottom of page 431, says: “I use no stronger language than that employed by General Longstreet in a description he gave the writer of the situation of affairs at the moment of his arrival.” This combined attack of great strength was met by Wilcox's Division alone; it was followed by the enemy less than three hundred yards, filed out of the road to the left before it had reached the point where Kershaw's Division was then getting into line on the right, and moved over to the left as before explained. Had it been forced back one and a half miles it would have run over Longstreet's command marching by the flank. It was not possible for General Longstreet, reaching the field at the time he did, to have known from what point and how far Wilcox's troops had been forced back. The telegram of General Lee explaining this affair, he never saw, and may never have even heard of it at the time. It was as follows: “Heth's and Wilcox's Divisions, in the act of being relieved, were attacked by the enemy and thrown into some confusion.”

After Wilcox was forced back, the enemy did not press forward, as it was believed he would, but made a halt, probably to rectify alignments, no doubt much broken. At all events, this was the supposition; but, whatever the cause — whether real or imaginaryit

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C. M. Wilcox (5)
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Grant Ulysses Grant (2)
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