reached the field after the engagement, and formed on the left of Early
, in a conversation had with me, since the war, about this circumstance, in which I sought an explanation of our inaction at that time, assured me that there was no hindrance to his moving forward; but that, after getting his command in line of battle, and before it became seriously engaged, or had advanced any great distance, for some unexplained reason, he had received orders to halt.
This was after General Lee
's message was delivered to General Ewell
Such was the condition of affairs when darkness veiled the scene on the evening of the first day. The prevailing idea with General Lee
was, to press forward without delay; to follow up promptly and vigorously the advantage already gained.
Having failed to reap the full fruit of the victory before night, his mind was evidently occupied with the idea of renewing the assault upon the enemy's right with the dawn of day on the second.
The divisions of Major Generals Early
, of Ewell
's Corps, had been actively engaged, and had sustained some loss, but were still in excellent condition, and in the full enjoyment of the prestige of success and a consequent elation of spirit, in having so gallantly swept the enemy from their front, through the town of Gettysburg
, and compelled him to seek refuge behind the heights beyond.
The division of Major General Edward Johnson
, of the same corps, was perfectly fresh, not having been engaged.
's Division, of Hill
's Corps, was also now up. With this force General Lee
thought that the enemy's position could be assailed with every prospect of success; but, after a conference with the corps and division commanders on our left, who represented that, in their judgment, it would be hazardous to attempt to storm the strong position occupied by the enemy, with troops somewhat fagged by the marching and fighting of the first day; that the ground in their immediate front furnished greater obstacles to a successful assault than existed at other points of the line, and that it could be reasonably concluded, since they had so severely handled the enemy in their front, that he would concentrate and fortify with special reference to resisting a further advance just there, he determined to make the main attack well on the enemy's left, indulging the hope that.Longstreet's Corps would be up in time to begin the movement at an early hour on the second.
He instructed General Ewell
to be prepared to co-operate by a simultaneous advance by his corps.
was unexpectedly detained, however, as will best appear from the following extract from his report of the Gettysburg campaign
In speaking of his movements on the first day of July, he says: