previous next

It may be imagined that I was astonished at the fact, that we received no support after we had driven the Federals from the peach orchard and one thousand yards beyond. If General Ewell had engaged the army in his front at that time (say four o'clock) he would have prevented their massing their whole army in my front, and while he and I kept their two wings engaged, Hill would have found their centre weak, and should have threatened it while I broke through their left and dislodged them. Having failed to move at four o'clock, while the enemy was in his front, it was still more surprising that he did not advance at five o'clock with vigor and promptness, when the trenches in front of him were vacated, or rather held by one single brigade (as General Meade's testimony before the Committee on the Conduct of the War states). Had he taken these trenches and scattered the brigade that held them, he would have found himself in the Federals' flank and rear. His attack in the rear must have dislodged the Federals, as it would have been totally unexpected — it being believed that he was in front with me. Hill, charging upon the centre at the same time, would have increased their disorder and we should have won the field. But Ewell did not advance until I had withdrawn my troops, and the First Corps, after winning position after position, was forced to withdraw from the field with two corps of their comrades within sight and resting upon their arms. Ewell did not move until about dusk (according to his own report). He then occupied the trenches that the enemy had vacated (see General Meade's report). The real cause of Ewell's non-compliance with General Lee's orders was that he had broken his line of battle by sending two brigades off on some duty up the York road. General Early says that my failure to attack at sunrise was the cause of Ewell's line being broken at the time I did attack. This is not only absurd, but impossible. After sunrise that morning, Colonel Venable and General Lee were at Ewell's headquarters discussing the policy of opening the attack with Ewell's Corps. They left Ewell with this definite order: that he was to hold himself in readiness to support my attack when it was made. It is silly to say that he was ready at sunrise, when he was not ready at four o'clock when the attack was really made. His orders were to hold himself in readiness to co-operate with my attack when it was made. In breaking his line of battle he rendered himself unable to support me when he would have been potential. Touching the failure of the supporting brigades of Anderson's Division to cover McLaws' flank by echelon movements, as directed, there is little to be said. Those brigades acted gallantly, but went

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
York, Pa. (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Ewell (8)
George G. Meade (2)
Fitzhugh Lee (2)
A. P. Hill (2)
Charles S. Venable (1)
McLaws (1)
Jubal A. Early (1)
R. H. Anderson (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: