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[441] trunk of a tree: “General Lee is a little nervous this morning. He wishes me to attack. I do not wish to do so without Pickett. I never like to go into a battle with one boot off.”

Having thus disproved the assertions of Messrs. Pendleton and Early in regard to this rumored order for a sunrise attack, it appears that they are worthy of no further recognition; but it is difficult to pass beyond them without noting the manner in which, by their ignorance, they marred the plans of their chief on the field of battle. Mr. Pendleton robbed Pickett's Division of its most important adjunct, fresh field artillery, at the moment of its severest trial, and thus frustrated the wise and brilliant programme of assault planned by General Alexander, and without the knowledge of that officer. (See narrative of General Alexander in the Southern historical Monthly for September, 1877.) General Early broke up General Lee's line of battle on the 2d of July by detaching part of his division on some uncalled — for service, in violation of General Lee's orders, and thus prevented the co-operative attack of Ewell, ordered by General Lee.

It is proper to discuss briefly, at this point, the movements of the third day. The charge of that day, as made by General Pickett, was emphatically a forlorn hope. The point designated by General Lee as the point of attack, seemed to be about one mile from where he and I stood when he gave his orders. I asked him if the distance that we had to overcome under a terrific fire was not more than a mile. He replied: “No, it is not more than fourteen hundred yards.” So that our troops, when they arose above the crest, had to advance this distance under the fire of about half of the Federal army before they could fire a shot. Anything less than thirty thousand fresh veterans would have been vainly sacrificed in this attempt. The force given me for this work was Pickett's Division (or rather a part of it), about five thousand five hundred men, fresh and ready to undertake anything. My supporting force of probably eight thousand men, had bloody noses and bruised heads from the fight of the previous day, and were not in physical condition to undertake such desperate work. When fresh they were the equals of any troops on earth; but every soldier knows that there is a great difference between fresh soldiers and those who have just come out of a heavy battle. It has been charged that the delay of the attack on the 3d was the cause of the failure of Ewell to co-operate with Pickett's attack. Colonel Taylor says that Ewell was ordered to attack at the same time with me, mine being the main attack. He says: “General Longstreet's dispositions were not completed as ”

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George E. Pickett (5)
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