nearly the whole of the Federal
army was engaged in repelling it. After a review, therefore, of the whole situation, and a careful reading of everything that has been published since the appearance of my first article, I am confirmed in the opinion then expressed that my troops did, on that afternoon, “the best three hours fighting ever done by any troops on any field.”
In my general narrative I did not give a detailed criticism or account of the tactical movements of the 2d for two reasons: First, my newspaper friends admonished me that my article had grown quite long, and that it was already clear enough to satisfy the most skeptical mind; second, I thought that my allusions to time, cause, and effect would arrest the attention of those who had misconceived, and therefore misrepresented them, and that they would hasten to make proper explanation and corrections.
I find their minds, however, so filled with prejudice and preconceived opinions, that it seems imperative I should explain the relations of our tactical moves on the 2d, and force a confession from even their reluctant mouths.
Having demonstrated beyond cavil in my first article that General Lee
never ordered a sunrise attack, that he never expected one, and that it was physically impossible to have made one, I shall now show that even if one had been made it could not have bettered the result that was achieved by the afternoon attack.
It will be proved that the battle made by my men could not have been so improved, in plan or execution, as to have won the day. The only amendment that would have ensued, or even promised victory, was for Ewell
to have marched in upon the enemy's right when it was guarded by a single brigade, run over their works and fall upon their rear while I engaged them in front, and while Hill
lay in a threatening position in their centre.
Had this co-operative movement been made the battle would, in all probability, have been ours.
As it was, no disposition of the men under my charge, no change in the time, or method, or spirit of the assault, could have changed the result for the better.
Let us briefly review the situation on the morning of the 2d.
During the night of the 1st, General Sickles
rested with the Third Corps upon the ground lying between General Hancock
's left and Round Top
, General Geary
's Division of the Twelfth Corps occupying part of the same line.
had given General Sickles
orders to occupy Round Top
if it were practicable; and in reply to his question as to what sort of position it was, General General Sickles
had answered: “There is no position there.”
At the first signs of activity in our ranks on the 2d, General Sickles
became apprehensive that we were about to attack him, and so