should not have been made under the circumstances.
We should have drawn everything up on the night of the 1st, and made a quick move by our right flank on the morning of the 2d, so as to seize the Emmettsburg road.
Had we done this, we should either have been attacked — the very thing we had been hoping and mourning for-or we should have dislodged Meade
from his position without striking a blow.
If we had been attacked, we should have certainly repulsed it. Had Meade
deserted his position without striking a blow in its defense, the moral effect in our favor would have been tremendous.
To show that one of these results would certainly have followed, I quote a dispatch sent in cipher from General Meade
to General Halleck
just before my battle on the 2d.
The dispatch reads: “If not attacked, and I can get any positive information of the enemy which will justify me in doing so, I will attack.
If I find it hazardous to do so, and am satisfied that the enemy is endeavoring to move to my rear and interpose between me and Washington
, I shall fall back on my supplies at Westminster
If, however, no decisive result had followed immediately upon the flank movement that should have been made on the night of the 1st, or the morning of the 2d, the thirteen days that elapsed between our first rencontre and our recrossing of the Potomac
would have surely given time and opportunity for different work and greater results than were had at Gettysburg
It is conceded by almost, if not quite, all authority on the subject, that Pickett
's charge, on the 3d, was almost hopeless.
We had tested the enemy's position thoroughly on the day before, and with a much larger force than was given to Pickett
We had every reason to believe that the position was much stronger on the 3d than it was on the 2d.
The troops that had fought with me the day before were in no condition to support Pickett
, and, beside, they were confronted by a force that required their utmost attention.
The men of Generals Pickett
, and Trimble
, however, received and executed their orders with cool and desperate courage.
When the utmost measure of sacrifice demanded by honor was full they fell back, and the contest was ended.
The charge was disastrous, and had the Federal
army been thrown right upon the heels of Pickett
's retreating column, the results might have been much more serious.
In this connection it may be noted that the Federal
line in front of these troops was not broken so much by direct assault as by crushing in the lines on their left.
was forced to change front, partially, two or three times to meet threatened flank