previous next

[117] the town and touched it near the Cemetery, or came within a very short distance of it. The Cemetery was near a mile from Pickett's left. As Pickett's left was to be the center of the column of attack, the difficulty, if not impossibility, of executing his orders is obvious, the salient being the Cemetery.

When the order to advance was given Pickett's center brigade marched over Wilcox's men, who lay down for that purpose. They then changed direction to the left by a wheel. This threw one brigade in rear. The enemy's artillery opened fire on them before they had gone 100 yards. They had moved forward several hundred yards when Wilcox was ordered to advance, and on Pickett's right. He moved at a double-quick step so as to be uncovered by Pickett's men as speedily as possible, so as to draw upon his own command a portion of the very heavy and destructive fire then directed solely on the former. The changed direction to the left, made by Pickett's brigades, exposed them, after they had gone some distance, to a fire somewhat in flank. Wilcox had got within 100 yards of the enemy's line, when Pickett and the troops on his left were repulsed. tis brigade then fell back to its original position, having lost about 200 men. These details are given to show that, in addition to the attack being made too late, the position from which Pickett advanced was not well selected.

I believe I have brought to your notice the causes of our want of complete success at Gettysburg: 1st. Absence of the cavalry, and failure to report promptly when the Federal army had crossed the Potomac, and the line of direction of their march; 2d. Longstreet's late attack in the afternoon of the 2d; and 3d. Want of concert the last day. We might have, even on this day, by making a united and well directed and prompt effort, won the field.

Few army commanders have been more fortunate than General Lee in the matter of chief of cavalry. General Stuart was ever faithful, untiring, vigilant, energetic, brave, quick to conceive, clear in his judgment, and in the execution, either of his own previously determined plans, or the orders of a superior, to whom he was devotedly attached, rarely equalled.

Very respectfully and truly,

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.
Gettysburg (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.
Pickett (8)
C. M. Wilcox (4)
J. E. B. Stuart (1)
J. Longstreet (1)
Fitzhugh Lee (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: