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[272] when there was no enemy there, and had noticed the general character of the surrounding country; and, while I was seeking that afternoon to have a further advance made, I had observed that on our right of the town (northwest of it) the ascent to the ridge was much easier and gentler than on the other side, as well as that the Round Tops commanded the whole position, though I did not then know their names.

The purport of what I said was, that the ground over which we would have to advance on our flank was very rugged and steep; that the enemy was then evidently concentrating and fortifying in our immediate front, and by morning would probably have the greater part of his force concentrated on that flank and the position strongly fortified, as ours were the only troops then confronting him in close proximity; that we could not move through the town in line of battle, and would therefore have to go on the left of the town right up against Cemetery Hill and the rugged hills on the left of it; and that the result of an attack there might be doubtful, but if successful it would inevitably be at very great loss. I then called General Lee's attention to the Round Tops, the outline of which we could see, though dusk was approaching, and sug. gested that those heights must evidently command the enemy's position and render it untenable; and I also called his attention to the more practicable nature of the ascents on that side of the town, adding the suggestion that the attack could be made on that side, and from our right flank, with better chances of success.

With these views both Ewell and Rodes coincided, and they submitted further considerations in the same direction. There was some conversation upon the several points suggested, when General Lee, being satisfied that it'was not advisable to make the main assault from our flank, remarked, interrogatively:. “Then perhaps I had better draw you around towards my right, as the line will be very long and thin if you remain here, and the enemy may come down and break through it?” This was very nearly the language he used, and I spoke at once in reply, for it was a conceded fact that the arrival of my division had decided the fortunes of the day, and I did not like the idea of giving up anything we had gained. My men, who had marched to the Susquehanna and returned without serious opposition, were very much elated with the success of the day, and I shared their feelings. I knew

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Cemetery Hill (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)

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Fitzhugh Lee (2)
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