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[277]

Colonel Allan should have been a little more circumspect in his statement and discriminating in his comments. In the paragraph of his report immediately following what I have before quoted, Ewell says:

Early in the morning (2d) I received a communication from the General commanding, the tenor of which was that he intended the main attack to be made by the First corps, on our right, and wished me as soon as their guns opened to make a diversion in their favor, to be converted into a real attack if an opportunity offered.

This is in accord with General Lee's own statement, except that he calls it “a simultaneous demonstration.” Now, Colonel Allan ought to know that neither Rodes, Johnson, nor myself, from the nature of the ground, could move from our positions to the front without making a real attack, and then the whole should have gone forward. This was not contemplated by General Lee. The only mode of making a demonstration on our flank was to open a heavy artillery fire, and hold the troops in readiness to advance when the opportunity spoken of arrived. That was done. The opportunity referred to could only be when a considerable success was achieved on our right, and the enemy in front of the left thrown into confusion, or it was discovered that he had considerably weakened his force there. The order given early in the morning was in accordance with the instructions given us at the conference of the evening before. It was expected that the attack would begin at an early hour, before all the enemy's troops were up, and when his left was weak. The procrastination that had taken place on the right was excessively wearying and annoying, and had deranged everything. The success anticipated from the attack in the early morning did not follow that made late in the afternoon. It was not a part of the programme that Ewell's real attack should be simultaneous with that of Longstreet, and therefore he is not liable to the censure of having delayed that attack too long, as would seem to be the inference from Colonel Allan's remark. My understanding at the time was that, after the partial success attending the attack on the right, General Lee directed Ewell to make an attack from his position. Ewell ordered that attack to be made by his whole corps. Rodes and myself were to be in readiness to begin the attack as soon as Johnson's muskets


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Generell Ewell (4)
Fitzhugh Lee (3)
William Allan (3)
Rodes (2)
Edward Johnson (2)
James Longstreet (1)
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