previous next

[295] were massed on the right (enemy's), as Meade contemplated an attack from that flank-Hancock's corps connected with Howard's, and Sickles was on the left of Hancock, but he did not go into position until the afternoon. On page 405, Hancock says: “I was placed on the line connecting Cemetery Hill with Little Round Top Mountain, my line, however, not extending to Round Top, probably only about half way. General Sickles was directed to connect with my left and the Round Top Mountain, thus forming a continuous line from Cemetery Hill (which was held by Gen. Howard) to Round Top Mountain.”

These arrangements were not made until the morning was considerably advanced.

On page 331, Meade after stating his purpose to make an attack from his right says:

Major-General Slocum, however, reported that the character of the ground in front was unfavorable to making an attack; and the Sixth corps having so long a distance to march, and leaving at nine o'clock at night, did not reach the scene until about two o'clock in the afternoon. Under these circumstances I abandoned my intention to make an attack from my right, and as soon as the Sixth corps arrived, I directed the Fifth corps, then in reserve on the right, to move over and be in reserve on the left.”

It was a division of the Fifth corps (General Sykes') that rescued the Round Top from the grasp of our assaulting column. Does not this show how weak the left was in the morning, and how easy it would have then been for our troops on the right to have gotten possession of the key to the position? That General Lee's plans were thwarted by the delay on the right, can any man doubt? On the occasion of the dedication of the Cemetery for the Federal soldiers killed at Gettysburg, Edward Everett, in the presence of President Lincoln, some of his cabinet, many members of Congress and officers of the army, and an immense concours) of citizens, delivered an address, in which he thus graphically describes the effect of the delay that took place:

“And here I cannot but remark on the Providential inaction of the rebel army. Had the conflict been renewed by it at daylight on the 2nd of July, with the First and Eleventh corps exhausted by battle, the Third and Twelfth weary from their forced march, and the Second, Fifth, and Sixth not yet arrived, nothing but a miracle could have saved the army from a great disaster. Instead of this the day dawned, the sun rose, the cool hours of the morning passed, and a considerable part of the afternoon wore away without the slightest aggressive movement on the part of the enemy. Thus time was given for half of our forces to arrive and take their places in the lines, while the rest of the army enjoyed a much needed half-day's repose.”

It is to be presumed that before preparing an address that was to assume a historical character, Mr. Everett had obtained accurate knowledge of all that transpired within the Federal lines

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)
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.
Sickles (2)
Meade (2)
A. B. Howard (2)
Hancock (2)
Edward Everett (2)
Round Top (1)
Sykes (1)
Slocum (1)
A. Lincoln (1)
Fitzhugh Lee (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 2nd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: