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 two movements of extension so drew my forces out that I found myself attacking Cemetery Hill with a single line of battle against not less than 50,000 troops. My two divisions at that time were cut down to eight or nine thousand men, four thousand having been killed or wounded. We felt at every step the heavy stroke of fresh troops — the sturdy regular blow that tells a soldier instantly that he has encountered reserves or reinforcements. We received no support at all, and there was no evidence of co-operation on any side. To urge my men forward under these circumstances would have been madness, and I withdrew them in good order to the peach orchard that we had taken from the Federals early in the afternoon. It may be mentioned here as illustrative of the dauntless spirit of these men, that when General Humphreys (of Mississippi) was ordered to withdraw his troops from the charge, he thought there was some mistake, and retired to a captured battery near the swale between the tw6 ridges, where he halted, and when ordered to retire to the new line a second time, he did so under protest.1 Our men had no thought of retreat. They broke every line they encountered. When the order to withdraw was given a courier was sent to General Lee informing him of the result of the day's work. Before pursuing this narrative further, I shall say a word or two concerning this assault. I am satisfied that my force, numbering hardly 13,000 men, encountered during that three and a half hours of bloody work not less than 65,000 of the Federals, and yet their charge was not checked nor their line broken until we ordered them to withdraw. Mr. Whitelaw Reid, writing a most excellent account of this charge to the Cincinnati Gazette, says: “It was believed from the terrific attack that the whole rebel army, Ewell's corps included, was massed on our centre and left, and so a single brigade was left to hold the rifle-pits on the right and the rest hurried across the little neck of land to strengthen our weakening lines.” He describes, too, the haste with which corps after corps was hurried forward to the left to check the advance of my two-thirds of one corps. General Meade himself testifies (see his official report) that the Third, the Second, the Fifth, the Sixth, and the Eleventh corps, all of the Twelfth except one brigade and part of the First corps, engaged my handful of heroes during that glorious but disastrous afternoon. I found that night that 4,529 of my men, more than one-third of their total number, had been left on the field. History records no parallel to the fight made by these two divisions on the 2d of July at Gettysburg. I cannot
1 The troops engaged with me in the fight of the 2d were mostly Georgians, as follows: The four Georgia brigades of Generals Benning, Anderson, Wofford and Semmes, General Kershaw's South Carolina brigade, General Laws' Alabama brigade, General Barksdale's (afterward General Humphrey's) Mississippi brigade, and General Robertson's Texas brigade.
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