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[173]

But at 6 o'clock everything was changed; both armies were reinforced at that hour, and had the battle been renewed after that it would have been by fresh troops on either side, with all the chances of a new battle. At 6 o'clock, Johnson's division entered the town; and Anderson's division might have reached there at the same time if it had been ordered to do so. The head of the Twelfth corps also reached the battle-field at 6 P. M., but not being required at Cemetery Hill, Geary's division was moved to the left to occupy the high land near Round Top, and Williams' division was turned to its right as it moved up the Baltimore pike, crossed Wolf Hill, with orders to seize the high land on the Confederate left, where Johnson's division subsequently spent the night.

If, therefore, Hill and Ewell had renewed the attack at 6 P. M., with their full commands, the two divisions of the Twelfth corps would have been in position to meet it. This, as before remarked, would have been a new phase of the battle, fought by fresh troops, and therefore subject to all the uncertainties of battle; but with strong probabilities in favor of Confederate success. The First corps had been engaged in a long and severe contest, in which it was everywhere beaten and had suffered heavily. The Eleventh corps had also suffered as much, and portions of it were badly demoralized. On the contrary, the Confederate forces would have continued the engagement with the prestige of victory. Several brigades had been badly cut up, but others had fired scarcely a shot, and the presence of General Lee, who had now arrived, would have given a new impulse to the battle. It is probable strong efforts would have been made to hold the position until the troops of the Third and Second corps could be brought up. Although General Sickles reached the field at an earlier hour, only two brigades of his command arrived that night-these reaching the field at sunset. Two brigades were left at Emmettsburg to hold the pass towards Fairfield, and General Humphreys, with two brigades of his division, reached the field at 1 o'clock the next morning. The Second corps was ordered to move up to Gettysburg, but General Hancock met it on the road on his return to Taneytown, where he went to report to General Meade, and not considering its presence necessary, ordered it to go into bivouac. In case of an engagement, however, these troops could hardly have reached the field before nightfall.


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Andrew Johnson (2)
J. N. Williams (1)
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