as to the order.
On the other side, we have General Pendleton
's statement that General Lee
told him, on the night of the first, that he had given the order for Longstreet
to attack at sunrise next morning.
also said to the gentleman referred to by General Fitz Lee
, “that the battle would have been gained if General Longstreet
had obeyed the orders given him, and had made the attack early instead of late.”
says that Longstreet
said to him on the morning of the second: “The General is a little nervous this morning; he wishes me to attack; I do not wish to do so without Pickett
I never like to go into battle with one boot off.”
got up before sunrise, and he gives several circumstances tending to show that General Lee
was anxious to make the attack at once.
, in his first article, has stated that General Lee
, at 5 P. M. of the 1st, announced his purpose of attacking the enemy the next day, that he persisted in that purpose late at night against his own repeated remonstrances, and that he reiterated it at daylight next morning.
All the presumptions from these statements and circumstances are in favor of the correctness of General Pendleton
's statement, and when connected with General Lee
's declaration to Ewell
, and myself, at the close of the first, it becomes absurd for General Longstreet
to say that he has sustained all his facts and opinions by the most particular proofs.
It is very evident, beyond all reasonable doubt, that General Lee
indicated to him the desire for him to attack at a very early hour on the 2d.
It is possible, and in fact probable, that no peremptory order was given to make the attack at any specified time, but the purpose must have been indicated in a manner that should have had the force and effect of a peremptory order with one whose duty it was to second promptly and cordially all the Commanding General
It is beyond all dispute that General Longstreet
thwarted General Lee
's purpose of attacking the enemy at as early an hour as practicable, by his reluctance and procrastination.
When he asserts that his troops fought on the 2d with heroic courage and devotion, all Confederates will admit the fact; and even when he asserts that they “did the best three-hours' fighting ever done by any troops in any field,” the claim will be allowed to pass without challenge, that much being conceded to the admissable pride of a commander in his troops; but when he asserts that his troops “virtually charged against the whole Federal army,” the idea at once suggests itself, that, if those troops, who came so near success under such circumstances, had had.a leader competent to the occasion, and had been led to battle in the early morning or at any time in the forenoon, when all of the Federal
army had not arrived and the bulk of it that was up was massed on its right, in front of our left, victory must inevitably have ensued.
We can but lament that the heroic courage and dash of such troops were rendered powerless by the tardiness of their leader, and that when they were given occasion, for the display of their prowess, it was but to be sacrificed to his incompetency.
It is pitiable to think that Hood
's gallant men were doomed to slaughter in a desperate struggle for the heights of Round Top