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It is sufficient answer to this statement of the Federal historian to quote the language of General Lee's official report (Southern Historical Society Papers for July, 1876, page 42): “The troops of the former (Johnson) moved steadily up the steep and rugged ascent under a heavy fire, driving the enemy into his entrenchments, part of which were carried by Steuart's brigade, and a number of prisoner's taken.”

The position thus so hardly1 won and at so dear a cost was one of great importance. It was within a few hundred yards of the Baltimore turnpike, which I think it commanded. Its capture was a breach in the enemy's lines through which troops might have been poured and the strong positions of Cemetery Hill rendered untenable. General Howard says: “The ground was rough, and the woods so thick that their generals did not realize till morning what they had gained.” Dr. Jacobs says: “This might have proved disastrous to us had it not occurred at so late an hour.” And Swinton declares it was “a position which, if held by him, would enable him to take Meade's entire line in reverse.” 2--Page 355.

It is only in keeping with the haphazard character of the whole battle that the capture of a point of such strategic importance should not have been taken advantage of by the Confederates. It remains, however, no less a proud memory for the officers and men of the Third brigade, that their prowess gained for the Confederate general a position where “Meade's entire line might have been taken in reverse.”

But if the Confederates did not realize what they had gained, the Federals were fully aware what they had lost. Accordingly, they spent the night massing troops and artillery for an effort to regain their works. “During the night,” says Swinton (page 356), “a powerful artillery was accumulated against the point entered by the enemy.” Through the long hours of the night we heard the rumbling of their guns, and thought they were evacuating the hill. The first streak of daylight revealed our mistake. It was scarcely dawn (the writer of this had just lain down to sleep after a night in the saddle) when their artillery opened upon us, at a range of about 500 yards, a terrific and galling fire, to which we had no

1 Bates himself, on another page (147), makes an admission fatal to his former assertion:

On the extreme Union right he had effected a lodgment [this, remember, General Lee says was done by Steuart's brigade], and had pushed forward in dangerous proximity to the very vitals of the army; but . . . the night was sure to give opportunity for dispositions which would oust him from his already dear-Bought advantage.

How was it “dear-bought” if occupied without opposition? Verily, unoccupied breastworks must have been fatal spots in that battle.

2 Bates is of the same opinion: “Had he known the advantage which was open to him, and all that we now know, he might, with the troops he had, have played havoc with the trains, and set the whole army in retreat; but he was ignorant of the prize which was within his grasp.” --Page 140.

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