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[110] through the town of Gettysburgh. All of our troops behaved well that were engaged.

Late in the evening Anderson's division, and McLaws's division, of Longstreet's corps, got up to within a mile or two of the town, and bivouacked for the night. Early next (Thursday) morning, the second, Hood's division also got up, and our line of battle was formed. The enemy during the night had succeeded in getting up his entire force — some one hundred and thirty thousand to one hundred and fifty thousand men — and took up a strong position on a low mountain range, or ridge, which runs nearly south from Gettysburgh. The town is situated on the northern slope of this range, and about one and a half or two miles from its summit. The western slope of this range is in cultivation, except small “patches,” where the mountain side is so precipitous as to defy the efforts of the farmer to bring it into subjection to the ploughshare; these “patches” are covered with small timber and undergrowth. At the foot of the mountain is a narrow valley, from a mile to two miles in width, broken in small ridges running parallel with the mountain. On the western side of the valley rises a long, high hill, mostly covered with heavy timber; but greatly inferior in altitude to the mountain range upon which the enemy had taken position, but running nearly parallel with it. The valley between this ridge and the mountain is in cultivation, and the fields were yellow with the golden harvest. About four or five miles south from Gettysburgh the mountain rises abruptly to an altitude of several hundred feet; presenting a sharp, rugged, and almost perpendicular peak, covered with original forest growth. Upon this peak the enemy rested his left flank, his right being upon the crest of the range, about a mile or a mile and a half from Gettysburgh. Our line of battle was formed along the western slope of the second and inferior ridge described above, and in the following order: Ewell's corps on the left, beginning at the town, with Early's division, then Rhodes's division. On the right of Rhodes's division was the left of Hill's corps, commencing with Heth's, then Pender's, and Anderson's divisions. On the right of Anderson's division was Longstreet's left, McLaws's division being next to Anderson, and Hood on the extreme right of our line, which was opposite the peak upon which the enemy's left rested. A brisk skirmish-firing was kept up during the entire morning; but no general engagement took place until late in the afternoon. It will be seen that in the order of battle given above, neither Johnson's division, of Ewell's corps, or Pickett's division, of Longstreet's corps; had a place. Up to Thursday noon neither of these divisions had come up. Pickett had been left at Chambersburgh to protect our rear, and escort our reserve train, and Johnson had been operating on the Susquehanna, in the direction of Harrisburgh. At one time, early in the morning, Hays's brigade, of Early's division, made an attack upon the enemy on the south side of the town, and, charging up the northern slope of the mountain, soon got possession of the enemy's first line, driving them from a strong position on the Cemetery Hill. It is thought that if adequate support had been near at hand, he might have dislodged the enemy from his strong position on the right. Gordon's brigade, which was in the town, was double-quicked to his support, moving promptly and rapidly; but, owing to the great distance they had to traverse, Hays was compelled to fall back before his support reached him. In this charge of Hays's, it is said that his men clubbed their guns, and had a desperate hand-to-hand conflict with a very superior force of the enemy, and that the slaughter of the Yankees was fearful.

About the middle of the afternoon orders were issued to the different commanders to prepare for a general attack upon the enemy's centre and left. Longstreet was to commence the movement, which was to be followed up on his left in quick succession by the respective divisions of Hill's corps. As Anderson's division, or at least a portion of it, took a conspicuous part in this movement, I have ascertained, and now give you, the order of its different brigades: On the extreme right of Anderson's division, connecting with McLaws's left, was Wilcox's brigade, then Perry's, Wright's, Posey's, and Mahone's. At half-past 5 o'clock, Longstreet commenced the attack, and Wilcox followed it up by promptly moving forward; Perry's brigade quickly followed, and Wright moved simultaneously with him. The two divisions of Longstreet's corps soon encountered the enemy posted a little in rear of the Emmetsburgh turnpike, which winds along the slope of the range upon which the enemy's main force was concentrated. After a short but spirited engagement, the enemy was driven back upon the main line upon the crest of the hill. McLaws's and Hood's divisions made a desperate assault upon their main line, but owing to the precipitate and very rugged character of the slope, were unable to reach the summit. The enemy's loss on this part of the line was very heavy. I have heard several officers say that they have never seen the enemy's dead cover the ground so thickly, not even at the first Fredericksburgh fight, as they did on that portion of the field over which McLaws's troops fought. While the fight was raging on our right, Wilcox and Wright of Anderson's division, were pressing the enemy's centre. Wilcox pushed forward for nearly a mile, driving the enemy before him and up to his very guns, over and beyond his batteries, several guns of which he captured, and nearly up to the summit of the hill. Wright had swept over the valley, under a terrific fire from the enemy's batteries, posted upon McPherson's heights, had encountered the enemy's advance line, and had driven him across the Emmetsburgh pike to a position behind a stone wall or fence, which runs parallel with the pike, and about sixty or eighty yards in front of the batteries on the heights, and immediately under them. Here this gallant brigade had a most desperate engagement for fifteen or twenty minutes;

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