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[112] in front of Posey's and Mahone's brigades, and almost immediately in front of the heights. At twelve o'clock the signal-gun was fired, and the cannonading commenced. The fire of our guns was concentrated upon the enemy's line on the heights stormed on the day before by Wright's brigade. Our fire drew a most terrific one from the enemy's batteries, posted along the heights from a point near Cemetery Hill to the point in their line opposite to the position of Wilcox. I have never yet heard such tremendous artillery firing. The enemy must have had over one hundred guns, which, in addition to our one hundred and fifteen, made the air hideous with most discordant noise. The very earth shook beneath our feet, and the hills and rocks seemed to reel like a drunken man. For one hour and a half this most terrific fire was continued, during which time the shrieking of shells, the crash of falling timber, the fragments of rock flying through the air shattered from the cliffs by solid shot, the heavy mutterings from the valley between the opposing armies, the splash of bursting shrapnel, and the fierce neighing of wounded artillery horses, made a picture terribly grand and sublime, but which my pen utterly fails to describe. After the firing had continued for little more than an hour, the enemy's guns began to slacken, and finally all were silenced save some six or. eight, which were in a clump of woods a little to the left of the stone fence.

Now the storming party was moved up, Pickett's division in advance, supported on the right by Wilcox's brigade and on the left by Heth's division, commanded by Pettigrew. The left of Pickett's division occupied the same ground over which Wright had passed the day before. I stood upon an eminence and watched this advance with great interest; I had seen brave men pass over that fated valley the day before; I had witnessed their death-struggle with the foe on the opposite heights; I had observed their return with shattered ranks, a bleeding mass, but with unstained banners. Now I saw their valiant comrades prepare for the same bloody trial, and already felt that their efforts would be vain unless their supports should be as true as steel and brave as lions. Now they move forward, with steady, measured tread they advance upon the foe. Their banners float defiantly in the breeze, as onward in beautiful order they press across the plain. I have never seen since the war began (and I have been in all the great fights of this army) troops enter a fight in such splendid order as did this splendid division of Pickett's. Now Pettigrew's command emerge from the woods upon Pickett's left, and sweep down the slope of the hill to the valley beneath, and some two or three hundred yards in rear of Pickett. I saw by the wavering of this line as they entered the conflict that they wanted the firmness of nerve and steadiness of tread which so characterized Pickett's men, and I felt that these men would not, could not stand the tremendous ordeal to which they would be soon subjected. These were mostly raw troops, which had been recently brought from the South, and who had, perhaps, never been under fire — who certainly had never been in any very severe fight — and I trembled for their conduct. Just as Pickett was getting well under the enemy's fire, our batteries ceased firing. This was a fearful moment for Pickett and his brave command. Why do not our guns reopen their fire? is the inquiry that rises upon every lip. Still our batteries are silent as death! But on press Pickett's brave Virginians; and now the enemy open upon them, from more than fifty guns, a terrible fire of grape, shell, and canister. On, on they move in unbroken line, delivering a deadly fire as they advance. Now they have reached the Emmetsburgh road, and here they meet a severe fire from the heavy masses of the enemy's infantry, posted behind the stone fence, while their artillery, now free from the annoyance of our artillery, turn their whole fire upon this devoted band. Still they remain firm. Now again they advance; they storm the stone fence; the Yankees fly. The enemy's batteries are, one by one, silenced in quick succession as Pickett's men deliver their fire at the gunners and drive them from their pieces. I see Kemper and Armistead plant their banner in the enemy's works. I hear their glad shout of victory!

Let us look after Pettigrew's division. Where are they now? While the victorious shout of the gallant Virginians is still ringing in my ears, I turn my eyes to the left, and there, all over the plain, in utmost confusion, is scattered this strong division. Their line is broken; they are flying, apparently panic-stricken, to the rear. The gallant Pettigrew is wounded, but he still retains command, and is vainly striving to rally his men. Still the moving mass rush pell-mell to the rear, and Pickett is left alone to contend with the hordes of the enemy now pouring in upon him on every side. Garnett falls, killed by a Minie ball, and Kemper, the brave and chivalrous, reels under a mortal wound, and is taken to the rear. Now the enemy move around strong flanking bodies of infantry, and are rapidly gaining Pickett's rear. The order is given to fall back, and our men commence the movement, doggedly contending for every inch of ground. The enemy press heavily our retreating line, and many noble spirits who had passed safely through the fiery ordeal of the advance and charge, now fall on the right and on the left. Armistead is wounded and left in the enemy's hands. At this critical moment the shattered remnant of Wright's Georgia brigade is moved forward to cover their retreat, and the fight closes here. Our loss in this charge was very severe, and the Yankee prisoners taken acknowledge that theirs was immense. Anticipating that a renewal of the attack would be made on this point in his line, Meade had concentrated a very heavy force of infantry in support of his batteries, and the fire of our artillery was said to have been very destructive to them, lying, as they were, in heavy masses just in rear of their own guns. I have stated that just after Pickett commenced the attack our batteries ceased firing, and upon inquiry I learn that they


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