previous next
[72] so strong, so nearly impregnable, that, independently of their flank fire, they could repel his attack by throwing stones down the mountain; and that a third time he dispatched a staff officer to explain more fully in regard to the situation, and to suggest that he (General Longstreet) come in person and see for himself, and that his Adjutant-General, whom he sent the last time, returned with the same message: “General Lee's orders are to attack up the Emmettsburg road;” and almost simultaneously Colonel Fairfax, of Longstreet's staff, rode up and repeated the order.

While this was going on an order came from General Longstreet, borne by Major Latrobe, such is my recollection, asking why did I not charge, “as there was no one in my front but a regiment of infantry and a battery of artillery.” I told the officer that I would charge so soon as my division was formed for it; that the enemy was in great force in my immediate front, with numerous artillery, and extended far to the right. In a very short time after this the order was repeated, and I informed the officer again that the enemy was so strong in my front that it required careful preparation for the assault, or it necessarily would be a failure; that the opposite artillery was numerous, and it was necessary to break its force by the fire of our artillery; that as soon as it opened, and my men were all up, I would move forward, but requested that he come to the front and see for himself.

Not long after the order came peremptorily for me to charge, the officer representing that General Lee was with General Longstreet, and joined in the order, and I got on my horse and sent word that in five minutes I would be under way. But while collecting my staff to send the orders for a simultaneous move of the whole line, a courier dashed up with orders for me to wait until Hood got into position. I suppose by this time Hood's protests against attempting to charge up the Emmettsburg road had been received, and hence the delay. I sent to communicate with Hood at once in order to follow his movement. General Longstreet then came up in person and I met him. His first words were, “Why is not a battery placed here?” pointing to the place where the road by which we marched reached the edge of the open space in front. I replied, “General, if a battery is placed there it will draw the enemy's artillery right among my lines formed for the charge and will of itself be in the way of my charge, and tend to demoralize my men.” His reply was only a peremptory order for a battery, and it was sent forward, placed in that position, and its fire at once drew the enemy's

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
James Longstreet (5)
John B. Hood (3)
Fitzhugh Lee (2)
Latrobe (1)
Fairfax (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: