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[75] annoyed, principally because it was evident at a glance that the plan of battle, so far as his forces were concerned, could not be carried out. For instead of attacking or moving with his forces down the Emmettsburg road, his lines perpendicular to it, leaving the enemy to either retire or change their front to meet his attack or to be attacked in turn in their flank by others of our troops joining in as we advanced (Hood and myself), the whole of our attack was against the front of the enemy, in position, prepared to receive us. The question then arises, was it General Longstreet's duty, or would he have been justified, when he became aware that General Lee's order could not be obeyed, that the reconnoissance on which they were based had been faulty, and that he had therefore given those orders under mistaken or false information, to have halted his command, and going back to General Lee, inform him of the true status of the enemy, and that his order of attack should be changed, as it was not the best under the circumstances?

Longstreet's two divisions were not strong enough to cover the front of attack, much less envelop the flank, and he should have been reinforced before making the assault he did.

You will find, as I proceed, that General Longstreet had been ordered to partially envelop the enemy's left and drive it in with his command. But the officer who had made the reconnoissance, and was appointed to lead his troops by the necessary route, to carry out the order, carried Longstreet's leading division not on the flank, but in the immediate presence of a superior force, and so close that he could not withdraw in order to march farther to the left without serious complications. It is true he could have waited, but he was, as I understoood it, urged to the assault.

If Pickett's division had been with mine following it, I believe that Round Top could have been captured from my side, and we could have established ourselves there. But if Longstreet was waiting for Pickett, he was not allowed to wait long enough, because General Lee did not think the enemy's left was occupied so strongly as it was, even at that late hour, and was not made aware of the great natural strength of the enemy's position. If General Longstreet had taken the responsibility to report that the positions in his front were naturally so strong and were so strongly occupied that his force could not accomplish the important results that were expected, and insisted on a delay until his whole force was concentrated and a more thorough examination made, I do not think the battle would have been fought at all, but that General Lee

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James Longstreet (6)
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