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[81] could do, in our blind bewilderment, was to “pray that God would have mercy on the crew.” The irresistible force which operated here was the military honor to obey his orders, which actuated the leader of the charge, that noble, chivalrous, fearless, high-toned gentleman and old army officer, General George E. Pickett, and the pride and courage of the Army of Northern Virginia, which made them eager to try to do whatever General Lee ordered.

It was a charge upon the enemy's centre, made by Pickett's division and Heth's, advancing in two lines; Pickett on the right, Wilcox's brigade marching in rear of Pickett's to guard that flank, and Heth's division was supported by Lane's and Scales' brigades under General Trimble. I was far in advance of the main Confederate line, and could see along both the advancing Confederates and those of the enemy lying couchant to resist their charge.

Our troops moved steadily under a heavy fire, the main attack being against the left centre of the enemy. The enemy's artillery, which had slackened just previous to the charge, now reopened with renewed energy, whilst our batteries slackened theirs because of decreased ammuniton, which enabled the enemy to move their infantry from other portions of the field, reinforcing their front and moving to attack the flanks of the assailing force. But in spite of all this, the first line of the enemy was reached by our men and taken possession of, a large number leaping over and dashing at the second line, a great number sheltering themselves behind the stone walls or fortifications of the first line. But all this was but momentary, for the enemy, rushing their reinforcements, overpowered our men; the most advanced, or most of them, threw down their arms and surrendered, as also did many behind the first line captured. The rest fled in confusion, and what is known as Pickett's charge was over, with no results but the exemplification of the spirit and daring of our people. The enemy did not pursue, but rested content with the success so miraculously given to them. I looked around on my command, very few of whom were aware of the tremendous sacrifice that had been consummated. They were all in place, and needed but to be called to be ready, and seeing no necessity for arousing them I said not a word, but let them rest on.

General Lee, in his report, says, in reference to this charge of Pickett's:

The general plan was unchanged (that is, the plan of the 2d). Longstreet, reinforced by Pickett's three brigades, which arrived near the battlefield during the afternoon of the 2d, was ordered to

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George E. Pickett (7)
Fitzhugh Lee (2)
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2nd (1)
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