Those writers who have attempted to lay the blame upon Longstreet
's corps for the non-success of the battle, either on the 2d or 3d, I believe are entirely ignorant of the difficulties which his troops had to encounter.
This can be ascribed but to the want of proper reconnoissance having been made before the general plan of attack had been determined on; and it was assumed then, from hasty reports, made probably by persons not skilled in such matters, that there was not much to be overcome, and this erroneous opinion was never corrected.
The enemy's forces occupied a line along the crest of Cemetery Hill
, including Round Top
and Little Round Top
, which, from Crup's Hill on their extreme right to Round Top
, was about three miles long.
The Confederates partially enveloped Crup's Hill and extended in a continued line around to extreme left, and about a mile distant from the enemy's line.
The enemy are said to have had one hundred thousand men. Let us assume, for the comparison, that they were all infantry in both armies.
Now, three miles is 5,280 * 3=115,840 feet. A man in dose ranks is allowed two feet of space; he takes more in the fight.
Thus in a space of three miles a double rank containing 15,840 would form one line of battle without intervals.
Thus the enemy could have formed over six lines of battle, one behind the other, concentric.
This hill or ridge on which they were posted was, as I have before stated, higher than the one we had been on, and descended from the crest to their rear, as it did towards us. They were thus enabled to move their troops from one point to another without being seen by us. The Confederates, so I read, had 60,00 men, and occupied, I believe, a curve five miles long; five miles is 5,280 * 5=26,400 feet, or 26,400 men it would take to occupy our line shoulder to shoulder; two lines would take 52,800 men, or not quite two lines and a third; or the enemy could have put three lines of battle in position and then have had 52,480 men in reserve, or a force in reserve nearly equal to Lee
The enemy were compact and protected, and had free intercourse between their forces and signal stations everywhere, in every commanding position.
They could see all over our positions and commanded all the approaches with a powerful artillery, and yet our army attacked them in detached masses at different points, widely separated, and not acting in conjunction.
Why it was so, or whose fault it was, I do not pretend to assert; but that it was so, no one will deny.
As a further illustration of this, I will, with your permission,