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[32] sooner or later in the movement of a heavy column often produces a decided difference in the result of a battle.

Both Northern and Southern descriptions of the battle of Gettysburg, in the third days' contest have, without perhaps a single exception down to the present time, given not only most conspicuous prominence to General Pickett's division, but, generally by the language used, have created the impression among those not personally acquainted with the events of the day, that Pickett's men did all the hard fighting, suffered the most severely, and failed in his charge, because not promptly or vigorously supported by the troops on his right and left. It might with as much truth be said that Pettigrew and Trimble failed in their charge because unsupported by Pickett, who had been driven back in the crisis of their charge, and was no aid to them.

These statements or inferences do such great injustice to other troops, who displayed equal daring, and are so contrary to well known facts, that the errors can only be accounted for by one or two considerations, viz:

First--That Pickett's division being much nearer the enemy when it began the charge, became at the start the most prominent body in the field, the most to be dreaded, and which would, if any did so, be the first to pierce the Federal lines and decide the contest.

Second--As these were the first who “shattered to atoms,” and recoiled from the advance, the fate of the day seemed solely to rest with them, and that when they fell back the contest was over. No one acquainted with the facts can for a moment doubt the intrepid bravery and splendid bearing of Pickett's men; they did all that any men could do under the circumstances, but others did as well, went as far, or further, fought longer, and lost as heavily. The simple truth is, that Pickett's, Pettigrew's and Trimble's divisions were literally “shot to pieces,” and the small remnants, who broke the first Federal line, were too feeble to hold what they had gained.

So the result of that charge only proved over again the axiom in war, that “no single line of infantry without artillery can carry a line protected by rifle pits, knapsacks, and other cover, and a numerous artillery, if the assaulted party bravely avails itself of its advantages.” It was so at Fredericksburg, reversing the parties, and will be so everywhere.

Now a word about North Carolinians in this charge at Gettysburg, and of what I was an eye witness.

On the morning of the 3rd I had been put in command, by order of General Lee, of two of the brigades of General Pender, who had been

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