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[546] for a battery of artillery to be brought up to open on this force and on the town, from which a fire had opened on my advancing brigades; but before the battery got up my men had entered the town, and the retiring force on the right had got beyond reach. I had at the same time sent an order to General Smith to advance with his three regiments, but he thought it advisable not to comply with this order on account of a report that the enemy was advancing on the York road, near which he was. As soon as my brigades entered the town I rode into that place myself, and after ascertaining the condition of things I rode to find Generals Ewell and Rodes or General Hill for the purpose of urging an immediate advance upon the enemy before he could recover from his evident dismay, in order to get possession of the range of hills to which he had fallen back with the remnant of his forces; but before I found either of these officers General Smith's aide came to me with a message from the General, stating that a heavy force of the enemy consisting of infantry, artillery and cavalry, was advancing on the York road, and that we were about to be flanked; and though I had no faith in this report, I thought it best to send General Gordon with his brigade to take charge of Smith's also, and to keep a lookout on the York road and stop any further alarm. Meeting with an officer of Major-General Pender's staff, I sent word by him to General Hill (whose command was on the Cashtown road and had not advanced up to Gettysburg) that if he would send up a division we could take the hill to which the enemy had retreated;1 and shortly afterwards meeting with General Ewell, I communicated my views to him, and was informed by him that Johnson's division was coming up; and General Ewell then determined with this division to take possession of the wooded hill2 on our left of Cemetery Hill, which commanded the latter. But Johnson's division arrived at a late hour, and the movement having been further delayed by another report of an advance on the York road,3 no effort was made to get possession of the wooded hill that night.4

1 I subsequently learned that my message was delivered by this officer to General Hill, but the latter said he had no division to send.

2 This was the hill mentioned in the accounts of the battle as Culp's Hill.

3 Not from Gordon, however, but from some straggling courier or cavalryman. These reports all proved to be false, but they were very embarrassing to us.

4 Johnson had come by the way of Shippensburg and the Greenwood and Cashtown Gap, and did not arrive until after the fighting was all over on that day.

As much censure has been cast upon General Ewell for the failure to prosecute the advantage gained on the first day — more, however, by private than public criticism — I will make the following statement:--He was on his way to Cashtown, or Hilltown, near it, to which point he had been ordered by General Lee, when he received Hill's message in regard to his expected engagement with the enemy, and though Ewell was the ranking officer he moved promptly to the aid of Hill. He found the latter engaged with the enemy at great disadvantage, and immediately ordered the division with him into action, when the enemy turned his main force on that division (Rodes's), which had to bear the brunt of the battle until the arrival of my division turned the fate of the day. Hill did not advance to the town of Gettysburg, and made no offer of cooperation in any advance on Cemetery Hill that I am aware of; and I must say that I do not recognise the justice of throwing the whole responsibility on Ewell. I was anxious for the advance, and urged it with great earnestness; but two of my own brigades were neutralized by the reports of flanking columns on the York road, as I found it necessary in the excitement that then prevailed to put an adequate force on that flank under an officer who I knew would not permit any false alarms to be raised at a critical moment, the evil consequences of which all experienced soldiers can understand. Though I had strong faith in the result of an advance, the troops at Ewell's command had then marched from twelve to fifteen miles and were embarrassed with several thousand prisoners, and from our then stand-point — however it may appear now — it was not apparent that we would not encounter fresh troops if we went forward; and the fact was that two fresh corps (Slocum's and Sickles's) were very near the battle-field, while a reserve of three or four thousand men (Steinwehr's division) had been left on Cemetery Hill and had not been engaged.--See statement in Swinton's Army of the Potomac, and Doubbleday's testimony, Report on the Conduct of the War, vol. 1, 2d series, p. 309.

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R. S. Ewell (7)
A. P. Hill (6)
William Smith (3)
Elliott Johnson (3)
R. E. Rodes (2)
David S. Gordon (2)
Swinton (1)
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W. D. Pender (1)
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