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[373] to withdraw through the mountains with our large trains. At the same time the country was unfavorable for collecting supplies while in the presence of the main army of the enemy, as he was enabled to restrain our foraging parties by occupying the passes of the mountains with both regular and local troops. Encouraged by the successful issue of the engagement of the first day, and in view of the valuable results that would ensue from the defeat of the army of General Meade (who had succeeded General Hooker), General Lee thought it preferable to renew the attack.

General Meade held the high ridge above described, along which he had massed a large amount of artillery. General Ewell occupied the left of our line, General Hill the center, and General Longstreet the right. In front of General Longstreet the enemy held a position from which, if he could be driven, it was thought that our army could gain the more elevated ground (Round Top) beyond, and thus enable our guns to rake the crest of the ridge. That officer was directed to endeavor to carry this position, while General Ewell attacked directly the high ground on the enemy's right, which had already been partially fortified. General Hill was instructed to threaten the center of the line, in order to prevent reenforcements to either wing, and to avail himself of any opportunity that might present itself to attack. After a severe struggle Longstreet succeeded in getting possession of and holding the ground in his immediate front. Ewell also carried some of the strong positions which he assailed, and the result was such as to lead to the belief that he would ultimately be able to dislodge the force in his front. The battle ceased at dark. These partial successes determined Lee to continue the assault on the next day. Pickett, with three of his brigades, joined Longstreet on the following morning, and our batteries were moved forward to the position gained by him on the day before. The general plan of attack was unchanged, except that one division and two brigades of Hill's corps were ordered to support Longstreet.

General Meade, in the meantime, had strengthened his line with earthworks. The morning was occupied in necessary preparations, and the battle recommenced in the afternoon of the 3d, raging with great violence until sunset. Our troops succeeded in entering the advanced works of the enemy, and getting possession of some of his batteries; our artillery having nearly expended its ammunition, the attacking column became exposed to the heavy fire of the numerous batteries near the summit of the ridge, and, after a most determined and gallant struggle, were compelled to relinquish their advantage and fall back to their original positions with severe loss.

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