previous next
[397] extend Robertson on his left. Law thus describes the advance of his reenforced line in an article in Battles and leaders:—
The ground was rough and difficult, broken by rocks and boulders, which rendered an orderly advance impossible. Sometimes the Federals would hold one side of the huge boulders on the slopes until the Confederates occupied the other. In some cases my men, with reckless daring, mounted to the top of the large rocks in order to get a better view and to deliver their fire with greater effect. . . .

‘In less than an hour from the time we advanced to the attack, the hill by Devil's Den, opposite our centre, was taken with three pieces of the artillery that had occupied it. The remaining piece was run down the opposite slope by the gunners, and escaped capture.’

During all this time, however, McLaws's division was standing idle, though Barksdale was begging to be allowed to charge, and McLaws was awaiting Longstreet's order. Even when prolonged by Anderson's Georgians, the Texans' line was still so overlapped by the Federals that it could not advance. Law, placing his two brigades on the defensive on the captured hill, now came to the left and made a strong appeal to Kershaw for help. This was referred to McLaws and probably to Longstreet, for now the order was given for the advance of Kershaw supported by Semmes. But, by some unaccountable lack of appreciation of the situation, Barksdale, Wofford, and all the brigades of Anderson's division are still left idle spectators of the combat, while Hood's division is wearing itself out against superior numbers in strong position. Lee seems not to have been near. This was unfortunate, for his whole field of battle had been waiting all day and was still waiting for Longstreet's battle to be developed; and here it was being begun, in the progressive manner which had been ordered, but with unwise deliberation. Longstreet, of course, is responsible, but every commanding officer takes great risks when he leaves such important movements without supervision. It was especially unfortunate in this case, because advancing Kershaw without advancing Barksdale would expose Kershaw to enfilade by the troops whom Barksdale would easily drive off. Few battle-fields can furnish examples of worse tactics.

Kershaw was put in motion by a signal. Cabell's guns, in his front, were ordered to pause in their firing, and then to fire three

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
S. C. Kershaw (5)
Longstreet (4)
Barksdale (4)
McLaws (3)
R. H. Anderson (2)
Wofford (1)
Semmes (1)
Robertson (1)
W. H. F. Lee (1)
Longstreet Hood (1)
Cabell (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: