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 McGilvery's brigade soon arrived, and Bigelow's, Phillips's, Hart's, and Thompson's batteries from it were ordered into position on the crest along the left centre and in the Peach Orchard, at the point of time when the enemy opened fire from a long line of guns posted along his front beyond the Emmettsburg Road. The Confederate commanders were quick to perceive the absence of cavalry on the Federal left, and to take advantage of the fact. Scouts were at once sent out, with instructions to make their way through the woods and up to the summit of Round Top. Several Federal stragglers, who, ignorant of their position, were making their way from the trains in the rear of Round Top toward the Emmettsburg Road, in which direction they imagined the rear of their own army to be, were captured by the enemy. From information gathered from these men, and from the reports of the scouts, who very soon returned, having been upon Round Top and discovered that it was unoccupied, it was learned that there were no troops either there or in that direction. On the strength of these reports the Confederate officers on this part of the field proposed a flank movement around and the occupation of Round Top. The suggestion, however, was not favorably entertained, and the attack was at once begun. This attack of the enemy, about to be received, was made by the divisions of Hood and McLaws, under Longstreet. We found these divisions leaving, about noon, the neighborhood of the seminary and marching to assault the left of the Federal line. There was great delay in this march, caused principally by the aim of the commanding officers to so mask the line of march behind the hills that it could not be detected by the Federal signal station on Little Round Top. The route followed was in consequence a roundabout one; there were many vexatious halts, so that it was past four o'clock in the afternoon before the troops came into position. McLaws's division, which had been leading the column, was formed on the right of A. P. Hill's corps, extending diagonally toward the Emmettsburg Road, Kershaw's brigade on the right and Barksdale's on the left, opposite the Peach Orchard, supported by Semmes's and Wofford's brigades, in reserve. It appears that, at first, the Confederate commanders supposed that this extension of their right represented the point of extreme extension of the Union left. But, subsequently, finding that Sickles's corps curved backward, extending to Devil's Den, Hood's division,
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