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The short summer night sped, and at daylight, Gen. Slocum's corps having returned to the right, and with their return commenced the operation of dislodging the Confederates from Culp's Hill, this was accomplished before ten o'clock, by Gen. Slocum's troops and Wadsworth's division of the First Corps. Gen. Lee now withdrew his sharpshooters and all his infantry from the town. The retirement of these troops to Seminary Ridge was doubtless intended to allure Meade from his advantageous position. The stratagem failed. The Confederate retreat from the town was quickened by some parting shots from a knoll north of the cemetery. At noon the frightened and bewildered inhabitants who were yet in the town, creeping out to ascertain the meaning of the silence, saw the Confederates falling back to the seminary.

It is said, that, on this eventful Friday, 3d of July, Gen. Lee did not desire to attack the Federal position; he saw its superiority, but he yielded to the appeals of his lieutenants.

At one P. M. the Confederate commander opened with 150 guns upon the eminence held by the Federals. For two hours the air was alive with shells. This was the tremendous artillery fire designed to demoralize the Federal troops before the grand charge of Longstreet's grand division.


Our command, having been held in reserve, was, we believe, one of the last batteries to enter the conflict. But on this day, about two o'clock, passing in near Little Round Top, then running the gauntlet of the Confederate fire, we succeeded in relieving the First New Hampshire Battery, on Cemetery Ridge, and there did honorable service. Every shell from Seminary Hill seemed to be thrown at the cemetery. Amidst this terrible Confederate cannonade, scarcely a Federal shot was heard: the cannoneers with their implements lay low in the little ditches dug behind their guns.

Artillerymen declared that they had precisely the range of the ridge occupied by the enemy. One of our boys evidently thought differently, since he discharged one of our Napoleons. This brought hither an aid, for there had been no orders to fire. ‘I am directed to ask why that gun was fired,’ he said. H., who had held the lanyard and pulled the string, heard his chief of section reply, that the gunner was ‘getting the range.’

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Henry Warner Slocum (2)
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