circuit, his men well-nigh exhausted, to Gettysburg
, where he appeared on Lee
A. P. Hill
's advance, under Pettigrew
, reached Cashtown
, where by its orders it should have awaited the concentration of Lee
's army, its mission being the taking and holding of Lee
's chosen defensive position.
Unfortunately, on the 30th, while Longstreet
was still west of the mountains, at Greenwood
, and before even Hill
's corps was closed up, Pettigrew
's brigade, of Heth
's division, was allowed to march over the eight miles from Cashtown
in search of shoes.
In the vicinity of that town it came in collision with Buford
's Federal cavalry, and the great battle of Gettysburg
was thus unwittingly and unordered begun, though but in a skirmish.
hastened back to Cashtown
, late in the day, and on the morning of July 1st, at 5 a. m., A. P. Hill
, always ready and anxious for a fight, but so far as known without orders from General Lee
, sent the divisions of Heth
, as Hill
says in his report, ‘to discover what was in my front.’
He soon found out; for when he advanced his skirmishers to near Gettysburg
, expecting to find only Buford
's Federal cavalry, he brought on an engagement with two corps of Meade
's army, which Buford
had called to his aid the evening before, when he found that infantry was in his front.
In the fierce combat which Hill
brought on, just to the west of Gettysburg
, on the 1st of July, he soon got the worst of it, as the power of numbers was arrayed against him; so he sent messengers to Ewell
, who was, in obedience to orders, approaching Cashtown
from the east, asking for help.
Giving heed to this urgent call, Ewell
turned toward Gettysburg
, and on arriving in its vicinity on the north, he promptly moved into line of battle, nearly at right angles to the pending combat between Hill
and the Federals
; fell upon the right flank of the latter and well-nigh demolished his command, killing the leader with many of his men, capturing numerous prisoners, and driving the remainder of the two corps in confusion through the streets of Gettysburg
, to the southward, toward Meade
's main army.
On this same 1st day of July, Lee
, with Longstreet
, crossed the South
mountain, and heard with amazement the noise of the battle that Hill
had begun at Gettysburg