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[405]

At that hour, big with promise, the Confederates had also possession of the chief point of vantage, for their advance was entirely through the town of Gettysburg and beyond its southern border, up to the very gates of the now famous cemetery, and Early, also flushed with victory, the credit for which was in large part due to his division, was forming two of his brigades to the east of the town, and requesting Hill to join his right with a division from Seminary ridge, to move forward and dispossess the small Federal force that still heroically held on to Cemetery hill and covered the roads by which Meade must advance from the southward. At this same time, about 5 in the afternoon, General Ewell sent Capt. J. P. Smith to General Lee, asking that the forward movement he was preparing might be supported by Hill or Longstreet. Lee was found on Seminary ridge, accompanied by Longstreet, and Hill was near at hand. The latter was reluctant to send to Ewell his two divisions, which so recently had been hotly engaged. Lee then urged Longstreet to hurry forward McLaws and Hood, who were advancing from Cashtown to join Ewell's advance, and sent word to the latter, by Captain Smith, that he would support his advance on his right as soon as he could, concluding: ‘I wish him to use whatever opportunity he has to advance and hold the ground in his front.’

As Ewell was holding his men in check, impatient to advance as soon as they were reformed, to the south of Gettysburg, a young staff officer came riding rapidly from the rear, with a message to General Early from Brig.-Gen. William Smith, who had recently been sent to the army to take command of Early's old brigade, which Early had left as a rear guard on the road to York, north of Gettysburg, as he advanced, distrusting the management of its leader in an engagement. Smith's message was that a Federal force was advancing upon his rear, from the direction of York. Instead of paying no attention to this report, which he well knew could have no foundation, Early halted his advance movement and countermarched one of his best brigades, under Gordon, to assist Smith in meeting this imagined Federal movement on his rear. The delay caused by this episode chilled in Ewell the ardor of pursuit, and he refused the appeal of Early and Rodes for an immediate assault upon

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