At an early hour on this same July 2d, Meade
directed the preparation of an order for the retreat of his army, and his corps commanders were in council considering this, when Longstreet
's guns, in the mid-afternoon, called them to their posts of duty and the defense of their left.
Just at that time Sickles
, of his own motion, pushed his corps forward on the Emmitsburg
road and took position between the peach orchard and Little Round Top
, thus facing Longstreet
's movement under McLaws
, farther to the right, was expected to fall on the left flank of the Federal
line and force it toward Gettysburg
's lines at this time extended from his left, near Round Top
, almost due north along the western side of the Taneytown
road to Cemetery hill
, then curved to the eastward around the front of that hill and the crest of Culp's hill
, with his extreme right turned in reverse to the westward.
One corps was on his left, the Second under Hancock
in the center, and the Twelfth and the fragments of the First and Eleventh held the right on the Cemetery and Culp hills
The Fifth was in reserve in the valley of Rock creek
, on the road leading southeast toward Baltimore
now confronted each other, each with about 12,000 men.
Law ascertained, as he advanced, that the Federal
left flank was unprotected, and he and Hood
to move farther to the right and occupy Round Top
, and thus turn the Federal
left, rather than advance along the Emmitsburg
road, which was commanded by the Federal artillery, while its infantry was well protected by the stone fences and outcropping rocks along its position.
's reply to the thrice-repeated request and protest was, ‘General Lee
's orders are to attack up the Emmitsburg
So the advance began, against a furious cannonade in which Hood
was wounded, attacking Sickles
' left in the rocky and brush-tangled point known as the Devil
's Den. Law took his assigned place, and pressing boldly forward drove the Federal
brigades from their position, which they held with great tenacity, and captured three pieces of cannon.
His right then crossed the northern slope of Round Top
and advanced toward Little Round Top
, while his center rushed to gain that important point in the field of contest; but Warren
promptly led a brigade and a battery,