The rest of Hill
's command was held in reserve, to be used as occasion might require.
was already in hot and close contention on Culp's hill
, when Lee
gave the order to advance, confident that his column of attack could break through Meade
's line where Wright
had broken through it the day before, and then aid Ewell
in crushing the Federal
In person he pointed out to Longstreet
a clump of trees, near the middle of Hancock
's line, as marking the point to be attacked.
From his position that part of the Federal
line did not seem to be a strong one, except for the stone fences that bordered the roads and separated the fields, and thus gave protection to Hancock
prepared for the assault by opening on the Federal
lines with masses of artillery.
At 10 a. m. Alexander
was in position with seventy-five guns, on the swell west of the Emmitsburg
road; and R. Lindsey Walker
with his sixty-three, from the Seminary ridge
farther to the northward.
It was expected that their heavy concentrated fire would silence the batteries on Cemetery ridge
and open a safer way for Longstreet
's assault, which these same batteries were to follow up, keeping pace with the infantry, protecting their flanks, and joining in the filial onslaught, as they had at Chancellorsville
By 9 o'clock, Pickett
were in line, on Seminary ridge
, and Ewell
had made his desperate attack on Culp's hill
, from which he was driven back with great loss, and left in no condition to resume the offensive and again make a simultaneous attack with Longstreet
At 12 o'clock the assaulting columns were advanced to the edge of the woods, in rear of the Confederate
guns, ready to move forward at the word of command, which Longstreet
states that he requested Colonel Alexander
to give at his discretion.
The artillery did not open until 1 o'clock, when it drew upon it the fire of seventy Federal cannon, and a mighty conflict, between great guns, raged across the 1,400 yards of interval between the opposing ridges.
The long bolts from the Whitworth guns of the Confederates
, on Seminary ridge
, cut wide gaps in the Federal
lines on Cemetery ridge
; and the well-aimed shells from the same quarter wrought havoc as they fell within the enemy's lines, but these quickly closed up, in obedience to orders.
Flame and smoke rose from the long lines of the opposing