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[417] and unflinchingly facing the musketry and the canister of Meade's guns.

To General Lee's amazement, his batteries did not support this movement by engaging those of Meade. He did not know that the hour of furious and rapid cannonade that preceded the charge, had nearly exhausted his artillery ammunition, and his on-rushing columns were now meeting the fire of both infantry and artillery without the support even of the guns that were to have gone forward in the attacking column. Alexander had ordered nine howitzers to move with Pickett to the very front of the battle, but these had disappeared without his orders. Securing fifteen guns that still had ammunition, Alexander moved these up behind Pickett's division.

Firing diagonally upon his left, the Federal guns, from the Cemetery, wrought sad havoc in Pettigrew's line, and Trimble's men, with quickening pace, were soon mingled with those of Pettigrew's right, which a Vermont brigade, by bold attack, forced toward his left. The guns from Round Top secured an enfilade on the Confederate columns, but these pressed forward to within 100 yards of the wall held by the Federals, when they began filing to the rear. With rapid fire and wild yell, Pettigrew's right, Pickett's left and Trimble mingling in a charge, rushed upon and took possession of the stone wall held by the enemy, capturing prisoners and silencing batteries. Pouring in, from right and left, the Federals then engaged in a hand-to-hand fight with the heroic Confederates who had so courageously broken their center, and a fearful contest and carnage ensued, where the men of equal valor strove for the mastery. Nearly every field officer present, on either side, fell among the dead and wounded men of their commands.

Pickett's second line, Armistead's Virginia brigade, rushed to the stone wall almost as soon as the line that preceded it, and for some minutes his men were masters of the deserted front. The commander of a Federal brigade, who had been forced back under a heavy fire, says of this supreme moment, ‘The enemy was rapidly gaining a foothold; organization was mostly lost; in the confusion commands were useless, while a disposition on the part of the men to fall back a pace or two at a time to load gave the line a retiring direction.’

For the time the grand assault was successful, and

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George Edward Pickett (4)
Pettigrew (3)
Isaac R. Trimble (2)
George Meade (2)
E. P. Alexander (2)
Round Top (1)
R. E. Lee (1)
Lewis Addison Armistead (1)
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