's center was completely broken, and if Lee
's artillery had been at hand, as ordered, Pickett
would doubtless have held the captured works and forced the Federals
from Cemetery ridge
A fresh line of Federal infantry soon advanced along the crest and fired, but the Confederates
drove these back.
, with his hat on the point of his uplifted saber as a guide, leaped over the stone wall, shouting, ‘Boys, we must use the cold steel.
Who will follow?’
Every man obeyed the call, and the charge reached to the crest of the ridge, to seize the Federal
guns; but there the leader fell, and his men retired behind the stone wall, anxiously awaiting reinforcements.
(now, 1898, Rev. George W. Finley, D. D.
), looking back over the track of Pickett
's bold advance, was surprised to see it marked by so few dead or wounded men. At this critical juncture an unknown voice, from the ranks, called out, ‘Retreat!’
and many turned to flee; most of them to fall under the Federal
fire that followed after them.
The reassured Federals swarmed in from every side and captured the 4,000 Confederates that, unsupported, were still holding the stone fences.
's columns had been moving, for at least a half hour, before Longstreet
, supported by Perry
, to move forward to the support of Pickett
These were only in time to meet the retreating fragments of Pickett
's right and the fierce Federal fire that followed them.
's division, of Hill
's corps, stood ready to advance on Pettigrew
's left, thus extending Pickett
's line in that direction; McLaws
was also ready to move on Wilcox
's right, but Longstreet
gave no orders.
Had these steady veterans become the right and the left arms of Pickett
's famous charge, Lee
would, in all human probability, have not only held what Pickett
won, but would have routed Meade
's right and left from his widely broken center.
, with the calmness of a trained soldier, sat his horse, on Seminary ridge
, amid Alexander
's batteries, and watched the charge and repulse of his heroic veterans.
, of the British
army, writing from the standpoint of an eye-witness, says: ‘General Lee
was perfectly sublime.
He was engaged in rallying and encouraging the broken troops and was riding about a little in front of the wood, quite alone, . . . his face, ’