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[117] carried into battle, pursued the enemy into the town of Gettysburg, capturing two field pieces and many prisoners. While this was the work of two regiments, a third attacked the forces posted behind a stone fence to the right of the college, which was entirely successful, and made it easy for the remainder of the brigade now coming up to drive the enemy down the opposite slope and across the open field west of Gettysburg. ‘This (he adds) was the last fight of the day. The enemy completely routed and driven from every point, Gettysburg was now completely in our hands.’

Having the town in their power, apparently gratified the ambition of the Confederates, and its possession unfortunately caused them to relax further efforts. A greater military blunder was never committed. It is the more surprising, because by this time General Lee and both his lieutenants, Hill and Ewell, were on the ground. The Union troops driven into the town from different directions were wedged and jammed in the streets, and soon became a disorganized mass. Artillery and ambulances struggling to get through the tangled crowd added to the confusion. Had the fugitives been allowed no pause, and had the Confederates followed close upon their heels the very momentum of the flight, to say nothing of the contagion of panic, would have swept aside every support, and the pursuers could easily have rushed the cemetery and the surrounding heights. As it was, a part of Steinwehr's division, which in responce to urgent calls for aid from Schurz, had been sent into the town to his assistance by Howard, was involved in the retreating mass, and the only remaining troops left upon Cemetery Hill, consisted of a single brigade with some artillery.

Colonel Taylor says, that General Lee witnessed the flight of the Federals through Gettysburg, and up the hills beyond, and he went to Ewell with a message from Lee, that the enemy were seen retreating without organization and in great confusion, and it was only necessary to press them to get possession of the heights, and if possible, he wished it done.

The reason given by General Ewell in his subsequent official reports for failing to press forward, are that he understood the order to be to attack, if he could do so with advantage; that

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