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[127] the two men. They contain statements which are not easily reconciled with the official reports made at the time, and the air of hostility and even arrogance, which is sometimes manifested towards the General commanding in some of his utterances, must be attributed largely to the rancorous feeling which sprang up between himself and some of his old comrades on account of political differences.

When the battle was finally opened by Longstreet at 4 P. M., the veterans of the first corps were not wanting in their old time spirit, and they added renewed lustre to the splendid record which they have always borne. General Longstreet pronounced the battle to be ‘the best three hours fighting ever done by any troops on any battlefield.’

The alignment of the Federal forces was now quite different from what it was in the early morning. The lines were not only extended, but Sickles had swung his right from its first alignment about three-fourths of a mile to the front, with the object of securing high ground on the extension of Seminary Ridge, and his right rested on what is now known as the Peach Orchard. This necessitated a wider movement on the part of the Confederates, but inasmuch as it put Sickles' right in advance of Hancock's left, it made an awkward situation, for which General Sickles has been severely criticised. General Meade says that he had ridden to the extreme left when he discovered Sickles' change of line, and was explaining to him that he was too far in advance, when the shock of McLaws' attacked occurred. Mc-Laws' first object was to get possession of the Peach Orchard where Sickles' right rested. This was accomplished only after a hard fight, and that position was gained and proved valuable for the use of artillery. The marshy ground which lay between the two ridges was the next theatre for a long and protracted struggle, every foot of which was contested. When this ground had been gained, the fences and boulders near the foot of the mountain formed good rallying points for the Federals, and large reinforcements were sent to Sickles' assistance. In the meantime Little Round Top, the importance of which then came to be realized, was occupied with newly arrived troops, and with that stronghold in the occupation of a large force, the Confederate


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