Chapter28: Gettysburg-Third day.
- The stroke of arms that shook the continent -- Longstreet opposed the attack as planned and made -- the Confederate column of assault -- it was weak in numbers but strong in spirit -- tremendous artillery combat begins the day's fighting -- charge of Generals Pickett, Trimble, and Pettigrew -- Armistead falls by the side of the Federal guns -- the Federal cavalry charge of General Farnsworth -- the commander falls with five mortal wounds -- could the assaulting column have been safely augmented from Longstreet's right? -- testimony as to that point -- where rested the responsibility for disaster? -- criticism of the battle as a whole -- Cemetery Hill stronger than Marye's Hill at Fredericksburg -- Controverted points -- casualties of the three days fight -- organization of the forces engaged.
General Lee has reported of arrangements for the day,--
The general plan was unchanged. Longstreet, reinforced by Pickett's three brigades, which arrived near the battle-field during the afternoon of the 2d, was ordered to attack the next morning, and General Ewell was ordered to attack the enemy's right at the same time. The latter during the night reinforced General Johnson with two brigades from Rodes's and one from Early's division. 1This is disingenuous. He did not give or send me orders for the morning of the third day, nor did he reinforce me by Pickett's brigades for morning attack. As his Headquarters were about four miles from the command, I did not ride over, but sent, to report the work of the second day. In the absence of orders, I had scouting parties out during the night in search of a way by which we might strike the enemy's left, and push it down towards his centre. I found a way that gave some promise of results, and was about to move the command, when he rode  over after sunrise and gave his orders. His plan was to assault the enemy's left centre by a column to be composed of McLaws's and Hood's divisions reinforced by Pickett's brigades.2 I thought that it would not do; that the point had been fully tested the day before, by more men, when all were fresh; that the enemy was there looking for us, as we heard him during the night putting up his defences; that the divisions of McLaws and Hood were holding a mile along the right of my line against twenty thousand men, who would follow their withdrawal, strike the flank of the assaulting column, crush it, and get on our rear towards the Potomac River; that thirty thousand men was the minimum of force necessary for the work; that even such force would need close co-operation on other parts of the line; that the column as he proposed to organize it would have only about thirteen thousand men (the divisions having lost a third of their numbers the day before); that the column would have to march a mile under concentrating battery fire, and a thousand yards under long-range musketry; that the conditions were different from those in the days of Napoleon, when field batteries had a range of six hundred yards and musketry about sixty yards. He said the distance was not more than fourteen hundred yards. General Meade's estimate was a mile or a mile and a half (Captain Long, the guide of the field of Gettysburg in 1888, stated that it was a trifle over a mile). He then concluded that the divisions of McLaws and Hood could remain on the defensive line; that he would reinforce by divisions of the Third Corps and Pickett's brigades, and stated the point to which the march should be directed. I asked the strength of the column. He stated fifteen thousand. Opinion was then expressed that the fifteen thousand men who could make successful  assault over that field had never been arrayed for battle; but he was impatient of listening, and tired of talking, and nothing was left but to proceed. General Alexander was ordered to arrange the batteries of the front of the First and Third Corps, those of the Second were supposed to be in position; Colonel Walton was ordered to see that the batteries of the First were supplied with ammunition, and to prepare to give the signal-guns for the opening combat. The infantry of the Third Corps to be assigned were Heth's and Pettigrew's divisions and Wilcox's brigade. At the time of the conversation and arrangement of the assault by the Confederate right, artillery fire was heard on our extreme left. It seems that General Lee had sent orders to General Ewell to renew his battle in the morning, which was intended, and directed, as a co-operation of the attack he intended to order on his right, but General Ruger, anticipating, opened his batteries against Ewell at daylight. The Union divisions-Ruger's and Gary's were on broken lines, open towards the trenches held by the Confederates, so that assault by our line would expose the force to fire from the enemy's other line. Ruger had occupied the trenches left vacant on his right, and Gary reached to his left under Greene, who held his line against the attack of the day before. It seems that the Confederates failed to bring artillery up to their trenches, and must make their fight with infantry, while on the Union side there were some fifteen or twenty guns playing, and many more at hand if needed. As the Union batteries opened, Johnson advanced and assaulted the enemy's works on his right towards the centre and the adjacent front of the new line, and held to that attack with resolution, putting in fresh troops to help it from time to time. Ruger put two regiments forward to feel the way towards Johnson's left. They got into hot engagement and were repulsed; Johnson tried to follow, but was  in turn forced back. He renewed his main attack again, but unsuccessfully, and finally drew back to the trenches. Ruger threw a regiment forward from his left which gained the stone wall; his division was then advanced, and it recovered the entire line of trenches. While this contention was in progress the troops ordered for the column of assault were marching and finding positions under the crest of the ridge, where they could be covered during the artillery combat. Alexander put a battery of nine guns under the ridge and out of the enemy's fire to be used with the assaulting column. General Lee said that the attack of his right was not made as early as expected,--which he should not have said. He knew that I did not believe that success was possible; that care and time should be taken to give the troops the benefit of positions and the grounds; and he should have put an officer in charge who had more confidence in his plan. Two-thirds of the troops were of other commands, and there was no reason for putting the assaulting forces under my charge. He had confidence in General Early, who advised in favor of that end of the line for battle. Knowing my want of confidence, he should have given the benefit of his presence and his assistance in getting the troops up, posting them, and arranging the batteries; but he gave no orders or suggestions after his early designation of the point for which the column should march. Fitzhugh Lee claims evidence that General Lee did not even appear on that part of the field while the troops were being assigned to position. As the commands reported, Pickett was assigned on the right, Kemper's and Garnett's brigades to be supported by Armistead's; Wilcox's brigade of the Third Corps in echelon and guarding Pickett's right; Pettigrew's division on Pickett's left, supported by the brigades of Scales and Lane, under command of General Trimble. The brigades of Pettigrew's division were Archer's,