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[262] that very nearly the whole of the Federal army was engaged in repelling it. After a review, therefore, of the whole situation, and a careful reading of everything that has been published since the appearance of my first article, I am confirmed in the opinion then expressed that my troops did, on that afternoon, “the best three hours fighting ever done by any troops on any field.”

In my general narrative I did not give a detailed criticism or account of the tactical movements of the 2d for two reasons: First, my newspaper friends admonished me that my article had grown quite long, and that it was already clear enough to satisfy the most skeptical mind; second, I thought that my allusions to time, cause, and effect, would arrest the attention of those who had misconceived and therefore misrepresented them, and that they would hasten to make proper explanation and corrections. I find their minds, however, so filled with prejudice and preconceived opinions, that it seems imperative I should explain the relations of our tactical moves on the 2d, and force a confession from even their reluctant mouths. Having demonstrated beyond cavil in my first article that General Lee never ordered a sunrise attack, that he never expected one, and that it was physically impossible to have made one, I shall now show that even if one had been made it could not have bettered the result that was achieved by the afternoon attack. It will be proved that the battle made by my men could not have been so improved, in plan or execution, as to have won the day. The only amendment that would have ensued, or even promised victory, was for Ewell to have marched in upon the enemy's right when it was guarded by a single brigade, run over their works, and fall upon their rear while I engaged them in front, and while Hill lay in a threatening position in their centre. Had this co-operative movement been made, the battle would, in all probability, have been ours. As it was, no disposition of the men under my charge, no change in the time or method or spirit of the assault, could have changed the result for the better.

Let us briefly review the situation on the morning of the 2d. During the night of the 1st General Sickles rested with the Third corps upon the ground lying between General Hancock's left and Round Top, General Geary's division of the Twelfth corps occupying part of the same line. General Meade had given General Sickles orders to occupy Round Top if it were practicable; and in reply to his question as to what sort of position it was, General Sickles had answered, “There is no position there.” At the first signs of activity in our ranks on the 2d General Sickles became apprehensive that we were about to attack him, and so reported to General Meade. As our move progressed his apprehensions were confirmed, and being uneasy at the position in which his troops had been left, and certain that he was about to receive battle, he determined to seize the vantage ground in front of the peach orchard. Without awaiting for orders, he pushed forward and took the position desired. Meanwhile the reports made to General Meade drew his attention to our part of the field, and finally he rode out just in time to see the battle open. It will be seen, therefore, that General Sickles' move, and all the movements of the Federal left, were simply sequents of mine. They would have followed my


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