previous next

6% of the text is displayed below. If you wish to view the entire text, please click here


Leading Confederates on the battle of Gettysburg.

We continue to give papers bearing on this great battle written by men who participated in it.

A few of our readers may weary of the discussion, but we have assurances from every quarter that this series is of deep interest, and of the highest historic value.

We take pleasure in giving the following from a gallant soldier who led gallant troops from the gallant Old North State :

Letter from General James H. Lane.

Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College, Blacksburg, October 20, 1877.
Rev. J. Wm. Jones, Secretary Southern Historical Society, Richmond, Va.:
My dear sir: As great injustice has been done my gallant old brigade of North Carolinians in all the published accounts of the battle of Gettysburg that I have seen, and as you are now publishing in the Southern Historical Society Papers the brigade-reports of that great battle, I hope you will also publish mine, which I herewith enclose. I am sure the pnblic will consider this official paper, written about a month after the battle, a more valuable historical document than the many recent articles written from memory, which is at all times treacherous, and, as every Confederate soldier knows, particularly so as regards the incidents, &c., of our heroic struggle for independence. For instance, General Heth, in his letter in the October No., 1877,Jof the Southern Historical Society Papers, in speaking of the fight of the 3d of July at Gettysburg, makes General Lee say, “I shall ever believe if General Pender had remained on his horse half an hour longer we would have carried the enemy's position,” when the facts are, General Pender was mortally wounded on the right of his line by an artillery shot on the afternoon of the 2d of July, and was taken to the rear, where he was on the 3d of July, and could not even mount his horse. Surely General Heth could not have read the report of General A. P. Hill in the November No., 1876, of the Southern Historical Society Papers, in which he says: “On the morning of the 3d the divisions of my corps occupied the same positions as on the 2d. ... I was directed to hold my line with Anderson's division and the half of Pender's, now commanded by Gen. Lane, and to order Heth's division, commanded by Pettigrew, and Lane's and Scales' brigades, of Pender's division, to report to Lieutenant-General Longstreet, as a support to his [39] corps in the assault on the enemy's lines.” It is also evident that Gen. Heth had not read the report of General Lee, which appeared in the July No., 1876, of the Southern Historical Society Papers, in which he says, in speaking of the fight on the 2d of July: “General Ewell had directed General Rodes to attack in concert with Early, covering his right, and had requested Brigadier-General Lane, then commanding Pender's division, to co-operate on the right of Rodes. ... General Lane was prepared to give the assistance required of him, and so informed General Rodes; but the latter deemed it useless to advance after the failure of Early's attack.” And further: “In this engagement our loss in men and officers was large. Major-Generals Hood and Pender, Brigadier-Generals Jones, Semmes, G. T. Anderson, and Barksdale, and Col. Avery (commanding Hoke's brigade) were wounded, the last two mortally. Generals Pender and Semmes died after their removal to Virginia.”

In his “Memorandum” (August No., 1877, of the Southern Historical Society Papers), Colonel Walter H. Taylor, in speaking of the fight on the 3d of July, says: “Had Hood and McLaws followed or supported Pickett, and Pettigrew and Anderson have been advanced, the design of the Comn manding-General would have been carried out — the world would not be so at a loss to understand what was designed by throwing forward, unsupported, against the enemy's stronghold, so small a portion of the army.” Now I happen to know, as one who had his horse shot under him in that celebrated charge, by the enemy which flanked us on the left, that Pettigrew, with his wouuded hand in a sling, did advance Heth's division, and that very gallantly. After such a declaration, strange to say, Col. Taylor, in his “second paper” (September No., 1877, of the Southern Historical Society Papers), admits that Pettigrew advanced on the left of Pickett, and that he witnessed it. I suppose he was at the time on the left of the assaulting column with General Lee, who, he states, “finally took position about the Confederate centre, on an elevated point, from which he could survey the field and watch the result of the movement.” The Colonel states further, that from that position to the left, “to one who observed the charge, it appeared that Pettigrew's line was not a continuation of that of Pickett's, but that it advanced in echelon.” Further on he adds: “The assaulting column really consisted of Pickett's divisiontwo brigades in front, and one in the second line as a support, with the brigade of Wilcox in the rear of its right to protect that flank; while Heth's division moved forward on Pickett's left in echelon, or with the alignment so imperfect and so drooping on the left as to appear in echelon, with Lane's and Scales' brigades in rear of its right.” This statement does great injustice to Heth's division, under Pettigrew, as the line was neither drooping nor did it move in echelon. Colonel Taylor seems not [40] to have been aware, or to have forgotten that the assaulting column was not formed parallel to the enemy's position, but decidedly oblique to it; according to General Trimble, “Pickett being about three-fourths of a mile and Pettigrew one mile and a quarter from the enemy's line.” From Colonel Taylor's position, then, to the left, the apparent drooping of Pettigrew's line and its apparent echelon advance must, I think, have been the result of his right-oblique view of the charge.

Colonel Taylor is again at fault when he says “the charge was made down a gentle slope, and then up to the enemy's lines, a distance of over half a mile, denuded of forests, and in full sight of the enemy and perfect range of their artillery. These combined causes produced their natural effect upon Pettigrew's division and the brigades supporting itcaused them to falter, and finally retire. Then Pickett's division, continuing the charge, without supports and in sight of the enemy, was not half so formidable or effective as it would have been had trees or hills prevented the enemy from so correctly estimating the strength of the attacking column, and our own troops from experiencing that sense of weakness which the known absence of support necessarily produced. In spite of all this it steadily and gallantly advanced to its allotted task.” Why “

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Gettysburg (Pennsylvania, United States) (50)
Cemetery Hill (Pennsylvania, United States) (10)
Tennessee (Tennessee, United States) (8)
Fredericksburg, Va. (Virginia, United States) (7)
Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania, United States) (6)
Williamsport (Maryland, United States) (5)
Washington, Ga. (Georgia, United States) (5)
Seminary Ridge (Pennsylvania, United States) (5)
Chambersburg, Pa. (Pennsylvania, United States) (5)
Vicksburg (Mississippi, United States) (4)
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (4)
Cashtown (Pennsylvania, United States) (4)
Africa (Pennsylvania, United States) (4)
South Mountain (Pennsylvania, United States) (3)
Richmond (Virginia, United States) (3)
Harrisburg, Pa. (Pennsylvania, United States) (3)
Hagerstown (Maryland, United States) (3)
Fairfield, Pa. (Pennsylvania, United States) (3)
Emmetsburg (Iowa, United States) (3)
Culpeper, Va. (Virginia, United States) (3)
Baltimore, Md. (Maryland, United States) (3)
York, Pa. (Pennsylvania, United States) (2)
Tullahoma (Tennessee, United States) (2)
Suffolk, Va. (Virginia, United States) (2)
Mississippi (Mississippi, United States) (2)
Maryland (Maryland, United States) (2)
Kentucky (Kentucky, United States) (2)
Jackson (Mississippi, United States) (2)
Georgetown (West Virginia, United States) (2)
Cemetery Ridge (Mississippi, United States) (2)
Carlisle, Pa. (Pennsylvania, United States) (2)
Brandy Station (Virginia, United States) (2)
Westminster (Maryland, United States) (1)
Virginia (Virginia, United States) (1)
Sharpsburg (Maryland, United States) (1)
Seminary hill (Washington, United States) (1)
Rocky Hill, Ky. (Kentucky, United States) (1)
Ohio (Ohio, United States) (1)
North Carolina (North Carolina, United States) (1)
Norfolk (Virginia, United States) (1)
New Orleans (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Napoleon (Ohio, United States) (1)
Louisiana (Louisiana, United States) (1)
Harrisburg (Texas, United States) (1)
Gordonsville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Gainesville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Frederick, Md. (Maryland, United States) (1)
Falling Waters (West Virginia, United States) (1)
England (United Kingdom) (1)
Columbus (Georgia, United States) (1)
Cincinnati (Ohio, United States) (1)
Chancellorsville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Blacksburg (Virginia, United States) (1)
Big Island (Virginia, United States) (1)
Berryville (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Fitzhugh Lee (118)
Ewell (55)
Pickett (54)
James Longstreet (31)
A. P. Hill (25)
E. P. Alexander (24)
Gederal Meade (22)
Hood (22)
J. B. Walton (20)
McLaws (20)
J. Longstreet (20)
Pettigrew (19)
Heth (18)
Pender (17)
Generat Stuart (14)
James H. Lane (14)
Andrew Johnson (14)
R. E. Lee (11)
Rodes (9)
William N. Pendleton (9)
R. H. Anderson (9)
Trimble (8)
Round Top (8)
Walter H. Taylor (8)
Wilcox (7)
Hays (7)
J. A. Early (7)
Thomas (6)
J. E. B. Stuart (6)
Alfred M. Scales (6)
Rosecranz (6)
Charles S. Venable (5)
Lowrance (5)
Grant (5)
Robert Early (5)
Avery (5)
W. H. Taylor (4)
G. M. Sorrell (4)
Seddon (4)
Perrin (4)
William Preston Johnston (4)
G. T. Anderson (4)
Wright (3)
G. M. Sorrel (3)
Sickles (3)
Raphael Semmes (3)
W. M. Owen (3)
Charles Marshall (3)
J. William Jones (3)
Charles E. Hooker (3)
Winfield Hancock (3)
Geary (3)
J. S. D. Cullen (3)
Crowell (3)
W. D. Whiting (2)
T. T. Turner (2)
A. L. Long (2)
Robert E. Lee (2)
Laws (2)
Freemantle (2)
B. F. Eshleman (2)
Barry (2)
Barksdale (2)
Barbour (2)
Archer (2)
W. W. Wood (1)
Wofford (1)
Wharton (1)
Washington (1)
R. Lindsay Walker (1)
Thompson (1)
Starke (1)
Speer (1)
Kirby Smith (1)
Sedgwick (1)
Royster (1)
Ross (1)
E. W. Robertson (1)
Reynolds (1)
Whitelaw Reid (1)
Randle (1)
Ramseur (1)
Posey (1)
Picket (1)
Perry (1)
W. N. Pendleton (1)
Pemberton (1)
Willie Pegram (1)
Norwood (1)
W. T. Nicholson (1)
Morrow (1)
Mitchell (1)
Miller (1)
W. N. Michle (1)
Meades (1)
McLaw (1)
McGowan (1)
Dabney H. Maury (1)
Marmont (1)
Mahone (1)
Lowe (1)
Lonstreet (1)
A. B. Longstreet (1)
James Longsteet (1)
Linebarger (1)
Law (1)
Osman Latrobe (1)
Oscar Lane (1)
Brigadier-Gereral J. B. Kershaw (1)
A. R. Joyce (1)
Stonewall Jackson (1)
Iill (1)
A. A. Humphreys (1)
Humphrey (1)
Hudson (1)
Hoke (1)
Hist (1)
Burton N. Harrison (1)
H. R. Harris (1)
Halleck (1)
T. J. Gorie (1)
Gibbon (1)
Garnett (1)
R. S. Folger (1)
Fairfax (1)
Joseph A. Engelhard (1)
Jonathan P. Elms (1)
V. Crutchfield (1)
Corley (1)
Burnside (1)
N. Brown (1)
Bragg (1)
H. L. Benning (1)
Napier Bartlett (1)
George E. Barringer (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: