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Chapter 3 Thursday, July 2, 1863 The fighting on July 1 was over by late afternoon and the limited window of opportunity to attack Cemetery Hill closed, but units continued to march toward Gettysburg and move into position. Before sunset, which was at 7:41 p.m., Rodes’s Division and Early’s Division took up positions in and to the east of Gettysburg. Half an hour later, as twilight turned to darkness , Johnson’s Division arrived and formed the east-most part of Ewell’s line. These three divisions formed the east-west segment of the Confederate position. In Hill’s Corps, Pender’s Division began the north-south portion of the position. Pender positioned his brigades from the Hagerstown (Fairfield) Road south along Seminary Ridge. This placed Pender’s and Rodes’s Divisions at a right angle with each other. The other two divisions of Hill’s Corps remained behind Pender. The next morning these two divisions moved forward. Heth’s Division went into a reserve position behind Pender’s. Anderson’s Division angled to the southeast, went into position on Pender’s right, and extended the Confederate line south along Seminary Ridge. Farther west, two of Longstreet’s divisions commenced moving toward Gettysburg on the Chambersburg Pike.1 The Army of the Potomac was also in motion. Before dark on Wednesday , the Twelfth Corps and part of the Third Corps joined the First and Eleventh Corps at Gettysburg. Early the next morning the remainder of the Third Corps, the Second and Fifth Corps, and the Artillery Reserve arrived. By mid-morning Meade’s position was formed into the famous fishhook . Meade’s last corps, the Sixth, arrived in the late afternoon.2 50 Thursday, July 2, 1863 Lee Decides to Continue the Offense and Attack the Union Left On July 2 Lee was confronted with the problem facing any commander who had just fought a surprise meeting engagement. Basically he had three options : attack, defend, or break contact (move away) and resume battle at a different location. Lee did not believe he could afford to remain in a defensive position east of South Mountain, waiting for the Army of the Potomac to attack him. His reasoning went to the availability of subsistence for his army and his concern for the security of the few mountain passes that led back into the Cumberland Valley. Lieutenant General James Longstreet offered Lee another course of action, which was a combination of two options: move away from the Union Army and reposition for defense at a different location, which would force Meade to attack.3 Graduating from West Point in 1842, Longstreet served in the Mexican War and on the western frontier before resigning in June 1861 and receiving an appointment as a brigadier general in the Confederate Army. In October 1861 he was promoted to major general and in October 1862 to lieutenant general. Except for Chancellorsville, he had participated in every major battle of the Army of Northern Virginia.4 Longstreet’s experiences, especially at Fredericksburg, led him to the conclusion that the tactical defense had advantages over the tactical offense. He had personally seen how the increased range and accuracy of the rifled musket and cannon, especially when protected by a fold in the ground, a sunken road, a wall, or breastworks, gave the defenders a decided advantage.5 An attacking infantry force coming into view at a thousand yards required approximately thirteen to sixteen minutes to close to hand-to-hand range with the defending force. In rough terrain the attacker would move slower and increase the exposure Lieutenant General James Longstreet. National Archives. Thursday, July 2, 1863 51 time. Marching at quick-time, it would take the attacker twelve to fifteen minutes to move from one thousand to one hundred yards from the defenders . The last one hundred yards would be crossed in one minute as the attacker went to double quick-time. The exposure time would be increased if the attacking infantry stopped to fire at the defenders. During these thirteen to sixteen minutes of exposure, the attackers would constantly be under artillery fire from one thousand yards to the defender’s position. In the last one hundred yards, they would be under fire from the defending infantry. During this exposure time one cannon as a minimum could fire thirteen rounds and one infantryman three rounds. A defending infantry regiment of three hundred to four hundred soldiers would fire nine hundred to twelve hundred rounds...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781572337886
Related ISBN
9781572337459
MARC Record
OCLC
721194568
Pages
216
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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