Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Gettysburg – Cemetery Ridge and Culp's Hill

The division to the left of McLaws was that of Major General Richard Anderson of A. P. Hill's Third Corps. He was to attack in support of Longstreet. His line set out with a cheer about 6 pm. Anderson's men were helped in their attack by Barksdale's charge, which struck the Federals they were facing in the flank. The Union division Anderson struck was able to hold together, although it was forced to fall back and give up several cannon. But Anderson's attack stalled. It was getting dark, the air was filled with smoke, and no troops were sent forward to help push forward the attack. But one brigade did gain very noteworthy success. Ambrose Wright reported that he had gained the top of Cemetery Ridge, and held it for some time before behind forced off for lack of reinforcements. This success may have convinced Lee to order Pickett's Charge the next day.

As these attacks were going on along the Confederate right an attack was also being made on the left, against Culp's Hill. It was intended as a diversion to keep Federal forces pinned down. There had been constant skirmishing throughout the day, but the lines did not move forward until it was nearly dark. The Union right was in great peril, as a 1/2 mile of ground was held by only one brigade, the rest having been pulled out to bolster other sections of the line. But unusually for this period of the war, they had built entrenchments and when the division of Edward "Allegheny" Johnston attacked, they were able to make a good defense. The rebels charged forward through the darkness, and halted within 100 yards of the Federals to exchange fire with them. The Confederates gained some success and captured portions of the Federals breastworks, but Union reinforcements were rushed to the area, and the battle ended in the darkness, with the Confederates retaining a portion of the Union works.
Attack on Culp's Hill


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