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 Posted: Tue Jul 26th, 2011 05:15 pm
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norbay1
Norbay1
 

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The Confederates often did such things as save artillery ammunition for use against infantry.Thus the Federals did so to save them for the Pickett charge. This was an unusual tactic by the Federals. This was a very short window of opportunity for Pickett. Longstreet delayed his order to Pickett to charge, knowing of the impending slaughter which was to occur. Brig. General E. Porter Alexander C.S.A. (artillery commander) was very anxious during this short artillery interval that he wrote Pickett " For God's sake, come quick. The 18 guns are gone; come quick, or my ammunition won't let me support you properly." Picket took this note to Longstreet, Longstreet read it, knowing it had to be, but unwilling to give the word, turned his face away. Pickett saluted and said,"I am willing to move forward, sir," galloped off to his division and immediately put it in motion.

Longstreet, leaving his staff, came out alone to where Alexander was. It was then about 1:40 P.M. Alexander explained the situation, feeling more than hopeful but afraid the artillery ammunition might not hold out for all that he would want. Longstreet said, "Stop Pickett immediately and replenish your ammunition." Alexander explained that it would take too long and the enemy would recover from the effect of the Confederate fire was then having, and moreover, very little to replenish with. Longstreet said, " I don't want to make this attack. I would stop it now but General Lee ordered it and expects it to go on. I don't see how it can succeed."

Alexander listened, but did not dare offer a word. The battle was lost if the Confederates stopped. Ammunition was far too low to try anything else for they had been fighting three days. There was a chance, and it was not Alexander's part to interfere. While Longstreet was still speaking, Pickett's division swept out of the wood and showed the full length of its gray ranks and shining bayonets, as grand a sight as ever a man looked on. Joining it on the left, Pettigrew stretched farther than all could see. General Dick Garnett, just out of the sick ambulance, and buttoned up in an old blue overcoat,riding at the head of his brigade passed and saluted Longstreet.

Reference: The Great Charge And Artillery Fighting At Gettysburg. By E. Porter Alexander, Brig Gen., C.S.A.
Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Volume Three - Grant -Lee Edition Part 1 Copyright, 1884, 1888 By The Century Co.

Last edited on Tue Jul 26th, 2011 05:25 pm by norbay1

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