James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

Page 237

    In the early morning of July 3, there was fighting on the Union right. “At it again,” wrote Meade to his wife, “with what result remains to be seen. Army in fine spirits and everyone determined to do or die.” 1 On the other side, after Lee and Longstreet had made a reconnaissance of the Union position, Lee said that he was going to attack the enemy’s centre. “Great God,” said Longstreet, “Look, General Lee, at the insurmountable difficulties between our line and that of the Yankees—the steep hills, the tiers of artillery, the fences, the heavy skirmish line—and then we’ll have to fight our infantry against their batteries. Look at the ground we’ll have to charge over, nearly a mile of that open ground there under the rain of their canister and shrapnel.” “The enemy is there, General Longstreet, and I am going to strike him,” said Lee in his quiet, determined voice. 2  23   All the events of the past month—invasion and answering manœuvre, marching and countermarching, the fighting of two days—were the prelude to a critical episode; three or four terrible hours were now imminent which should go far toward deciding the issue of the war. “From 11 A.M. until 1 P.M. there was an ominous stillness.” 3 Suddenly from the Confederate side came the reports of two signal guns in quick succession. A bombardment from one hundred and fifty cannon commenced and was replied to by eighty guns 4 of the Union Army whose convex line, advantageous in other respects, did not admit of their bringing into action a large part of their artillery. The Confederate fire was chiefly concentrated upon the Second Corps where Hancock had resumed command. It was, he
Note 1. General Meade, II, 103. [back]
Note 2. Letter of July 3, Pickett’s Letters, 94. [back]
Note 3. Hancock, O. R., XXVII, Pt. I, 372. [back]
Note 4. T. L. Livermore, Milt. Hist. Soc., XIII, 536. [back]