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

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  to watch the effect of our fire upon the enemy, and when it begins to tell he must take the responsibility and give you orders, for I can’t.’” 1  25   Alexander had confidence in the attack because Lee had ordered it, although he shrank from the responsibility now thrust upon him; yet, having seen Pickett and found him cheerful and sanguine, he played his part. And when he dared wait no longer he sent a note to Pickett, who was still with Longstreet: “For God’s sake come quick. Come quick or my ammunition will not let me support you properly.” Pickett read it, handed it to Longstreet and asked, Shall I obey and go forward? Longstreet, so Pickett wrote, “looked at me for a moment, then held out his hand. Presently clasping his other hand over mine, without speaking, he bowed his head upon his breast. I shall never forget the look in his face nor the clasp of his hand when I said, ‘Then, General, I shall lead my division on.’” 2  26   “My brave boys,” wrote Pickett, “were full of hope and confident of victory as I led them forth, forming them in column of attack [at about 3:15] though officers and men alike knew what was before them.… Over on Cemetery Ridge the Federals beheld … an army forming in line of battle in full view, under their very eyes.” 3 Hancock, who expected the attack and was prepared to meet it, wrote in his report, The enemy’s “lines were formed with a precision and steadiness that extorted the admiration of the witnesses of that memorable scene.” 4  27
Note 1. Pickett’s Letters, 98. [back]
Note 2. Pickett’s Letters, 98. I have made up this account from Pickett’s letter of July 4 and Alexander’s recollections, which differ slightly from Longstreet’s report of July 27. Alexander (423) sent two notes to Pickett. I have used the second as fitting better Pickett’s account. [back]
Note 3. Pickett’s Letters, 99, 100. [back]
Note 4. O. R., XXVII, Pt. I, 373. [back]