resumed early morning on the 3rd as five Union Batteries opened
fire on the Confederate position on Culp's Hill. Shortly after the
barrage, Johnson's Division renewed its attack
against the Union defenders. Johnson attacked
three times, but each attempt failed to penetrate the Union line.
The Union position had now been reinforced by units from the I
and were virtually impregnable.
Lee had wanted to finish the battle with a
decisive encounter. His plan was to conduct a massive artillery
barrage along the Union line followed by an infantry charge into
the Union center. His plan called for about 160 cannons and 12,000
men to participate in the attack. The attack would take place
under the command of General Longstreet and
involve the men of MG George E. Pickett and BG
James J. Pettigrew.
At approximately 13:00, the Confederate artillery opened fire
all along the Union line, concentrating on the Union Batteries.
The Confederate barrage lasted about 2 hours but did not inflict
significant damage as most of the fire overshot their intended
targets. The Union counter-barraged but held off near the end in
order to conserve against an impending Confederate infantry
Now, about 15:00, the time had come for Longstreet's assault
against the Union center. The Confederate line stretched for
almost one mile and began the march across 1,400 yards of open
ground. The Union Batteries all along the length from Cemetery
Hill to Little Round Top opened fire and managed to open holes in
the advancing line.
Pickett and Pettigrew converged,
the line compacted to focused on the Union position called the
Angle. As the the Confederates neared, the Union units were able
to flank and fire into the approaching line with devastating
results. Still the Confederates came and despite heavy losses and
under the leadership of BG Lewis Armistead, were
able to storm the Angle, capturing several cannons. But, the
Confederate position was exposed and reinforcements were not to
arrive. Soon those that reached the Angle were forced back across
the field in retreat.
Over 50% (almost 5,600) of the men involved in the charge
became casualties. The Union loss is believed to have been around
Earlier in the day, Lee had sent General Stuart
with four brigades of cavalry to attempt to swing around the
Union's right and exploit any successes by the Confederate
infantry. At 15:00, about three miles east of Gettysburg, Stuart
ran into two brigades commanded by BG McGregg.
The battle that followed was one of the largest cavalry
engagements of the war. Both sides attacked and counterattacked
but the battle ended in a draw with Gregg's men holding their
Copyright © 2007 Brian Williams.
Last Modified: 02/10/2007.