Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 240
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 240
 
 
  Pickett’s 15,000 had nearly a mile to go across the valley; 1 with banners flying they marched forward “with the steadiness of a dress parade.” Haskell of the Second Corps, against which the charge was directed, wrote: “Every eye could see the enemy’s legions, an overwhelming resistless tide of an ocean of armed men sweeping upon us! Regiment after regiment and brigade after brigade move from the woods and rapidly take their places in the line forming the assault. Pickett’s proud division [5000] with some additional troops hold their right. The first line at short intervals is followed by a second, and that a third succeeds; and columns between support the lines. More than half a mile their front extends; more than a thousand yards the dull gray masses deploy, man touching man, rank pressing rank and line supporting line. The red flags wave, their horsemen gallop up and down; the arms of eighteen thousand men [15,000], barrel and bayonet, gleam in the sun, a sloping forest of flashing steel. Right on they move, as with one soul, in perfect order, without impediment of ditch or wall or stream, over ridge and slope, through orchard and meadow and cornfield, magnificent, grim, irresistible.” 2 The Union artillery, which had been put in entire readiness to check such an onset, “opened fire upon the advancing column at 700 yards and continued until it came to close quarters.” 3 Still the Confederates advanced steadily and coolly. Their artillery had reopened over their heads in an effort to draw the deadly fire directed at them from
 
Note 1. “Longstreet sent forward Pickett’s division of his corps and eight brigades of Hill’s corps, numbering about 14,300 effectives, against about a mile of the Union line, which was held by about 10,100 effectives.”—T. L. Livermore, Milt. Hist. Soc., XIII, 536. [back]
Note 2. Frank Haskell, 113. [back]
Note 3. T. L. Livermore, Milt. Hist. Soc., XIII, 536. The whole distance that the Confederates had to go was about 1400 yards. [back]
 

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