Pickett’s Division during the Gettysburg campaign
 
  With the 150th Gettysburg anniversary fast approaching, I thought it would be beneficial to have an understanding of the role played by Pickett’s Division leading up to the battle. The following is a chronological reconstruction of events, in hopes of gaining an appreciation for the hardships endured by the Division during the invasion of Pennsylvania that collimated on July 1st to 3rd in Gettysburg. 
 
  Starting the chronology of events at the end of May 1863 would be the most relevant for our purpose as prior to that, General Robert E. Lee was still in the process of gaining approval from President Jefferson Davis to go on the offensive. Longstreet’s Corps had also not participated in the battle of Chancellorsville (May 1-5). The corps had been detached from the Army of Northern Virginia (ANV) to take part in the tidewater campaign from February until early May. That campaign resulted in a siege of Suffolk that collimated in a battle from April 13th to 15th. Longstreet abandoned the siege after being recalled to the ANV on May 3rd. In the wake of Chancellorsville, Longstreet’s Corps was assigned to guard the northern approaches to Richmond, where they remained until the start of Lee’s second invasion of the north or, the Pennsylvania Campaign. The first indication the Federal Army had that Lee may be planning something was reported to General Hooker on May 27th; that Hood’s and Pickett’s divisions had rejoined Longstreet and were moving west. 
 
May 30th: General Lee reorganizes the ANV into three corps to be commanded by Longstreet, Ewell and A.P. Hill.   
 
June 2nd: Lee has assurances from Longstreet that most of Pickett’s Division, which had been stationed at Hanover Junction, would be available to follow him on the invasion of Pennsylvania. Corse’s Brigade however, would remain at Hanover to protect Richmond. 
 
June 3rd: Lee moves his headquarters from Fredericksburg to Culpeper with McLaws’ Division of Longstreet’s Corps in the vanguard. 
 
June 8th: Lee, with Longstreet’s and Ewell’s Corps arrive in Culpeper. Lee would consolidate the Army in the surrounding area in preparation for the coming invasion. 
 
June 9th: Hooker orders Pleasonton’s Cavalry across the Rappahannock to ascertain the movements of Lee’s Army. He encounters J.E.B. Stuart’s Cavalry and the battle of Brandy Station ensues. The Confederates narrowly defeat and drive off the Federal forces. Longstreet’s Corps was not engaged. 
 
June 15th: Lee orders Longstreet to the mountains and he begins moving his corps northwest from Culpeper, to Ashby’s and Snicker’s Gaps. 
 
June 17th: Longstreet’s Corps occupies Ashby’s (Hood and Pickett) and Snicker’s Gap (McLaws). Veteran’s reported that the march was harsh due to excessive heat and a lack of water. 
June 18th: Lee reroutes Hood’s Division from Shepardstown to Snicker’s Gap. Temperatures drop at Ashby’s Gap and the soldiers of Pickett’s Division are pelted by hail and sleet, shivering throughout the night.
 
June 21st: Pleasonton’s Federal Cavalry and Vincent’s Infantry Brigade attack Stuart’s five brigades of cavalry and drive them through Upperville into Ashby’s Gap. This caused Lee to order McLaws’ Division to countermarch south to hold the gap. 
 
June 22nd: Lee withdraws Longstreet’s Corps from the mountains west of the Shenandoah to move northward. 
 
June 24th: Longstreet starts toward Williamsport at dawn with Pickett’s Division and the Corps Artillery in the lead, followed by Hood’s and McLaws’ divisions.
 
June 25th: After a long march by way of Berryville and Martinsburg, Pickett’s Division and the artillery cross the Potomac. Corse’s Brigade is released to join Pickett. 
 
June 26th: Hood’s and McLaws’ Divisions cross the Potomac.
 
June 27th: Longstreet’s and Hill’s Corps concentrate their forces at Chambersburg. In Washington, President Lincoln relieves Hooker from command of the Army of the Potomac and appoints George Meade as his replacement.   
 
June 28th: Lee had planned on taking Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania but changes his plans upon learning that the Federals had crossed the Potomac. He orders Longstreet, Ewell and Hill to march their corps towards Gettysburg and Cashtown to consolidate the army. In Virginia, after reaching Gordonsville, Corse’s Brigade is recalled to Hanover Junction to defend Richmond after a Federal raid in the area. This would leave Pickett’s Division short one brigade for the remainder of the campaign. 
 
June 29th: Longstreet’s Corps (Hood and McLaws) begin to march from Chambersburg towards Gettysburg. Pickett’s Division is left at Chambersburg until Imboden’s Cavalry can relieve them. 
 
June 30th: Longstreet’s Corps camped along the Gettysburg Pike until ordered to proceed towards Cashtown. Hood’s and McLaws’ divisions march at a leisurely rate to Greenwood due to the hot weather. 
 
Gettysburg, July 1st to 3rd
 
July 1st: With Pickett’s Division still in Chambersburg waiting to be relieved by Imboden’s Cavalry and the rest of the corps at Greenwood, Longstreet follows Hill’s Corps as they pursue Federal forces through Gettysburg and retreat to Cemetery Hill. 
  As early as 10:00 AM, Longstreet sent orders for the corps (Hood and McLaws) to leave Greenwood for Gettysburg. The corps was unable to begin movement until 4:00 PM as it had to wait until Johnson’s Division and the 2nd Corps wagon trains had passed. When they started the march, McLaws’ Division preceded Hood’s. Due to the heat they marched at a slow rate through the Cashtown Pass to avoid wearing out the men and draft animals. McLaws’ Division and the Corps Artillery marched for 8 hours covering 12-13 miles arriving at Marsh Creek, four miles west of Gettysburg at midnight. 
 
July 2nd: Hood’s Division arrived at Marsh Creek at approximately 1:00 AM. Upon Imboden’s arrival in Chambersburg, Pickett’s Division received orders at approximately 2:00 AM to proceed to Gettysburg. Later that morning, Hood’s and McLaws’ divisions arrive on the battlefield from Marsh Creek at 8:30 AM. Lee orders Longstreet to attack the Federal positions to the south of Cemetery Ridge with McLaws’ and Hood’s divisions at 11:00 AM. Longstreet requests they delay the assault until Law’s Brigade of Hood’s Division can come up, to which Lee agrees. At 12:00 Hood and McLaws’ divisions begin to move to the right of the line. 
 
  To avoid observation by the enemy, the corps marched south to Blackhorse Tavern where it turned onto a road that branched off the Fairfield Road southeasterly towards Willoughby Run. Upon approaching the field, the column came to a rise that was under observation by the Federals on Little Round Top. To avoid detection they countermarched back to Blackhorse Tavern. They continued north to the western side of Herr Ridge where they began marching through fields towards the east until they again intersected Willoughby Run. Following Willoughby Run southward, they recrossed the Fairfield Road to Pitzer’s Schoolhouse. The detour resulted in the corps marching and countermarching a distance of four miles to make less than one mile of progress, at the costs of several precious hours. 
 
  During this time the Corps Artillery under Col. Alexander, had taken the direct route to the schoolhouse while remaining undetected by the Federals. Once at the schoolhouse, McLaws’ Division turned left toward the Peach Orchard while Hood’s Division continued towards the Emmitsburg Road. At 3:00 PM, Kershaw and McLaws observed a heavy concentration of Federal troops and artillery in the Peach Orchard. Longstreet again had to delay the attack until Hood’s Division could move into position. Hood, who did not agree with his line of attack into the Devil’s Den and Little Round Top, wanted his orders changed to allow him to move around the right of Big Round Top. Longstreet refused as this movement would have further delayed the attack. With the line finally ready the attack commenced at 4:00 PM. The resulting battles of the Peach Orchard, the Wheat Field, Devil’s Den and Little Round Top were as epic as they were brutal, lasting until 7:00 PM with the army withdrawing for the night.  
 
  As the previous events transpired, Pickett’s Division left Chambersburg in the early morning hours of the 2nd. The majority of the march was conducted during the late morning and middle of the day in the oppressive heat. On approaching the Cashtown Gap, one of Pickett’s men later recalled, “The vertical rays of the sun seemed like real lances of steel, tipped with fire.” The broken rock of the Macadamized (paved) surface of the turnpike and the broad flat flagstones of mountain slate reflected the heat until, “Steam rose in their faces and choking dust gathered in their throats and eyes.” Lack of accessible drinking water further conspired to make the march all the more miserable.  
 
  Garnett’s and Armistead’s brigades reached Confederate lines three miles west of Gettysburg in the late afternoon (appx 4:00 PM) and bivouacked near a stone bridge (Sach’s Bridge on Marsh Creek). A Park Service monument in the area states that Kemper’s Brigade arrived at sunset and bivouacked on the western border of Spangler’s Woods. For many, their thirst went unquenched as the wells and pumps in farmers yards along the route had began to run dry through overuse by the soldiers of preceding divisions or, they were bivouacked to distant from brooks or streams in the area. 
 
July 3rd: Pickett’s Division receives orders to move up at 3:30 AM. The division arrives at Seminary Ridge by 7:30 and completes their deployment along the line between 8:00 and 11:00 AM. From 12:15 to 12:30 Col. Alexander confers with Pickett about the planned assault. As instructed by Longstreet, Alexander advises Pickett to advance after the cannonade and seeks his advice on how best to support the troops after they breach the enemy’s lines. Alexander finds Pickett’s mood to be “both cheerful and sanguine.” Longstreet by this time had completed the deployment of troops into the battle line. The troops were placed in the woods to the rear of the artillery in preparation for the coming assault. There, they sought refuge from the heat of the day and rested in the shade as they waited for the batteries to open fire.
  The 1st Corp Artillery under Alexander was formed into an irregular line of approximately 75 guns stretching 4,000 feet between the Peach Orchard, to the northwest corner of Spangler’s Woods. Alexander located himself, “just in the salient angle of the wood” between Spangler’s and Pitzer’s Farms, to best observe and direct the fire of the artillery. To his left, Hill’s 3rd Corps artillery of approximately 60 cannon stood crowded along Seminary Ridge to the southern side of the Fairfield Road. Ewell made available 30 of his 2nd Corps artillery guns, to be placed between Oak Hill and Seminary Ridge to further support the assault. It is estimated that these batteries along with those of the reserve artillery, resulted in 170 guns available for the cannonade.  
 
  After finalizing preparations for the attack, Longstreet escorted Pickett to a vantage point on the ridge to show him a place to shelter his men, the direction of his advance and the object of his attack, the clump of trees at the angle in the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge. Longstreet directed Pickett to place two of his brigades in the front line. Kemper’s Brigade would take position on the right, with Garnett’s on the left to act as guide for the brigades of Heth’s Division, commanded by Pettigrew and Pender’s Division being commanded by Trimble on their left. Armistead’s Brigade was to take a supporting position in the second line to the rear and center of Garnett and Kemper. 
 
  Pettigrew sent Col. Fry who was temporarily commanding Archer’s Brigade, to see Pickett to come to an understanding as to the dress of the brigades on the advance. Fry rode to Pickett’s headquarters and found him in “excellent spirits.” After reminiscing about storming the fortress at Chapultepec during the Mexican War, Pickett expressed great confidence in “driving the enemy forces from their positions” after they were, “demoralized by the artillery.” Garnett arrived shortly thereafter and they agreed that Garnett’s Brigade would dress on Fry’s which was designated as the center upon which both divisions would be aligned.  
 
  At 1:00 PM Lee gave the order for the batteries to open fire, thus beginning the largest cannonade then known and the prelude to the coming assault. When the Federal artillery responded, many of their shells landed among the Confederate infantry who were well to the rear of their own artillery, waiting to advance. In Pickett’s Division some regiments suffered heavily in killed and wounded from the shelling. One regiment (?) reported it sustained 88 casualties alone. While the brigades of Garnett and Armistead were partially sheltered by the woods, Kemper’s Brigade laid in the open field on the opposite side of the crest. After having to endure the sweltering mid-day sun, Kemper now ordered his men to hug the ground as the Federal barrage inflicted heavy casualties. 
 
  Alexander’s artillery also suffered heavy losses in materiel, horses and men during the exchange. To complicate matters, the 1st Corps ordnance trains which supported the artillery with ammunition, had been ordered to remain well in back of the line to avoid destruction by the enemy’s fire. This resulted in long delays in refilling the chest of batteries as they expended their ammunition. This would greatly impede Alexander’s ability to support the coming assault as he had no way to quickly resupply the long range ammunition so desperately needed by his guns. To further add to his troubles, Alexander had no reserves with which to replace his guns as they were forced to retire or, were destroyed by the Federal’s counter fire.  
 
Pickett’s Charge
 
  The artillery duel lasted for nearly two hours before orders were given to commence the assault. As his ammunition supply became critical Alexander sent Pickett, whose lines were approximately 1,000 feet to his rear, two notes to inform him of the situation. The first at 1:40 advised him, “If you are to advance at all you must come at once or we will not be able to support you as we ought, but the enemy’s fire has not slackened materially.” When Alexander saw no movement from Pickett’s Division, he sent him the second note fifteen minutes later, upon noticing that some artillery had pulled off Cemetery Ridge resulting in a gap of the Federal line near the clump of trees. He wrote, “For God’s sake come quick! The 18 guns have gone. Come quick or my ammunition will not let me support you properly.” 
  Pickett received Alexander’s first note while he was conferring with Longstreet. Turning the note over to Longstreet, Pickett waited for a response. When Longstreet made no comment Pickett asked, “General, shall I advance?” Longstreet did not answer except to bow his head as he quickly turned to mount his horse. Pickett saluted and replied, “I shall lead my division forward Sir.” He then mounted his horse and galloped off to inform his brigade commanders.  
 
  Longstreet rode to Alexander’s position on the left of the guns to ascertain the condition of the artillery. Alexander explained the situation to Longstreet as Garnett’s Brigade emerged from the woods behind them. Longstreet noted Pickett, “riding gracefully forward.” Behind him were Garnett, Armistead and Kemper, who was leading Longstreet’s old brigade. They watched as Pickett’s Division marched through the batteries of artillery towards the Emmitsburg Road in quick time, accompanied by the division band, “who played as if on parade.” 
  The time was now 3:00 PM as the men of Hancock’s Federal 2nd Corps observed a long gray line suddenly emerge from the opposing woods on Seminary Ridge, three-quarters of a mile away. These were likely Pettigrew’s men as Pickett’s Division was too far to the left for them to see at that distance. Pettigrew’s line centered on the clump of trees and in general went straight ahead to the Federal line, bearing only slightly to the right. Pickett’s line, while initially closer to the Federals, had to advance farther than the North Carolinians’ as it had to execute a series of oblique movements to the left in order to converge on the clump of trees. 
 
  As Pickett’s Division began to emerge along the rise behind the Emmitsburg Road it started to receive enfilading fire from Federal artillery located on the lower end of Cemetery Ridge and Little Round Top. The Federal fire impacted the Confederate line with fearful effect as shells tore through the ranks of Pickett's men. As men fell the ranks would close the gaps left by their fallen comrades and press forward, leaving the dead and wounded in its wake. After crossing fences on both sides of the Emmitsburg Road, the columns stopped in a slight depression that partially protected them from the enemy’s artillery to rest and re-dress their lines. As they resumed the assault Garnett, followed by Armistead advanced around the left of the Codori farm as Kemper moved to the right as screaming shells continued to cut huge swaths in the lines of the advancing troops.  
 
  After maneuvering around the right of the Codori farm, Kemper’s Brigade was executing a left oblique in order to converge on the salient of the Federal line at the angle. Seeing that Confederate lines were converging on the angle in the stone wall, General Hancock rode to the left of the Federal line to find Gen. Stannard and have the 13th and 16th Vermont regiments of his brigade pivot ninety degrees to their right and fire into Kemper’s right flank. The Vermont regiments fired a succession of volleys, at times at pistol range, into Kemper’s flank exacting a heavy toll on the Virginians in lives and prisoners while threatening to cut them off completely. 
 
  Kemper’s Brigade from left to right during the charge consisted of the 3rd, 7th, 1st, 11th and 24th Virginia Regiments. The 24th Virginia’s position on the right flank of the brigade exposed them to a devastating fire from the Vermonters’ and it incurred heavy losses. During the fighting Kemper rose in his saddle (yes he was mounted) to urge the men forward shouting, “There are the guns boys, go for them!” He was shot shortly thereafter falling from his mount, the bullet passing through his abdomen and thigh. His wounding in all likelihood resulted from the Vermont regiments fire into the brigades’ right flank while they were marching in the oblique. Kemper was initially captured by Federal troops but was rescued by Sergeant Leigh Blanton of the 1st Virginia Infantry and carried back to Confederate lines. 
 
  Longstreet sent his chief of staff LtCol. Sorrell forward to find Pickett and advise him to watch his right flank. Sorrell instead found Garnett and Armistead well on their way towards the Federal line. While Pickett’s exact location on the field is unknown and highly debated, it is likely he stayed in the vicinity of the Codori farm to half the distance to Cemetery Ridge, where he could best observe the movements of his brigades and coordinate with those of Pettigrew’s. Pickett kept his staff busy during the assault carrying messages to Longstreet for reinforcements, to direct Wilcox to advance his troops to support Kemper’s right flank and to ask Alexander for artillery support. On noticing some of Pettigrew’s division starting to falter, Pickett galloped to the left of the division in an effort to steady the men.
 
  As the advance neared Cemetery Ridge the Federal 2nd Corps artillery faced the same situation as that of their Confederate adversaries, they started to run out of long range ammunition. The men in Garnett’s Brigade on the left of Pickett’s line, later remarked on a noticeable lack of artillery fire on their front until they reached the Federal skirmish line concealed in the tall grass about three hundred feet below the stone wall. Upon reaching that point, the Federal line became ablaze with the fire of thousands of muskets and canister shot from the artillery. One of Pickett’s aides stated that towards the end of the advance Pickett personally gave the order for the division to “double quick” saying, “Boys, give them a cheer!” With this, the Confederates continued up the slope in a fury, breaking into a charge and giving a rebel yell.  
 
  Though greeted by a fierce fire of canister from the Federal artillery and repeated volleys from thousands of muskets, nothing seemed to stop the Confederate advance as they drove relentlessly toward the clump of trees, took their losses and made the stone wall at the Bloody Angle. As Kemper’s Brigade reached the wall, Col. Joseph Mayo Jr. of the 3rd Virginia took command and ordered the men to face to the right as they completed their final oblique and charge. The men of the brigade were now intermingled with those of Garnett’s and Armistead’s. Armistead, the only general officer remaining, urged the men to press on. Balancing his hat on the end of his sword he shouted, “Boys, give them the cold steel!” as he led some 150 men over the wall. They received hot lead at point blank range as Federal officers tried to rally their men and maneuver them to repel the assault. Savage combat occurred between the Virginians and the Federal troops just south of the angle.  
 
There was a lull in the fighting as Federal resistance temporarily waned. Remnants of the 24th Virginia were able to breach the stone wall into the Union works with Armistead, causing many demoralized Federals to surrender. Owing to LtCol. Maury’s unexplained absence from the regiment and Maj. Hambrick’s wounding, Capt. William W. Bentley took command of the 24th. Continuing forward, Capt. Bentley and his men were able to overrun at least one of Alonzo Cushing’s Union guns. They were probably in the immediate area when Armistead was mortally wounded. 
 
  Col. Mayo and Capt. Bentley, now bleeding from a wound to the hip, tried to regroup their troops. Before they could rally the men, the Federals renewed their resolve and the unsupported Virginians could no longer maintain their advantage as both flanks came under a fierce counter attack. The fighting was desperate with musket fire exchanged at mere feet, the men fighting with bayonets or, hand to hand until they were forced to retire as the Federals regrouped and swept the men back across the stone wall. Confederates on both sides of the wall succumbed to Federal pressure and were compelled to throw down their arms and were taken prisoner. 
 
Aftermath
 
  Those who could streamed back to their lines, some still defiant and embittered wondering what had happened to their support, convinced that they could have carried the day if only they had been reinforced. Longstreet later stated that it was Pickett who directed the men to give up the attempt to take the heights and retire, when he realized that the assault would not be successful. General Pickett was seen in the midst of his shattered division when the battle was over. One survivor recalled that as Pickett rode off the field, tears rolled down his cheeks as he sobbed to one of his staff, “Taylor, we’ve lost all our friends.” 
 
  The survivors of Pickett's Division, about one tenth of their previous numbers, gathered in the rear of Seminary Ridge. Many were wounded and bathed their wounds in a small creek which others used to quench their burning thirst. General Pickett was still mounted as he talked and mingled about the 300 or 400 men then present, consoling them. In Kemper’s Brigade, the 24th Virginia was one of only two regiments whose colors were not captured at the Bloody Angle as they retired with honor. The color bearer, a tall mountaineer named Charles Belcher, was waving it crying "General, let us go at them again!" as Kemper was carried into the crowd. 
 
  General Lee soon appeared and rode up to General Pickett, who broke into tears as they shook hands. As Lee spoke to Pickett witnesses sensed that he too, felt the repulse and slaughter of the division, whose remains he now viewed. Of the remarks Lee made to Pickett, survivors distinctly recall him say, "General Pickett, your men have done all that men could do, the fault is entirely my own." Lee then turned to Kemper and inquired, "General Kemper, I hope you are not seriously hurt, can I do anything for you?" Kemper thinking his wound mortal looked up and replied, "General Lee, you can do nothing for me, I am mortally wounded but see to it that full justice is done my men who made this charge." To which Lee replied, "I will" and rode off. After Lee’s departure, General Pickett turned to the men saying, "You can go back to the wagons and rest until you are wanted.” At that the men dispersed to tend their wounds, rest and to await orders. 
 
  The losses in Pickett’s Division were heavy. After the cooks, ambulance drivers and other detached men had been put back into the ranks, there were not a thousand riflemen present for duty on July the 4th. Of the total field officers in the fifteen regiments of the division, only one escaped unhurt. Of the brigade commanders, Garnett was killed outright, his body never found. Of the 1,427 officers and men present in his brigade who made the assault, only 486 made it back to Confederate lines. 941 of their comrades lay killed, wounded or missing on the field. Armistead was mortally wounded, to die in a Federal field hospital two days later. The total loss for his brigade is incomplete but the 38th Virginia reported 170 killed and wounded; the 57th Virginia 144 killed, wounded and missing. Kemper was seriously wounded and would not command in the field again. There are no existing records of the losses in his brigade, though heavy.   
 
  After the failed assault, Lee and Longstreet worked quickly to rally the troops and prepare for defense in the event of a Federal counter attack. They were able to reestablish their lines within an hour of being repulsed but the Federals did not come. That night Lee began preparations to evacuate his wounded and for a general retreat if the Federals did not take the offensive the next morning. His first priority was to get the ambulances and wagons well on their way south before the infantry and artillery could start to move. 
 
The Retreat South
 
July 4th: Realizing that the Federals would not attack his positions on Seminary Ridge or around Culp’s Hill, Lee had no recourse but to withdraw, as he knew he could no longer live off the country and defend his army without exhausting his depleted supplies or, have the ability to receive reinforcements to replace his heavy casualties. For the time being, Lee still remained in control of two crucial routes through the mountain passes west of Fairfield and Cashtown by which to retreat. That night he would start to move his infantry via Fairfield, the shortest route to Hagerstown and then Williamsport. The greater part of the wagons and ambulances would go over the Cashtown Road to Greenwood, turn south toward Greencastle and then continue to Williamsport. As Pickett’s Division had been rendered combat ineffective, it was given the distasteful duty of Provost Guard to escort Federal prisoners southward during the retreat.  
 
July 5th: As the last of Lee’s forces leave Gettysburg that morning, Meade orders Sedgwick’s 6th Corps to conduct a reconnaissance of the Confederate retreat to Fairfield. They encountered the rear guard of Ewell’s Corps and unsuccessfully engage Gordon’s Brigade. Meade decides it would be too costly to pursue and engage the Confederates through the mountains and orders his army to march to Middletown and rendezvous the next morning. 
 
July 7th: After the rear guard of his army arrived in Hagerstown, Lee conducted an inspection of the approaches to the Potomac by way of the Williamsport-Hagerstown Pike, looking for suitable positions to defend against the pursuing Federals until the rain swollen waters of the river could be forded.  
 
July 9th: Pickett’s men turn over the Federal prisoners of war they had escorted during the retreat to Imboden’s Cavalry. 
 
July 10th: Pickett’s Division crosses the partially completed pontoon bridge over the Potomac at Falling Waters into Virginia.  
 
July 11th: Lee’s engineers and generals select a defendable line along high ground and the army starts to construct earthworks. The right of the line started at the river near Downsville and the left, a mile and a half southwest of Hagerstown. They also prepared inner defenses at Falling Waters and Williamsport to cover the passages to the river. 
 
July 12th: Confederates complete their fortifications as Meade’s army consolidates to confront them. Meade and his corps commanders plan for a reconnaissance in force against the Confederate positions for the 14th.   
   
July 13th: The Federals skirmish with the well entrenched Confederates in several locations probing their defenses. Seeing that the Federals would not attack his fortified position in mass and had themselves started to entrench, Lee said “That is to long for me, I cannot wait for that.” Then he added, “They have but little courage” and ordered the retreat across the receding waters of the Potomac that night. Longstreet’s and Hill’s Corps along with the artillery, crossed the now completed pontoon bridge at Falling Waters and Ewell’s Corps forded the river at Williamsport.   
 
July 14th: By the time Meade realized the Confederates had departed their works, He ordered a general pursuit at 8:30 AM but it was too late. By 11:00 AM the ANV had crossed the Potomac with the exception of Pender’s Division who was waiting to cross the pontoon bridge and Heth’s Division who was acting as the rear guard of the army. Buford’s and Kilpatrick’s pursuing cavalry divisions engaged Heth’s troops at Falling Waters. The engagement resulted in 700 Confederate losses, most of which were taken prisoner. The most notable casualty being General Pettigrew, who received a mortal wound during the action. Ironically, General Heth whose troops had initiated the battle at Gettysburg on the 1st also fired the last volleys of the campaign at Falling Waters fourteen days later.  
 
Conclusion 
 
  The official return for Pickett’s Division submitted on the 20th of July 1863 stated; there were 348 officers and 3,385 men present, 963 absent (accounted for in hospital or detached) for an aggregate of 4,696. When balanced against the 11,644 total on the division rolls, there were 6,948 unaccounted for or, roughly 60% of the division. It is not know whether this return included Corse’s Brigade that remained in Virginia during the campaign. If so, the percentage of loss of those engaged at Gettysburg would necessarily be greater.   
 
  Kemper was again captured during the retreat from Gettysburg and was later exchanged with other prisoners on September 19th, 1863. Though he survived his wounds, Kemper would not command in the field again. After recovering sufficiently he was put in command of the reserve forces of Virginia on February 7th, 1864. Command of his brigade passed to Col. Joseph Mayo Jr. of the 3rd Virginia in July of 1863. 
 
  Col. William R. Terry of the 24th Virginia took command of the brigade in May of 1864 and was promoted to Brigadier General on June 27th. He held that position until March 31st, 1865 when he was wounded at White Oak/Dinwiddie C.H. 
  
  Capt. William W. Bentley survived his wounds at Gettysburg. At several times throughout the war he had temporarily commanded the 24th Virginia as more senior officers had become disabled and subsequently recovered. Existing records list him as having command of the regiment as early as August of 1864. He attained the rank of Major in February of 1865. After General Terry was wounded on March 31st, Bentley assumed command of the brigade until its surrender at Appomattox Court House. Union parole records state the Bentley surrendered 11 officers and 142 men of the brigade on April 9th 1865. In later years, he served as the honorary commander of Pickett’s Charge during the 50th Anniversary and Reunion at Gettysburg, where he led 500 veterans in a charge against the Bloody Angle.  
 
I remain, your obedient servant,   
 
Pvt. Bryan Beard
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bibliography 
 
The previous article was sourced from the following:
1. Edwin B. Coddington; The Gettysburg Campaign, A Study in Command. Morningside, 1968. This work is a compilation of many primary sources among them the War Department’s, Official Records of the War of the Rebellion and most notably the unpublished work of John B. Bachelder, who arrived in Gettysburg shortly after the battle and remained there for three months interviewing the survivors of both armies who were in the hospitals in and around Gettysburg. He also corresponded with the principals of the battle for the next 30 years, gathering reports and recollections of events. 
2. The dates and timelines of events were further cross referenced for accuracy to, E.B. Long’s; The Civil War Day by Day, an Almanac 1861-1865. Doubleday, 1971. 
3. In addition to the previous, some of the recollections of veteran’s or quotes attributed to primaries came from the following:
a. Col. Joseph Mayo; Three Days at Gettysburg. Southern Historical Society Papers.
b. Charles T. Loher; The Old First Virginia at Gettysburg. Richmond Times Dispatch, Oct 16th, 1904. 
c. Harrison; Pickett’s Men.
d. Shotwell papers; Entry for July 2nd1863, Pickett’s march to Gettysburg.
e. John Dooley; Confederate Soldiers War Journal.   
 

 

 
 
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