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Bill Thayer

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  This webpage reproduces an appendix to Volume III of
R. E. Lee: A Biography

by Douglas Southall Freeman

published by Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London, 1934

The text, and illustrations except as noted, are in the public domain.

This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

Vol. III
Appendix III-3

The Handling of Anderson's Division on July 2, 1863

After the War between the States, when General Lee hoped to prepare a history of the campaigns of the Army of Northern Virginia, he asked  p555  General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Cadmus M. Wilcox, among others, for copies of his reports. General Wilcox prepared a full copy, which he corrected with his own hand. To his account of Gettysburg Wilcox wrote this interesting addendum, which is attached to the original among General Lee's MS. military papers:

"With reference to this battle of July 2 I beg to state (though too late to do any good) that when I sent my Adjutant General back to the Division commander asking that he send me re-enforcements, that my Adj't Gen'l. returned and reported that General Anderson said, 'Tell Gen'l. Wilcox to hold his own, that things will change'; that he found Gen'l. A. back in the woods which were in rear of the Emmitsburg road several hundred yards in a ravine, his horse tied and all his staff lying on the ground (indifferent) as tho' nothing was going on, horses all tied. I am quite certain that Gen'l. A. never saw a foot of the ground on which his three brigades fought on the 2d July. Mahone and Posey's brigades were not engaged at Gettysburg, had they been pushed forward when I made my request I am certain that the enemy's line would have been pierced. Captain Shannon, Aide to Gen'l. A, told me, that he did (however) go to Gen'l Mahone with an order from Gen'l A. to advance, and that Gen'l Mahone refused to move, stating that Gen'l A. had told him to hold that position, but says the aide, I am just from Gen'l A. and he orders you to advance. No, says Mahone. I have my orders from Genl A. himself to remain here, and did not move.

"After recrossing the Potomac letters appeared in Georgia papers commenting severely on Genl A for not supporting Wright, Wilcox and Perry and that his strongest brigades had not fired a shot. Letters were published by Mahone and Posey, the former quite lengthy, in which he states the orders in Anderson's division to be 'to advance by brigades from the right (when Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McLaws should advance) that is, if the success should warrant it.' I was on Anderson's right and got the order three times during the day, 'to advance when the troops on my right advanced and to report it promptly to the Division commander in order that the other brigades might advance in succession.' I never had any conditional orders, 'if the success should warrant it' but believed that I was required and expected to contribute to the (winning of) success, which I did. I know not what were the orders beyond the Division, but I do know that I received orders three times during the day as stated above, and Genl. Wright informed me that such were his orders. The Florida brigade in good faith advanced with my brigade. I may wrong Genl A, but I always believed that he was too indifferent to his duties at Gettysburg. Wright never liked him afterwards. I really thought that  p556  I should have made some report or complaint against him, but I did not, lest my motives might have been misunderstood, for I had from discontent (whether justly or not it does not matter) on two different occasions asked to be relieved from duty with the Army of Northern Virginia, once in the fall at Culpeper C. H. 1862, and again at Fredericksburg in May 1863."

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