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cannot shut our eyes to the fact that the Poles had shown their incapacity to manage their own government ere they were consigned to foreign rule. In our case, however, the civilized nations of the earth have stood aloof and seen a brave and patriotic people politically murdered, while maintaining an unprecedented struggle for the right of self-government, and manifesting at every step their capacity for it, and this, too, when under an assumed neutrality, the resources of men, money, and munitions of war of those very nations were being freely used to consummate the monstrous deed, and thereby give the final blow to a genuine Republican Government even in the United States.
On behalf of my down-trodden country, I make the appeal to those nations that they will not commit the further injustice of receiving the history of this struggle from the mouths and pens of our enemies, but that they shall wait until the time shall come for placing a true history before them. In the meantime, let all my countrymen who were in a condition to know the character of the contest, put in a tangible form, to be preserved for the use of the future historian, such facts and materials for that history as are in their knowledge or possession.
J. A. EARLY, Lieutenant-General, C. S. A.
[From the Richmond Times, April 12, 1896.]
THE FIRST DAY AT GETTYSBURG.
Tribute to Brave General Harry Heth who Opened the Great Battle.
A DESCRIPTION BY AN EYE WITNESS.
Interesting Observations of Jaquelin Marshall Meredith, Chaplain of Heth's Division-His Version of the "Cause of Failure."
To the Editor of the Times:
SIR, I have read with regret the war of words in regard to cause of failure" on the part of the Confederates at the battle of Gettysburg. In the various accounts of the battle, not one has come from an eye-witness of the first day's fight, of July 1, 1863. Not one of these accounts, that I have seen, have done simple justice
to the brave and gallant division of General Harry Heth and its faithful commander, upon whom rested the responsibility of opening the battle. As chaplain of 47th Regiment of Virginia Infantry, Brockenbrough's Brigade, first A. P. Hill's Divison, Jackson's Corps, and afterwards Heth's Division, of A. P. Hill's Corps, I witnessed the events leading to, and the opening of the fight on the morning of July 1st, and the final charge of the remnant of Heth's Division, under Pettigrew, who charged, under Pickett, on the 3d of July, at Cemetery Heights. As no one else has done so, I proceed to give a circumstantial account of the 30th of June and 1st of July, to do justice to a general and division I honor and love. About 2 o'clock P. M., on June 30, 1863, Heth's Division, Hill's Corps, leading the advance of the corps, reached Cashtown and went into bivouac around that village, on the eastern slope of a ridge, the continuance of the Blue Ridge, but here much lower than in Virginia. Dr. E. B. Spence, division surgeon, came to me about 4 o'clock, and requested me to ride forward with him into Gettysburg as he wished to procure some medical supplies. I mounted my horse, and started at once with him, proceeding forward on the pike eastwards, for five miles. I saw no troops moving, but was assured by the Doctor that some of our division were ahead. We reached Gettysburg about 5 o'clock P. M., and tied our horses at the first drug-store, where we had been but a few moments, when we saw a regiment of Confederates (I have since read that it was one of Pettigrew's North Carolina regiments), coming from the eastern part of the town at the quick march. We two non-combatants at once mounted, and joining the colonel at the head of the column, moved steadily back to Cashtown. The colonel was a stranger to me, although I knew Colonel James Marshall and Colonel Burgwin, commanding two of General Pettigrew's regiments. I knew General Pettigrew well, having served under him at the battle of Seven Pines, but I did not see him that evening. The Doctor and I were told that a superior force of the enemy were moving on Gettysburg. We were not followed nor did any Federal cavalry attack, or even show itself in rear or flank during the one hour and a half, to two hours that this regiment took 1 to proceed in orderly march back to Cashtown. So far as we could see at night-fall on the 30th of June, there was no Federal force between Gettysburg and Cashtown. Very early on the morning of July 1st, Heth's Division fell into line, and debouched into the pike, marching towards Gettysburg in the following order, viz: Archer's Brigade of Tennesseans leading; next, Colonel John W. Brocken
brough's Brigade of Virginians; next, Davis' Mississippi Brigade: Fourth, Pettigrew's North Carolina Brigade. Archer's and Brockenbrough's Brigades each numbered 1,000 men, as many men were left on the road in the rapid march of A. P. Hill's Corps to overtake Longstreet, and pass him in Clarke county, Virginia, ours being the corps left to watch Hooker at Fredericksburg.
"" WE MUST FIGHT THEM.'
I was riding with my colonel, Robert M. Mayo, and with Colonel Brockenbrough, commanding brigade, and had reached a point one mile east of Cashtown, when a staff officer of General H. Heth'sI think it was Captain Stockton Heth, the General's brother-rode up to our two colonels, and talked a few moments as we marched along the road. I heard him say: "General Heth is ordered to move on Gettysburg, and fight or not as he wishes." When he rode away I remember Colonel Brockenbrough and Colonel Mayo saying: "We must fight them; no division general will turn back with such orders." We had proceeded very slowly, giving time for the whole division to form in the road and march, and had, at 9 o'clock A. M., reached only about one and a half or two miles east from Cashtown, when we passed over a long ridge and down into a broad, clean, open valley, with the pike leading gradually by open fields upwards to another long ridge, where some oak woods covered a large part of the crest on both sides of the road. We had begun to ascend this slope, when I noticed Archer's Brigade file to the right of the road and march by column of fours, or marching order, at right angles to the road. In a few moments Brockenbrough's Brigade filed out on the right about four to five hundred yards in rear of Archer's. While still marching, and without time to face into battle line, with guns unloaded, Archer's Brigade of 1,000 men were suddenly charged upon by Buford's Federal Cavalry, 2,500 strong, from the cover of the woods on the ridge. The attack was so sudden in front and both flanks that in a few moments I saw General Archer and two-thirds of his brigade captured with only a few pistol shots from the cavalry. One-third of the brigade fled back upon the line being formed by Brockenbrough's Virginians, and rallied behind them. Brockenbrough, also in marching order, ordered "left-face, load;" then, unable to fire because of the flying Tennesseans, he back-stepped the brigade until in line with Davis' Brigade, then forming battle line on the left or north side of the Cashtown pike.
Buford's Cavalry withdrew with some six or seven hundred prisoners behind the wooded crest. General Heth now brought up Pettigrew's Brigade, and advanced the whole division to attack the crest. When we reached the crest the cavalry were gone, and seen a mile away withdrawing to the summit of another ridge. General Heth moved in battle line slowly but steadily across this valley, charged and drove back this cavalry, now supported by infantry. This must have been only a brigade of the Federal infantry corps, for it fell back on the ridge just west of Gettysburg and overlooking the town. This was a high, commanding ridge, with many open farms and but little woods, and stretching northeast and southwest across the roads from Cashtown, Carlisle, and overlooked the valley through which led the road from York. I remember how thankful I felt as Heth's Division moved forward about 1 o'clock P. M. to attack this ridge, which was crowned with long lines of waiting infantry and from which came a steady artillery fire, when, on looking to the left of our line, I saw a Confederate division (Rodes') come off the Carlisle road and form battle line to aid us, while looking back I saw Pender's Division coming up the pike in our rear. Heth's Division had suffered the loss of two-thirds of Archer's Brigade and some loss in sweeping back the Federal infantry from the last ridge, but now held the centre of attack on the right and left of the Cashtown pike. Here for two hours the fight was hot and steady. The Federal corps held its ground stubbornly, ebbing and flowing. Here I saw the Virginians of Brockenbrough's Brigade—22d Virginia, Colonel E. Poinsett Tayloe; 40th Virginia, Col. J. W. Brockenbrough, commanding brigade; 47th Virginia, Colonel R. M. Mayo; and 55th Virginia Regiments—driving the enemy in hand to hand fighting out of houses and barns of which they made forts. Here General Heth was wounded; here fell the brave Colonel Burgwin, of North Carolina, and here I buried next day, on the highest point, under a lone tree, with the Church's solemn services, Captain Brockenbrough, brother and aid of our brigade commander. By 3 o'clock the Federals fled from the ridge, across the valley and through Gettysburg to the Cemetery Heights. Soon after, or about 3 o'clock, I rode to the left where a few pieces of artillery were still replying to the artillery on Cemetery Heights, and there met a long and large force of Federal prisoners marching back on the Cashtown road westward. The guard told me that General Early threw a skirmish line around these and captured them as they were flying in disorder before
There were about 5,000
Rodes', Heth's and Pender's Divisions. prisoners.
I looked down and saw a level valley in which Gettysburg lay and could distinguish. Early's Division forming line and resting across the road from York. This road was in rear of the position held by the Federal Corps during the battle. No doubt the appearance of Early's Division, coming up in their rear, completed their defeat. There was no more fighting after 3 o'clock. I was busy attending to the wounded and hardly noticed the forming of the long battleline around Cemetery Heights.
HETH'S DIVISION SURPRISED.
The fighting next day was far to right and left, and I saw nothing of it, as the losses of our division and brigade were very heavy and I was constantly occupied with the wounded. General Heth was wounded while his division was pressing the centre of the attack. Heth's Division suffered a surprise, because we had no cavalry to meet Buford, but he redeemed this by a separate and special fight on the first ridge, and by holding the centre and hottest part of the fight on the last ridge where the whole Federal corps had picked their position to command the roads from Cashtown and Carlisle. The position was a strong one, with free sweep for their artillery. Yet, in spite of its commander being disabled, this now declimated division was chosen to be placed under General Pickett, commanded by General Pettigrew, to take part in the fatal, but glorious charge on Cemetery Heights on the 3d of July. In that last charge fell my friend, Colonel James Marshall, of Markham, Fauquier county, Va., colonel of a North Carolina regiment, and commanding Pettigrew's Brigade. This, I think, shows that the bringing on of the battle of Gettysburg by surprise was, in the providence of God, due to the want of cavalry in front of Heth's Infantry. Who could blame General Heth for driving the cavalry before him when he had been surprised into loss. From there being no pursuit of the regiment, I left Gettysburg on the eve of the 30th of June.
General Heth could not know there was a force on the Cashtown road. Besides, had he prudentially withdrawn to Cashtown after suffering loss from the cavalry surprise, what would have been General Early's position? General Early and Rodes, of Ewell's Corps, had orders to move towards Cashtown. Gettysburg lay in Early's direct road, and if Heth had fallen back on Cashtown, and Rodes