JULY 2, EVENINGEWELL ATTACKS CEMETERY HILL
Soon after the fighting opened on Culp's Hill, Brig. Gen. Harry T.
Hays's and Col. Isaac Avery's brigades of Early's division attacked
Cemetery Hill from a ravine south and southeast of the town, and Rodes's
division moved from the town to attack the hill from the west. Early's
two brigades advanced at dusk "in gallant style" and struck Cols. Andrew
L. Harris's and Leopold von Gilsa's brigades of Barlow's (Ames's)
division, Eleventh Corps, which were in position at the base of the
hill. Shortly before the Confederates struck, Brig. Gen. Adelbert Ames
sent the 17th Connecticut Regiment from its place in the line of
Harris's brigade to the left of von Gilsa's line. This shift left a gap
that Harris was unable to close before the Confederates appeared. Hays's
brigade "fotched up" at a low stone wall near the left of the Union line
with a Rebel yell. An Ohio sergeant remembered that Hays's Louisianans
"put their big feet on the stone wall and went over like deer." They
exploited the gap, and both brigades punched through other weak spots in
the Union line. Some of Early's men pushed toward the batteries at the
top of the hill, but most of them remained near its base fighting in the
darkness with the four Union regiments that still held their positions
there. The attackers who climbed the hill reached the guns of Capt.
Michael Wiedrich's New York battery and Capt. R. Bruce Ricketts's
Pennsylvania battery and battled the cannoneers and the troops driven
from the base of the hill who had rallied near the guns. Reinforcements
from the Eleventh Corps and Second Corps helped the defenders repulse
Early's assault. This could not have been done so easily had Ewell's
attack against the hill been better coordinated.
BRIGADIER GENERAL ALPHEUS S. WILLIAMS (GNMP)|
"MENDING THE FLAG," THE 149TH NEW YORK AT CULP'S HILL, JULY 3 (GNMP)|
EDWIN FORBES ILLUSTRATION OF CONFEDERATE ATTACK ON CEMETERY HILL, JULY 2
Rodes's division was not ready to attack until Early's fight was
over. It had filed west from the town and into the fields northwest of
Cemetery Hill, formed for the assault there, advanced a short distance
in the darkness, and stopped. By this time Early's attack was over.
General Ramseur, who led Rodes's attack, wisely halted the movement
before serious fighting began.
Among those who died that night was Col. Isaac Avery, commander of
Hoke's North Carolina brigade. He fell alone, and as he slipped into
unconsciousness he scrawled on a scrap of paper; "Major; Tell my father
I died with my face to the enemy."
(click on image for a PDF version)
JULY 2, 1863. EAST CEMETERY HILL 8-9 P.M.|
At the same time that Ewell sent Johnson forward against Culp's Hill,
Early's division moved from its positions near Gettysburg to storm the
eastern slopes of Cemetery Hill. The Union troops of the 11th Corps,
positioned at the base of the hill, were driven from their position.
Elements of Early's men reached the summit of the hill but were thrown
back by stubborn Union resistance.
MEADE AND HIS GENERALS MEET AT THE LEISTER FARM ON THE NIGHT OF JULY 2
PERIOD PHOTOGRAPH OF THE LEISTER HOUSE, WHICH SERVED AS MEADE'S
HEADQUARTERS DURING THE BATTLE (CWL)|
After the fighting died, Williams's and Geary's divisions of the
Twelfth Corps returned to Culp's Hill. Both took up positions to seal
off the Confederate penetration and drive Johnson's men from the hill.
Geary reinforced Greene's line on the main hill and faced the Rebels on
the lower hill from the north. Williams and the corps artillery
confronted the Confederate penetration on the lower hill from
McAllister's Woods on the south and from the Baltimore Pike. That night
also four Confederate brigades that had not fought on July 2 reinforced
Johnson's three brigades on Culp's Hill. Both sides prepared to attack
After the fighting on Cemetery Ridge was over, Meade met with his
corps commanders at his headquarters in the Leister house behind the
Union center. They discussed the battle, the condition of their units,
their lack of rations, and other matters; all present expressed the view
that they should continue the fight at Gettysburg.