JULY 3THE ARTILLERY OPENS FIRE
At 1 P.M. some 170 Confederate guns (we cannot know the exact
number) opened on the Union line. Although they gave special attention
to the Union center, they fired at batteries all along the Union line
from East Cemetery Hill to the Round Tops. Perhaps only eighty guns
replied for the compact Union position had no room for more. The black
powder created much smoke at the battery positions and in the target
areas that limited visibility and accuracy. Although the Confederate
batteries inflicted great damage on batteries at the Union center, they
tended to fire high so that many shells landed in the Union rear as far
away as Culp's Hill, and others drove Meade's staff from the Leister
house to Powers Hill and the Artillery Reserve from its park. Union
guns, however, were able to inflict significant casualties on the
Confederate infantry. Yet, to conserve ammunition for use when the
Confederate infantry attacked, Brig. Gen. Henry J. Hunt, the Federal
artillery commander, ordered his guns to cease firing long before the
Confederate batteries stopped their fire.
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JULY 3, 1863. PICKETTPETTIGREWTRIMBLE CHARGE|
Following a two-hour artillery bombardment of the Union center,
the Confederate divisions of Pickett, Pettigrew and Trimble advanced to
assault Cemetery Ridge at 3 P.M. Despite terrible loss, parts of all
three divisions reached the Union works before being forced to retreat.
The entire attack lasted no more than one hour.
The Confederate batteries fired for nearly two hours and became short
of ammunition. On seeing Lt. T. Fred Brown's badly damaged Rhode Island
battery leave its position at the Union center, Colonel Alexander, who
commanded the artillery of Longstreet's Corps, told Longstreet that the
time for the infantry advance had come.
The Union forces waited on Cemetery Ridge. There had been casualties,
but the infantry units remained intact. Many of Union soldiers waiting
behind the walls had more than one loaded rifle at hand.