Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 239
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 239
 
 
to watch the effect of our fire upon the enemy, and when it begins to tell he must take the responsibility and give you orders, for I can’t.’” 1  25
  Alexander had confidence in the attack because Lee had ordered it, although he shrank from the responsibility now thrust upon him; yet, having seen Pickett and found him cheerful and sanguine, he played his part. And when he dared wait no longer he sent a note to Pickett, who was still with Longstreet: “For God’s sake come quick. Come quick or my ammunition will not let me support you properly.” Pickett read it, handed it to Longstreet and asked, Shall I obey and go forward? Longstreet, so Pickett wrote, “looked at me for a moment, then held out his hand. Presently clasping his other hand over mine, without speaking, he bowed his head upon his breast. I shall never forget the look in his face nor the clasp of his hand when I said, ‘Then, General, I shall lead my division on.’” 2  26
  “My brave boys,” wrote Pickett, “were full of hope and confident of victory as I led them forth, forming them in column of attack [at about 3:15] though officers and men alike knew what was before them.… Over on Cemetery Ridge the Federals beheld … an army forming in line of battle in full view, under their very eyes.” 3 Hancock, who expected the attack and was prepared to meet it, wrote in his report, The enemy’s “lines were formed with a precision and steadiness that extorted the admiration of the witnesses of that memorable scene.” 4  27
 
Note 1. Pickett’s Letters, 98. [back]
Note 2. Pickett’s Letters, 98. I have made up this account from Pickett’s letter of July 4 and Alexander’s recollections, which differ slightly from Longstreet’s report of July 27. Alexander (423) sent two notes to Pickett. I have used the second as fitting better Pickett’s account. [back]
Note 3. Pickett’s Letters, 99, 100. [back]
Note 4. O. R., XXVII, Pt. I, 373. [back]
 

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