Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863

Gettysburg: The Second Day

How far out did Sickles move his men?

Acting on the belief that he could, as corps commander, adjust his position, General Sickles moved his men a full mile farther out. Any experienced commander could see that this was a dangerous, and potentially disastrous, move because Sickles’ left flank was hanging “in the air.” Practically no one took notice of it, however, because the Confederate assault began at around this same time.

General John Bell Hood, whose Texans were part of Longstreet’s corps, started their attack around 3 P.M. Longstreet dreaded the result, knowing that Hood’s men were moving uphill against Union troops hidden behind boulders, but Hood showed no hesitation. Half an hour later, he was out of the battle, with a wound to his right arm. The Texans continued the attack, however, and the fight in front of Devil’s Den became a true melee, with little to no command or control.


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