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Gettysburg - Pickett’s Charge, July 3, 1863 - 2:00 - 2:30PM

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Gettysburg - Pickett's Charge, July 3, 1863 - 2:00 - 2:30PM
Gettysburg - Pickett's Charge, July 3, 1863 - 2:00 - 2:30PM

American Battlefield Trust's map of the Battle of Gettysburg - Pickett’s Charge

George Pickett’s fresh division consisted of about 5,500 Virginians in three brigades, commanded by Lewis Armistead, James Kemper and Richard Garnett. For the assault, Pickett was augmented by six more brigades commanded by J. Johnston Pettigrew and Isaac Trimble, both elevated to division command to replace officers wounded earlier in the battle. Many of the men under Pettigrew and Trimble had been wounded one or two days prior also. Two more brigades from Richard Anderson’s division, both bloodied during the July 2 fight, were added to support Pickett.

Around 3:00 p.m. the artillery bombardment ceased and Longstreet ordered the divisions forward. Pettigrew aligned on Pickett’s left, supported by Trimble. About 12,500 total men moved out across open, rolling fields broken by fence lines. Pettigrew and Trimble advanced straight ahead, while Pickett’s brigades shifted their formations to the left as they advanced. Without cover, the Confederates suffered severe casualties from Federal artillery. Their objective was the left center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge.

Earlier that morning, skirmishers from both armies had clashed at the farm of William Bliss, located mid-way between the lines west of the Emmitsburg Road. Union division commander Alexander Hays ordered the farm to be burned to prevent its use by Confederate sharpshooters.  The house and barn were completely destroyed, forcing the Bliss family to leave Gettysburg after the battle.

Learn More: Battle of Gettysburg

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