2nd Manassas - Aug. 1862
The Battle of Gettysburg - Thursday July 2, 1863
The Next Day's Plans

General Robert E. Lee's headquarters.
As the sulfurous smell of gunpowder drifted away with the evening summer winds, a wretched symphony of moans and pitiful cries rose up from all corners of the bloody battlefield. After withstanding thousands of casualties and making substantial yet incomplete gains, Confederate General Robert E. Lee needed to plan for his army's movements the coming day. Although he felt with confident certainty that he had severely battered portions of the Federal Army, he knew all too well that tens of thousands more men in blue defended the still secure Union lines. He had not obtained all he desired, but saw partial successes that ultimately encouraged him to make another attempt. With better coordination and more efficient, timely preparation, he felt success may yet smile on the South bringing to him and his army the victory on Northern soil he so desperately sought.

According to General Lee's Official Report, "The preparations for attack were not completed until the afternoon of the 2d. The enemy held a high and commanding ridge, along which he had massed a large amount of artillery. General Ewell occupied the left of our line, General Hill the center, and General Longstreet the right. In front of General Longstreet the enemy held a position from which, if he could be driven, it was thought our artillery could be used to advantage in assailing the more elevated ground beyond, and thus enable us to reach the crest of the ridge. That officer was directed to endeavor to carry this position. while General Ewell attacked directly the high ground on the enemy's right, which had already been partially fortified. General Hill was instructed to threaten the center of the Federal line, in order to prevent re-enforcements being sent to either wing, and to avail himself of any opportunity that might present itself to attack. After a severe struggle, Longstreet succeeded in getting possession of and holding the desired ground. Ewell also carried some of the strong positions which he assailed, and the result was such as to lead to the belief that he would ultimately be able to dislodge the enemy. The battle ceased at dark.

These partial successes determined me to continue the assault next day. Pickett, with three of his brigades, joined Longstreet the following morning, and our batteries were moved forward to the positions gained by him the day before. The general plan of attack was unchanged, excepting that one division and two brigades of Hill's corps were ordered to support Longstreet."

Lee's senior lieutenant, James Longstreet, agreed with the attainability of success. But as he had earlier in the day, he differed with his commander concerning the tactics likely to bring victory. He stated as much in his official report after the battle's end.

"On the following morning our arrangements were made for renewing the attack by my right, with a view to pass around the hill occupied by the enemy on his left, and to gain it by flank and reverse attack. This would have been a slow process, probably, but I think not very difficult. A few moments after my orders for the execution of this plan were given, the commanding general joined me, and ordered a column of attack to be formed of Pickett's, Heth's, and part of Pender's divisions, the assault to be made directly at the enemy's main position, the Cemetery Hill. The distance to be passed over under the fire of the enemy's batteries, and in plain view, seemed too great to insure great results, particularly as two-thirds of the troops to be engaged in the assault had been in a severe battle two days previous, Pickett's division alone being fresh." [5]