Cemetery Ridge - Part 2
Wright Reaches a Gap in the Union Line
This is the area where Hancock would be wounded the next day during Pickett's Charge. But for now, Cemetery Ridge was threatened by another Confederate attack. The 700 men of Perry's brigade were attacking toward this area. They were advancing roughly along the right side of the prominent fenceline, having dealt with Weir's battery and the 19th Maine roughly between this fence and the small trees visible to its right. They got to within 50 yards of defending Union troops. In the fields to the left, the 1st MN and Willard's brigade had attacked Barksdale and Wilcox in the Plum Run thicket and pushed them back. Now threatened on its right, Perry's brigade fell back too.
Wright's 1,450 man brigade attacked through the Codori farm, sweeping away two regiments to the right of the farm and capturing guns of a supporting battery. Continuing the advance, much of Wright's brigade reached an area of the ridge that was completely undefended. Wright even claimed to have reached the crest of the ridge. The next Union formation in the line, after a sizeable gap, was Hall's brigade near the Copse of Trees - in the area which is now prominent with monuments. Had Wright been supported on his left, he believed that his Georgians could have captured and held the ridge, winning the battle.
View From Emmitsburg Road - Union Counterattack
As we have seen, to the Georgians' right, the counterattack of the 1st MN and Willard's brigade against Confederates in the Plum Run thicket had been launched from the ridge beyond the Pennsylvania monument. And here, in an area made famous the next day, Union troops counterattacked Wright's exposed flank.
Wright had advanced from the Codori farm (marked by the trees on the Emmitsburg Road) to the ridge top to the right of the Copse of Trees. Union artillerymen were struggling to get their guns over the low stone wall near the Copse to prevent their capture. Although at least initially there was a gap in the Union line, because the Confederates further south along the ridge had been repulsed, Wright was soon faced by the newly arrived 13th Vermont and rallied Federals. From a position behind the Union line in the Copse of Trees, the 106th Pa. moved to their right, around the Angle, and down the slope and into the Confederate left flank, forcing the Georgians back and capturing a number of rebels at the Codori farm. Largely because of the lack of support on their left, the Confederate attack had failed.
After casualties in the thousands on both sides, Longstreet's assault was over, and the Union line had held. But as night was falling, Ewell's corps attacked Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill. With Union troops having been shifted away from these areas, there was still a chance for Confederate victory.
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