Battle of Gettysburg

Hood's Assault
©Don Troiani
1863 Jul 2 16:01

Hood's Assault

The Slyder Farm, Slyder Farm L

At 4:30 p.m., Hood stood in his stirrups at the front of the Texas Brigade and shouted, "Fix bayonets, my brave Texans! Forward and take those heights!" It is unclear to which heights he was referring. His orders were to cross the Emmitsburg Road and wheel left, moving north with his left flank guiding on the road. This discrepancy became a serious problem when, minutes later on Slyder's Lane, Hood was felled by an artillery shell bursting overhead, severely wounding his left arm and putting him out of action. His division moved ahead to the east, no longer under central control.[73]

There were four probable reasons for the deviation in the division's direction: first, regiments from the III Corps were unexpectedly in the Devil's Den area and they would threaten Hood's right flank if they were not dealt with; second, fire from the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters at Slyder's farm drew the attention of lead elements of Law's Brigade, moving in pursuit and drawing his brigade to the right; third, the terrain was rough and units naturally lost their parade-ground alignments; finally, Hood's senior subordinate, Gen. Law, was unaware that he was now in command of the division, so he could not exercise control.[74]

The two lead brigades split their advances into two directions, although not on brigade boundaries. The 1st Texas and 3rd Arkansas of Robertson's brigade and the 44th and 48th Alabama of Law's brigade headed in the direction of Devil's Den, while Law directed the remaining five regiments toward the Round Tops.[75]