THE GENERALS AND THEIR ARMIES
Two generals -- corps commanders -- confronted one another at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, late on the afternoon of 1 July 1863. One, a Confederate lieutenant general, whose troops had just smashed the Union Eleventh Corps and driven it in retreat through the streets of Gettysburg, sought to determine if he should push on and try to seize the high ground just south of the town where Union troops were rallying. The other, a Union major general, was on that high ground, Cemetery Hill, and was attempting to organize his badly mauled forces to meet an attack that he believed would soon come.
The generals were extraordinary fellows. Both were graduates of West Point but from classes fourteen years apart. Both were brave beyond doubt, and both had already lost limbs in battle--one a leg, the other an arm. Both were eccentric, and both had been affected by the recent battle of Chancellorsville but in very different ways. The Union general and his corps had been crushed and had suffered heavy casualties there, but worse, many people in and out of the Army of the Potomac blamed them for the Union defeat and vilified them. The Confederate general had not been at Chancellorsville himself, but his men had triumphed there, and now he commanded them in place of the mortally wounded Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson.
The Confederate lieutenant general was Richard Stoddert Ewell. Ewell was a Virginian and the grandson of Benjamin Stoddert, the nation's first secretary of the navy. Although Ewell had prominent family connections, he had been reared in near poverty at "Stony Lonesome," a farm near Manassas, Virginia. 1 Ewell managed to get an appointment to West Point's