CULP'S HILL- JOHNSON'S ASSAULT, 3 JULY
"Drive them out at daylight"-- Slocum's order for eliminating the Confederate bulge at Culp's Hill was clear enough, but in Gen. Alpheus Williams's opinion, it was an order "more easily made than executed." Orders are usually that way, especially in battle, but Williams immediately took measures to prepare for the bloody work ahead. 1
The Federal push could not start right away, of course. Plans and preparations had to be made. Geary's division and its position were the key to the Federal effort. The Confederates could not exploit their penetration so long as Geary's division held the main hill, and since most of Johnson's force faced Geary's front, Geary's men would have to bear the brunt of the fight. The First Division would deal with the Confederate left on the lower hill, but even that was a strong position. The Confederates there had the cover of the stone wall, the captured Union breastworks, and the trees and boulders that covered the hill. In addition, the marshy meadow around Spangler's Spring provided a deadly field of fire for the Confederates that strengthened their position on the lower hill.
With these considerations in mind, General Ruger deemed it unwise to attack the lower hill soon after the First Division returned because of the darkness, the difficult terrain, and their lack of knowledge of the Confederate deployment in their front. General Williams wanted to take advantage of the firepower of the Federal artillery. As he saw it, the Confederates had no nearby positions from which they could bring their guns to bear on the hill except at a long and inaccurate range, while the Twelfth Corps had a few excellent sites at hand. 2
After considering these matters and others, no doubt, William and his