BG Gouverneur Warren, Meade’s Chief Engineer had been tasked by him to make a full inspection of the Union line in daylight. Meade had only seen it in darkness the night before. His general impression was that Hancock had done a good job of placing the various corps and that they each had improved their defensive positions well. But he needed Warren to make whatever recommendations he had to improve the defenses. Warren had started on Culp’s Hill and was mightily impressed with the bulwark that BG Greene had his men laboring through the night to erect. It was early afternoon when he finally arrived at the south end of Cemetery Ridge. He was horrified and mystified that no one was there! He had expected to find troops lining Little Round Top. There were none in sight! Today a statue of him standing on the rocks staring off to the west and south trying to locate Sickles’ men. From that vantage point, he could identify the sun glinting off the bayonets of the Confederate units in the woods south and west. He sent a messenger to inform Meade of this situation and set off on his own to remedy it.
As a senior staff officer, the Chief Engineer had no authority to issue commands to subordinate units. Fortunately for him, the first unit he encountered was COL Strong Vincent’s Brigade of MG Barnes Division of Fifth Corps. Warren had once commanded a brigade in that Corps so he and Vincent knew one another reasonably well. Warren explained the urgency of the situation; that the entire left flank of the Union Army was exposed. Vincent made a bold decision. Without awaiting for orders from either MG Barnes or LTG Sykes, he agreed to lead his brigade onto LTR.
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