As the Union 1st Corps struggled to hold the ground contested during the morning's conflict, Lieutenant
Richard S. Ewell's 2nd Corps sought to push back Major General Oliver Otis Howard's small 11th Corps. As Major General
Jubal Anderson Early described the fighting in his report, "After a short but hot contest, (General John Brown) Gordon
succeeded in routing the force opposed to him, consisting of a division of the Eleventh Corps, commanded by Brigadier-General
Barlow, of the Federal Army, and drove it back with great slaughter, capturing, among a number of prisoners, General Barlow
himself, who was severely wounded. Gordon advanced across the creek, over the hill on which Barlow had been posted, and across
the fields toward the town, until he came to a low ridge, behind which the enemy had another line of battle, extending beyond
his left. I directed him to halt here, and then ordered Hays and Avery, who had been halted on the east side of Rock Creek
while I rode forward to where Gordon had been engaged, to advance toward the town, on Gordon's left, which they did in fine style,
encountering and driving back into the town in great confusion the second line of the enemy."
General Early would continue in his report to discuss the issue of allowing the Union men to retain possession of the high ground
south of town. "As soon as my brigades had entered the town, I rode into that place myself, and, after ascertaining the
condition of things, I rode to find General Ewell and General Rodes, or General Hill, for the purpose of urging an immediate
advance upon the enemy before he should recover from his evident dismay, in order to get possession of the hills to which
he had fallen back with the remnant of his forces; but before I found either of these officers, General Smith's son, who was
acting as his aide, came to me with a message from the general, stating that a large force of the enemy, consisting of infantry,
artillery, and cavalry, was advancing on the York road, and that we were about to be flanked; and though I had no faith in this
report, I thought proper to send General Gordon with his brigade to take charge of Smith's also, and to keep a lookout on the
York road, and stop any further alarm.
Meeting with an officer of Major-General Pender's staff, I sent word by him to General Hill that if he would send up a division,
we could take the hill to which the enemy had retreated; and shortly after meeting with General Ewell, I communicated my views
to him, and was informed that Johnson's division was coming up, and it was determined with this division to get possession of a
wooded hill to the left of Cemetery Hill, which it commanded; but this division arrived at a late hour, and its movement having
been delayed by the report of the advance on the York road, no effort to get possession of the wooded hill on the left of the town
was made that night."
In his memoirs written shortly after the war, Early would comment on his frustration that the Southern forces did not continue
with the offensive and push the men in blue from atop Cemetery and Culp's Hills, high ground which would help anchor the Union
line during the following day's fighting. "My division went into this action about three o'clock P.M. and at the close
of the day a brilliant victory had been achieved, between six and seven thousand prisoners and two pieces of artillery falling into
our hands, a considerable portion of which had been captured by Rodes' division.
Perhaps that victory might have been made decisive, so far as Gettysburg was concerned, by a prompt advance of all the troops that
had been engaged on our side against the hill upon and behind which the enemy had taken refuge, but a common superior did not happen
to be present, and the opportunity was lost...
Late in the evening, when it had become too dark to do anything further, General Lee came to General Ewell's headquarters, and after
conferring with General Ewell, General Rodes and myself, we were given to understand that, if the rest of the troops could be got up,
there would be an attack very early in the morning on the enemy's left flank, and also on the right, at the wooded hill before named...
During the night a large portion of Meade's army came up and the rest arrived in the course of the next day before the battle