Major General Henry Heth


Henry Heth
Henry "Harry" Heth graduated dead last in the Class of 1847 at West Point. During the Pennsylvania Campaign, Heth commanded a division in A. P. Hill's III Corps. On 30 June 1863, camped outside of Cashtown, Heth ordered James J. Pettigrew to take his brigade to Gettysburg to look for a supply of shoes reported to be there. Marching along the Chambersburg Pike, Pettigrew spotted elements of John Buford's cavalry division, and turned back according to Robert E. Lee's standing orders not to bring on an engagement until the army was up.

Hill and Heth did not believe that Pettigrew saw regular troops, but rather believed them to be militia. Accordingly, on 1 July, when Heth asked Hill if there was any reason he should not go to Gettysburg, Hill relpied, "Not one I can think of." Marching down the Chambersburg Pike, with Dorsey Pender's division in support, he hit Buford's cavalry and John Reynolds' I Corps, bringing on the general engagement that Lee was not prepared for.

During this battle--casualties on 1 July were the second heaviest of the three days--Heth received a severe concussion when a bullet went through his hat and hit him in the forehead. He was saved from death by several layers of newspaper that he had put in his "newly requisitioned" hat to make it fit properly.

On 3 July, Heth's division, under Pettigrew, and formed on the left of George Pickett's, took part in James Longstreet's assault on Cemetery Ridge.

Harry Heth was the only general in the Army of Northern Virginia whom Lee called by his first name.


Back to Little Round Top

Photo credit: http://www.civilwarhome.come/hethbio.htm
Created 09 NOV 1999; Modified 23 JUL 2014

http://schwartz.eng.auburn.edu/acw/lrtmap.docs/heth.html