"The most accurate fire I have yet seen from their artillery."
Colonel Charles S. Wainwright
1st Corps Artillery Brigade, USA
The Confederate battle plan on July 2 called for General Richard Ewell's Second Corps to threaten the right flank of the Union army, while General Longstreet made the main attack against the Union left flank. Ewell planned to open his part of the action by shelling the Union positions on Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill with the artillery battalion of Major Joseph W. Latimer.
This ridge, known as Benner's Hill, proved the best location available to Latimer and during the afternoon he placed fourteen guns here. At 4 p.m. they opened fire upon the Union batteries on Cemetery Hill. Over twenty-four Union guns replied, including guns on the summit of Culp's Hill and at Stevens' Knoll, midway between Culp's and Cemetery Hills.
For nearly one and one-half hours the opposing artillery blazed away at one another. The superior firepower and elevation enjoyed by the Union artillery battered Latimer's batteries. One Confederate officer described a scene of "guns dismounted and disabled, carriages splintered and crushed, ammunition chests exploded, limbers upset, wounded horses plunging and kicking." Latimer suffered a terrible wound to his right arm. As he was carried from the field "in a clear and steady voice" he called to his men to fight harder and avenge his loss. But valor alone could not overcome the intense Union fire and Latimer's battalion was forced to withdraw to cover, ending the artillery conflict on this part of the battlefield.