General D H Hill's OR , or at least that part pertaining to the 1st June ,makes interesting reading ,remembering that this is the Official Report of what the writer saw, said ,did and ordered ;
Part of General Hill's OR is below ( my thanks to Hes for sending me the complete OR)
'At daylight next morning I learned that heavy re-enforcements had come up to the support of Keyes. Longstreet's, Huger's, and my own divisions had opposed to us three Yankee corps--Keyes', Sumner's, and Heintzelman's. We also learned that General G. W. Smith had been checked upon the Nine-mile road, and that no help could be expected in that direction. I therefore resolved to concentrate my troops around the captured works, in the hope that the Yankees would attempt to retake them. Orders were accordingly given to the advance brigades, commanded by Pickett, Pryor, and Wilcox, to draw in their extended lines and form near the late headquarters of General Casey.
Before these orders were received a furious attack was made upon Generals Armistead, Mahone, Pickett, Pryor, and Wilcox, and their brigades on the left of the road. Armistead's men fled early in the action, with the exception of a few heroic companies, with which that gallant officer maintained his ground against an entire brigade. Mahone withdrew his brigade without any orders. I sent up Colston's to replace him, but he did not engage the Yankees, as I expected him to do. Pickett, Pryor, and Wilcox received their orders to fall back after the firing began, and wisely resolved not to do so until the assault was repulsed. As soon as that was done Wilcox and Pryor withdrew, but Pickett held his ground against the odds of ten to one for several hours longer, and only retired when the Yankees had ceased to annoy him. The Yankees were too prudent to attack us in position, and contented themselves for the balance of the day in a desultory fire of artillery, which hurt no one, and was only attended with the gratifying result of stampeding the amateur fighters and the camp plunderers from Richmond.'
At daylight ,after learning that GW Smith 'had been checked on the Nine Mile Road' DH Hill 'resolved to concentrate my troops around the captured works,in the hope that the Yankees would attempt to retake them' .
This so called attack by GW Smith was in fact an incipient reconnaissance that was disrupted and dispersed by a salvo of shots from Petite's battery The rest of Hill's OR is equally deficient of the facts.
Pickett,Mahone and Armistead were ordered to report to DH Hill's HQ at daylight ;which they did. Pickett was sent off to "to ride over to the railroad and communicate with Brigadier-General Hood, whose right was resting on that road” Before reaching Hood Pickett came across some zouaves who told him ”The enemy were within a few yards of us and entreated me to let him save himself. I immediately rode back with him at a gallop, and as briefly as possible informed General Hill of the circumstances. He ordered me to attack, and I supposed the same order was given to other brigade commanders" ( my highlighting)
General Mahone had formed his brigade south of the Williamsburg road, opposite General Hill’s HQ.
‘At the moment I was reporting to General Hill a person rode up and excitedly stated to him that the enemy were in the wood on the north side of the road and were moving down on his then HQ. General Hill said' General Mahone take your brigade in there' referring to the wood in which the enemy were said to be, and moving as stated. Immediately I put my brigade in motion, by column of companies for the wood’ ( letter to GW Smith 14th Dec 1885).
It was only after the Union counter-attack ,by the rest of Richardson's division, Birney's brigade of Kearney's division and Sickle's brigade of Hooker's division,that the order was given to pull back to the captured works. Pickett refused to withdraw on account of his wounded , until he was supported by Mahone and Colston.( As for Pickett facing odds of 10-1 we can put that down to hyperbole. Pickett's brigade ,consisting of 4 regiments, was attacked by 3 regiments from Birney's brigade and one from Howard s brigade,but not in any coordinated way and certainly not at the same time)
Hill's OR gives the impression that he intended concentrating his forces around the captured works as soon as he learnt that GW Smith had been checked on the Nine Mile Road ,but his brigades were attacked before this order could be carried out .
Mahone and Pickett's reports show that this to be , if not a deliberate prevarication ,then certainly a case of being economical with the truth.
Rather than Armistead, Mahone, Pickett, Pryor, and Wilcox brigades being attacked by the Federals it was Mahone and Armistead attack on French's brigade, of Richardson's division, that started the battle on the 1st June. That attack had been ordered by DH Hill!
I can only think that DH Hill ,after the severe fighting on the 31st May in which his division had been engaged , may have been non compos mentis when he wrote his Official Report; even Generals must suffer from post traumatic stress.