part of a long, bold ridge, on which the declivity leans, stretching from Falmouth
to Massoponax creek, six miles. Its summit was shaggy and rough with the earthworks of the Confederates
, and was crowned with their artillery.
The stone wall on Marye
's Height was their “coigne
of vantage,” held by the brigades of Cobb
, of McLaws
On the semi-circular crest above, and stretching far on either hand, was Longstreet
's Corps, forming the left of the Confederate
His advance position was the stone wall and rifle-trenches along the telegraph road, above the house.
The guns of the enemy commanded and swept the streets which led out to the heights.
Sometimes you might see a regiment marching down those streets in single file, keeping close to the houses, one file on the right-hand side, another on the left.
Between the canal and the foot of the ridge was a level plat of flat, even ground, a few hundred yards in width.
This restricted space afforded what opportunity there was to form in order of battle.
A division massed on this narrow plain was a target for Lee
's artillery, which cut fearful swaths in the dense and compact ranks.
Below, and to the right of the house, were fences, which impeded the advance of the charging lines.
Whatever division was assigned the task of carrying Marye's Hill, debouched
from the town, crossed the canal, traversed the narrow level, and formed under cover of the rise of ground below the house.
At the word, suddenly ascending this bank, they pressed forward up the hill for the stone wall and the crest beyond.
From noon to dark Burnside
continued to hurl one division after another against that volcano-like eminence, belching forth fire, and smoke, and iron hail.
's Division was the first to rush to the assault.
When it emerged from cover, and burst out on the open, in full view of the enemy, it was greeted with a frightful, fiery reception from all his batteries on the circling summit.
The ridge concentrated upon it the convergent fire of all its enginery of war. You might see at a mile the lanes made by the cannon balls in the ranks.
You might see a bursting shell throw up into the air a cloud of earth and dust, mingled with the limbs of men. The batteries in front of the devoted division thundered against it. To the right, to the left, cannon were.
answering to each other in a tremendous deafening battle-chorus, the burden of which was-
Welcome to these madmen about to die.
The advancing column was the focus, the point of concentration, of an arc — almost a semi-circle — of destruction.
It was a centre