were lulled asleep by the monotony of the cries of the wounded scattered everywhere.
At this time three officers rode out from the ranks, down the hill, toward the town.
They sought to acquire a better knowledge of the locality.
They were feeling about in the fog for the foot of the hill, and the roads.
After they had gone a little distance, one of them was stationed as a guide-mark, while the two others went further, reconnoitering or exploring.
He who was thus left alone found himself amid strange and melancholy surroundings.
Meditation sat upon his brow, but to fall into complete revery was impossible.
The hour and the scene would intrude themselves upon his thoughts of what had befallen.
The dead would not remain unnoticed.
The dying cried out into the darkness, and demanded succor of the world.
Was there nothing in the universe to save?
Tens of thousands within ear-shot, and no footstep of friend or foe drew near during all the hours.
Sometimes they drew near and passed by, which was an aggravation of the agony.
The subdued sound of wheels rolling slowly along, and ever and anon stopping, the murmur of voices and a cry of pain, told of the ambulance on its mission.
It went off in another direction.
The cries were borne through the haze to the officer as he sat solitary, waiting.
Now a single lament, again voices intermingled and as if in chorus; from every direction, in front, behind, to right, to left, some near, some distant and faint.
Some, doubtless, were faint that were not distant, the departing breath of one about to expire.
They expressed every degree and shade of suffering, of pain, of agony; a sigh, a groan, a piteous appeal, a shriek, a succession of shrieks, a call of despair, a prayer to God, a demand for water, for the ambulance, a death-rattle, a horrid scream, a voice, as of the body when the soul tore itself away, and abandoned it to the enemy, to the night, and to dissolution.
The voices were various.
This, the tongue of a German; that wail in the Celtic
brogue of a poor Irishman.
The accent of New England
was distinguishable in the thin cry of that boy. From a different quarter came utterances in the dialect of a far off Western State.
The appeals of the Irish were the most pathetic.
They put them into every form-denunciation, remonstrance, a pitiful prayer, a peremptory demand.
was more patient, less demonstrative, withdrawing into himself.
One man raised his body on his left arm, and extending his right hand upward, cried out to the heavens, and fell back.
Most of them lay moaning, with the fitful movement of unrest and pain.
At this hour of the night, over at the Phillips' House