The battle went on in varying fortune, and so long as the influence of his orders that had inspired men and officers could still be felt, all went well; but when the command had been changed by the successive arrival of generals who outranked each other, what there was of plan could hardly be made out, and the troops of the First Corps, without reinforcements and worn out and outnumbered, fell back at first with some show of order, and then as best they could, to find shelter in the lines pointed out by Reynolds
for the concentration of his fresh troops.
Thus even after his death, his military foresight had provided for the temporary defeat, which prepared the way for the great victory.
It is a striking proof of the discipline he had taught his own corps, that the news of the death, although it spread rapidly and that at a time when the inequality of numbers became apparent, produced no ill effect, led to no disorder, changed no disposition that he had directed, and in itself made the men only the more eager to carry out his orders.
At the moment that his body was taken to the rear, for his death was instantaneous, two of his most gallant staff officers, Captain Riddle
and Captain Wadsworth
, in pursuance of his directions, effected a slight movement which made prisoners of Archer
's Brigade, so that the rebel prisoners went to the rear almost at the same time, and their respectful conduct was in itself the highest tribute they could pay to him who had thus fallen.
While his body lay in the little house on the Emmetsburg
road, which he had passed in such full life only a few short hours before, Major Baird
, his Assistant Adjutant General
, was practically carrying out his orders in the disposition of the troops as they came up, and General Hofmann
, whose Fifty-sixth Pennsylvania had made the first onset, was supported by Wadsworth
, himself in the far front, until other regiments could be deployed and the line taken.
From the extreme left, where Colonel Chapman Biddle
, in charge of the brigade, and Colonel Alexander Biddle
, in immediate command of the One Hundred and Twenty-first Pennsylvania, which withstood the shock of attack quite without support and literally in air, that is, with no troops or even natural or artificial cover to protect their exposed flank, to the extreme right, where the Eleventh Corps was at last put in position, the First Corps was deployed in thin ranks.
had counted on having the Third Corps well in hand to extend his line to the left, but it was late in starting, late in moving, lost its way and got far out into the hostile lines, and got back only by Humphrey
's skill and readiness, and long before they were on the field, Reynolds
' dead body was on its way to a place of safety.