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[65]

While the battle waged in the woods in front of the Seminary, and the overwhelming forces came out from behind the ridges that had sheltered them from sight, Reynolds' aides and messengers were busy bringing to Meade news of the conflict, looking for Howard to urge forward his corps, and hunting up Sickles to put him on the right road. Buford was busy, too, in making his little cavalry force, with its few batteries of horse artillery, serve to support in turn the infantry, which had come forward at his demand, and thus lengthening out the hours of the battle before the troops came up. It was Reynolds who had pointed out Cemetery Hill as the key of the position, on which he saw that Meade must fight to win, and while some of the horse batteries, shattered and badly used up, went into position there, his body lay dead and stark in a little house at the foot of the hill. It was only after the arrival of the head of Howard's command that Schurz took his division out to support the right of the First Corps, and the other division took its place as a reserve on Cemetery Hill, and after Reynolds' staff had communicated his last orders to Doubleday and Howard, who in turn succeeded to the command, that the necessity arose of providing a safe and suitable place for the care of the sacred dust. In the midst of the turning tide, when it was feared that the day was lost, the positions turned, and stragglers began to pour in from the front, an ambulance started off with Reynolds' body, in charge of his faithful and gallant orderly, and one or two others. Soon after leaving the town behind, Hancock met the little cortege, and it was stopped to give him the last news of the day, while on the arrival at Meade's headquarters, in the midst of sincere expressions of deep sorrow and an overwhelming loss, time was taken to explain to Meade, and Warren, and Hunt, and Williams, and Tyler, all that could serve to explain the actual condition of affairs, the real state of the case, the advantages of the position, the need of troops and the necessity of moving immediately to the front.

As Meade went off in that direction, the little group carried on their sacred burden until the railroad was reached. From that point to Baltimore was a comparatively easy journey, and then came the sad, slow move to Philadelphia and Lancaster, where, at last, on the Fourth of July, when the army of the Potomac had been declared the victor on the field of Gettysburg, Reynolds was buried in the tranquil cemetery, where he lies in the midst of his family, near the scenes of his own childhood, and on the soil of his native State, in whose defense, and in the service of the cause of the Union, he had given up his life. The record of his career

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