prevailed, broken by no other sound than the cries of the wounded.
On all the eminence above, where Longstreet
's forces lay, there was the silence of death.
With the night, which had brought conviction of failure, the brazen throats of Burnside
's guns had ceased to roar.
It was as if furious lions had gone, with the darkness, to their lairs.
Now and then an ambulance crept along below, without seeming to make any noise.
The stretcher-bearers walked silently toward whatever spot a cry or a groan of pain indicated an object of their search.
It may not have been so quiet as it seemed.
Perhaps it was contrast with the thunder of cannon, and shriek of shell, and rattle of musketry, and all the thousand voices of battle.
When, on the return to Marye's Heights
, the command first filed in from the road, there appeared to be a thin line of soldiers sleeping on the ground to be occupied.
They seemed to make a sort of row or rank.
It was as if a line of skirmishers had halted and lain down; they were perfectly motionless; their sleep was profound.
Not one of them awoke and got up. They were not relieved, either, when the others came.
They seemed to have no commander-at least none awake.
Had the fatigues of the day completely overpowered all of them, officers and privates alike?
They were nearest the enemy, within call of him. They were the advance line of the Union
Was it thus that they kept their watch, on which the safety of the whole army depended, pent up between the ridge and the river?
The enemy might come within ten steps of them without being seen.
The fog was a veil.
No one knew what lay, or moved, or crept a little distance off. The regiments were allowed to lie down.
In doing so, the men made a denser rank with those there before them.
Still those others did not waken.
If you looked closely at the face of one of them, in the mist and dimness, it was pallid, the eyes closed, the mouth open, the hair was — disheveled; besides, the attitude was often painful.
There were blood-marks, also.
These men were all dead.
Nevertheless, the new comers lay down among them, and rested.
The pall of night concealed the foe now. The sombre uncertainty of fate enveloped the morrow.
One was saved from the peril of the charge, but he found himself again on Marye's Hill, near the enemy, face to face with the dead, sharing their couch, almost in their embrace, in the mist and the December night.
Why not accept them as bed-fellows?
The bullet that laid low this one, if it had started diverging by ever so small an angle, would have found the heart's blood of that other who gazed upon him. It was chance or Providence
, which to-morrow might be less kind.
So they lay down with the dead, all in line, and