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[275] of the plateau, the road ran perfectly smooth and straight, and was now filled with Federal troops, moving in column, but in no regular order; for all conformity had been sacrificed in the charge, and, beside, a great number of soldiers had converged into and advanced up the road, to escape the tangled undergrowth of the Wilderness. On the line came, firing and shouting, so closely following our own fugitives as to be mingled with them, and thus cause the cruel necessity of firing through the last of our own people to check the pursuit! A few rounds of canister did the work; and by this time fresh troops had come. Thus not only was a defeat, that seemed to be impending, averted, but a substantial victory was gained, though at a great sacrifice. For Longstreet, in himself a tower of strength, upon whose sturdy valor and fidelity General Lee leaned not less confidently, and not less worthily, than on Stonewall Jackson's, was taken from the field grievously wounded; while Jenkins, of South Carolina, and many other brave officers, had sealed in blood their devotion to the cause which their swords and their souls upheld. The Wilderness was a field well adapted, by the very nature of the country, to the operations of the sharpshooters; but so fierce had been the engagement that no opportunity was afforded them for the display either of maneuvres or marksmanship. The Wilderness battle has fitly been compared to the struggles of two giants, not unequally matched, who fruitlessly, yet frightfully, writhe and twist in each other's embrace until they are forcibly wrenched asunder.

The movement from the Wilderness to Spottsylvania Court-House was exceedingly arduous to the sharpshooters, who were compelled to march to the left flank of the column, deployed as if in regular line. At last the Court-House was reached; but it failed to afford the expected rest. Almost immediately the command was thrown forward, and began what appeared to be an endless picket fight. One day was the reflection of another, though the elements of exposure and excitement prevented their succession from becoming monotonous. At three o'clock, before light, the command would be moved out of the camp inside the main lines, and sent forward to relieve the regimental details who did guard duty at night. Arrived on the picket line, while darkness yet reigned, the men were placed in the rifle-pits, and, arranging themselves as comfortably as circumstances permitted, proceeded to make what their rations afforded in the way of breakfast. This was generally light, except when contributions had been levied from some contraband source, or the camp of the enemy had been put into requisition. Even during this daylight repast, the more adventurous would stop, at times, to

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