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[57] gunners were ordered not to fire a single shot, unless within point-blank range. After thus opening the ball, two dense masses of infantry were sent to defile to the right and left, to make two separate attacks. It was indeed a beautiful sight as they came down in perfect order, and with the stealthy step of veterans. They came nearer and yet nearer, and yet no shot from our guns. Our men began to mutter, and say that we were preparing for another retreat. But in a few moments the appointed time arrived. A single shot from the Washington Artillery gave the signal of death, and for half an hour there was nothing but a continuous sheet of flame along the right of our lines. The enemy fell back, rallied, and charged again, with a like result. Again they rested, and rushed forward, but old Virginia was true to herself, and the gallant Seventeenth and Eighteenth Regiments charged them with the bayonet, and drove them back in utter confusion. The cavalry were held in reserve, and although within range of the artillery, and constantly experiencing the sensation which men may be supposed to indulge, who know there is a hidden danger hovering in the air, without knowing where it is to light, took no part in the action. Our time came yesterday, however. Our troop was for four hours in the hottest of the fight, and every man in it won the applause and approbation of the whole camp. The action commenced at eight o'clock on the sweet Sabbath morning. The enemy commenced with quite a heavy cannonade upon our right, which proved to be a mere feint, to distract our attention, as his main attack was directed to our left wing. At ten o'clock the enemy had crossed the river on our left, and then the fighting commenced in earnest. From the hill on which we stood, we could see, from the smoke and dust, though at


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