previous next

[66] refrain from inserting just here an account of the battle of the 2d taken from a graphic account in the New York World. It will be seen that the correspondent treats the charge of my 13,000 men as if it were the charge of the whole army. The account is as follows:

He then began a heavy fire on Cemetery Hill. It must not be thought that this wrathful fire was unanswered. Our artillery began to play within a few moments, and hurled back defiance and like destruction upon the rebel lines. Until 6 o'clock the roar of cannon, the rush of missiles and the bursting of bombs filled all the air. The clangor alone of this awful combat might well have confused and awed a less cool and watchful commander than General Meade. It did not confuse him. With the calculation of a tactician and the eye of an experienced judge, he watched from his headquarters on the hill whatever movement under the murky cloud which enveloped the rebel lines might first disclose the intention which it was evident this artillery firing covered. About 6 o'clock, P. M., silence, deep, awfully impressive but momentary, was permittedc, as if by magic, to dwell upon the field. Only the groansunheard before — of the wounded and dying, only a murmur, a warning memory of the breeze through the foliage; only a low rattle of preparation of what was to come embroidered this blank stillness. Then, as the smoke beyond the village was lightly borne to the eastward, the woods on the left were seen filled with dark masses of infantry, three columns deep, who advanced at a quick step. Magnificent! Such a charge by such a force-full forty-five thousand men, under Hill and Longstreeteven though it threatened to pierce and annihilate the Third corps, against which it was directed, drew forth cries of admiration from all who beheld it. General Sickles and his splendid command, withstood the shock with a determination that checked but could not fully restrain it. Back, inch by inch, fighting, falling, dying, cheering, the men retired. The rebels came on more furiously, halting at intervals, pouring volleys that struck our troops down in scores. General Sickles, fighting desperately, was struck in the leg and fell. The Second corps came to the aid of his decimated column. The battle then grew fearful. Standing firmly up against the storm. our troops, though still outnumbered, gave back shot for shot, volley for volley, almost death for death. Still the enemy was not restrained. Down he came upon our left with a momentum that nothing could check. The rifled guns that lay before our infantry on a knoll were in danger of capture. General Hancock was wounded in the thigh, General Gibbon in the shoulder. The Fifth corps, as the First and Second wavered anew, went into the breach with such shouts and such volleys as made the rebel column tremble at last. Up from the valley behind another battery came rolling to the heights, and flung its contents in an instant down in the midst of the enemy's ranks. Crash! crash! with discharges deafening, terrible, the musketry firing went on. The enemy, reforming after each discharge with wondrous celerity and firmness, still pressed up the declivity. What hideous carnage filled the minutes between the appearance of the Fifth corps and the advance to the support of the rebel columns of still another column from the right, I cannot bear to tell. Men fell, as the leaves fall in autumn, before those horrible discharges. Faltering for an instant the rebel columns seemed about to recede before the tempest. But their officers, who could be seen through the smoke of the conflict galloping and swinging their swords along the lines, rallied them anew, and the next instant the whole line sprang forward, as if to break through our own by mere weight of numbers.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Cemetery Hill (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Sickles (2)
Gederal Meade (1)
A. P. Hill (1)
Winfield Hancock (1)
Gibbon (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: