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[294] charged and taken about 9 1/2 P. M., after a hard conflict of two hours, in which the Second Maryland and the Third North Carolina were the chief sufferers.1 Among those who fell severely wounded was Colonel James R. Herbert, of the Second Maryland. The the two regiments named were heavy, but the men were eager to press on to the crest of the hill. This, owing to the darkness and the lateness of the hour, it was resolved not to do.2 A Federal historian (B. J. Lossing, in his Pictorial history of the civil war,) gives the following account of this night conflict: “Johnson moved under cover of the woods and deepening twilight, and expected an easy conquest by which a way would be opened for the remainder of Ewell's corps to the National rear; but he found a formidable antagonist in Greene's brigade. The assault was made with great vigor, but for more than two hours Greene, assisted by a part of Wadsworth's command, fought the assailants, strewing the wooded slope in front of the works with the Confederate dead and wounded, and holding his position firmly. Finally, his antagonist penetrated the works near Spangler's Spring, from which the troops had been temporarily withdrawn.” --Vol. III, p. 691. This statement needs correction. There is no doubt of the fact that the works taken by Steuart's brigade that night were occupied by Federal troops and that, they poured a deadly fire into its ranks. After this fire had been kept up for two hours those troops were indeed “withdrawn” --but the orders came from the men of Steuart's brigade, and they were delivered at the point of the bayonet.3

1 Bates (author of The History of the Battle of Gettysburg) shows his ignorance of the real state of the conflict when he says “the fast-coming darkness drew its curtains around the vulnerable parts everywhere spread out.” It was 9 or 9Y P. M. before the works to which he refers were taken by our brigade-two hours alter dark.

2 Again and again did the rebels attack in front and flank; but as often as they approached they were stricken down and disappeared.-Bates' Gettysburg, page 139. This is one of his many misstatements. I say of my own knowledge that the only troops in position to assault this work on the flank were those of the Third brigade, and they made no attempt to take it until the next day. This is, unhappily, too true. An assault then would have promised success.

3 I find a similar statement in Swinton's Army of the Potomac, page 355, in a pamphlet by Dr. Jacobs, and in an article by General Howard in the Atlantic llfonthly, July, 1876. I was at a loss to account for it until I observed that General Howard describes the vacated works as situated between McAllister's Mill and Culp's Hill. Fronm these works part of the Twelfth corps had been withdrawn to reinforce Meade's left But these were not the works occupied by Steuart's brigade, whose charge was made on Culp's Htill itself, to the north of Spangler's Spring. Bates says: “Passing over the abandoned breastworks further to the right, the enemy found nothing to oppose him, and pushed out through the woods in their rear over the stone fences that skirt the fields farther to the south, and had nearly gained the Baltimore pike. Indeed, the reserve artillery and ammunition, and the headquarters of General Slocum, the commander of the right wing of the army, were within musket-range of his farthest advance.” (Page 140.) This statement, if true at all, must have reference to the movements of troops on our left. Steuart's men did not advance beyond those redoubtable works which, although vacant, belched forth flame and smoke and minnie balls, which were just as fatal as though they had been occupied by soldiers. Being dark, we cannot say we saw the men behind them, but we. saw the musketry flashes and we felt the balls that came thick into our ranks, and some of the private soldiers who survive testify that when they leaped the works they saw dead and wounded Federal soldiers on the other side.

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