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[412] began to get authentic intelligence of the progress and incidents of the fight.

The flame of battle had first broken out upon the extreme left, where General Brannan's division was posted. The troops composing it behaved most gallantly; some of the regiments had covered themselves with glory, but they were compelled to retire at length, leaving uncovered the left flank of General Baird, upon which the enemy at once threw himself with great force.

The brigade commanded by Colonel B. F. Scribner, Thirty-eighth Indiana, one of the very first in the army, was left particularly exposed, as its right flank had been somewhat too far advanced where it had taken position in the morning.

Almost before its pickets were driven in, it found itself literally surrounded by thrice its numbers, who came on with their infernal yells, pouring volley after volley of deadly bullets into the very bosom of this gallant brigade. For a moment it was thrown into confusion, and that moment sufficed to place the rebels upon its front, flanks, and rear. The Second, Thirty-third, and Ninety-fourth Ohio, the Thirty-eighth Indiana, the Tenth Wisconsin, and Loomis's battery are composed of the best material in their respective States, and their commander, Scribner, succeeded in infusing into them his own magnanimous and gallant spirit. Gathering together their broken ranks under the infernal fire which every instant mowed them down, and following their heroic leader, they charged the dense legions surrounding them, and like a whirlwind in a forest, tore their way through.

But, alas! the guns of the immortal First Michigan battery were left behind — those black, sternlooking, rifled cannon, each one of whom I had come to regard with a feeling of almost reverential awe, because upon a dozen battle-fields I had seen them flinging destruction into the ranks of traitors, and never knew them once turned against a legion of my country's enemies which they did not scatter like leaves before the blast. Even in the opinion of the rebels themselves, Loomis had made these guns invincible. They were commanded now by a young man who, possessing naturally the noblest qualities, had thoroughly learned the lessons of his teacher, and promised to prove a most worthy successor, even to Loomis himself--Lieutenant Van Pelt. Van Pelt loved his pieces with the same unselfish devotion which he manifested for his wife. In the desperate conflict which broke around Scribner's brigade he managed the battery with much dexterity and coolness, and for some moments rocked the very trees over the heads of the rebels by the fiery blasts from his guns. But his horses were shot down. Many of his artillerists were killed or wounded. The infantry supporting him had been compelled to turn and cut their way through the enemy, and a horde of traitors rushed up to the muzzles of the now harmless pieces. Van Pelt, almost alone, stationed himself in front of them and drew his sword. “Scoundrels,” said he, “dare not to touch these guns!” The miserable barbarians, unable to appreciate true heroism, brutally murdered him where he stood. The history of the war furnishes not an incident more touching or more sublime than the death of Lieutenant Van Pelt.

All the guns of the battery save one fell into the enemy's hands.

Along the entire line of the left and centre there were similar instances of heroism, only two or three of which I have time to mention.

At one time the guns of the Forty-fourth Indiana battery (Captain Bush) were all in the hands of the enemy, but were retaken subsequently by a simultaneous charge of the infantry and artillerymen. This battery is attached to General Starkweather's brigade.

During the fierce assault upon the First division, the Second Ohio, being in confusion, was rallied by General Baird in person, and led back to a most effective charge.

Major-General J. J. Reynolds, who combines the chivalrous courage of an olden knight with the cool, calm ability of a Turenne, had time, not only to keep his own division in effective order, but to give his generous assistance to the forces around him. A tremendous onslaught of the enemy broke General Palmer's lines, and scattered several of his regiments in wild dismay toward the rear. Amongst these was the Sixth Ohio, which, in charge of the fine-spirited Anderson, had, up to this moment, nobly maintained its ground. General Reynolds perceiving the danger, quick as lightning threw himself amongst the brave but broken Guthries.

“Boys!” he shouted, “are you the soldiers of the Sixth Ohio, who fought with me at Cheat Mountain? You never turned your backs upon traitors in Virginia. Will you do it here?”

“ No! no!” they screamed almost frantically. “Lead us back! Lead us back!!”

From every quarter came rushing up the scattered fragments of the regiment; with magic swiftness they re-formed the ranks; with General Reynolds at their head, they charged the insolent enemy, and, after a moment's struggle, every rebel in front of them not killed or wounded was in confused retreat.

The example of the Sixth Ohio was communicated to the flying fragments of other regiments, and it is a fact which will long be memorable in the history of this battle, that these rallied stragglers, principally from Palmer's division, reformed ranks almost of their own accord, and drove back the enemy who had been victoriously pressing on.

But I cannot linger to gather up these scattering facts. Let me endeavor to give a brief and succinct view of the course of events on Saturday, and then pass on to the great drama of the succeeding day.

The shifting of Thomas's corps during the night of Friday placed it on the left of the line, in the following order: Brannan on the extreme left, Baird next, and Reynolds next. Negley was assisting Wood to hold the passage of Owen's Ford and the position of Gordon's Mill, which had now become our extreme right. One

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