did the same. Webb's brigade brought in eight hundred taken in as little time as it requires to write the simple sentence that tells it. Gibbons's old division took fifteen stand of colors. Over the fields the escaped fragments of the charging line fell back — the battle there was over. A single brigade, Harrow's, (of which the Seventh Michigan is part,) came out with fifty-four less officers, seven hundred and ninety-three less men than it took in! So the whole corps fought — so too they fought further down the line.
Finis.It was fruitless sacrifice. They gathered up their broken fragments, formed their lines, and slowly marched away. It was not a rout, it was a bitter crushing defeat. For once the army of the Potomac had won a clean, honest, acknowledged victory. Yet we were very near defeat. Our ammunition had grown scant; the reserve ammunition-train had been brought up and drained; but for that we should have been left to cold steel. Brigade after brigade had been thrown forward to strengthen the line; as the rebel attack drifted back over the fields there stood in the rear just one single brigade that constituted the entire reserve of the army of the Potomac. Forty thousand fresh troops to have hurled forward upon that retreating mass would have ended the campaign with the battle; but, for forty thousand we had that one wasted brigade! The rebels were soon formed again, and ready for defence — the opportunity was lost! Shells still dropped over the Cemetery, by the headquarters and in the wheat-fields toward the Baltimore pike; but the fight was over. Headquarters were established anew under the trees in a little wood near Slocum's Hill. General Meade rode up, calm as ever, and called for paper and aids; he had orders already to issue. A band came marching in over the hill-side; on the evening air its notes floated out — significant melody--“Hail to the Chief.” “Ah! General Meade,” said W., “you're in very great danger of being President of the United States.” “No,” said another, more wisely, as it seems. “Finish well this work so well begun, and the position you have is better and prouder than President.”
Iv. After the battle.
Our campaign “after the invaders” was over. There was brief time for last glances at the field, last questions after the dead and dying — then the hurried trip west, and the misery of putting together, from the copious notes taken on the field, on swaying railroad cars, and amid jostling crowds, the story of the day. The morning after the battle was as sweet and fresh as though no storm of death had all the day before been sweeping over those quiet Pennsylvania hills and valleys. The roads were lined with ambulances, returning to the field for the last of the wounded; soldiers exchanging greetings after the battle with their comrades, and comparing notes of the day; officers looking after their wounded men, or hunting up the supplies for their regiments. Detachments of rebel prisoners, every few moments, passed back under guard; the woods inside our line had been full of them all night, and we were just beginning to gather them up. Every body was in the most exuberant spirits. For once this army had won a real victory — the soldiers felt it, and the sensation was so novel, they could not but be ecstatic.