to retire. The batteries assumed an excellent position further in the rear, which they held during the day. General Reynolds now rode forward to inspect the field and ascertain the most favorable line for the disposal of his troops. One or two members of his staff were with him. The enemy at that instant poured in a cruel musketry fire upon the group of officers; a bullet struck General Reynolds in the neck, wounding him mortally. Crying out, with a voice that thrilled the hearts of his soldiers, “Forward! For God's sake, forward!” he turned for an instant, beheld the order obeyed by a line of shouting infantry, and falling into the arms of Captain Wilcox, his aid, who rode beside him, his life went out with the words: “Good God, Wilcox, I am killed.” The command of the corps devolved upon General Doubleday, who hurried to the front, placed it in position, and awaited a charge which it was seen the rebels were about to make. An eminence whereon stood a piece of woods was the important point thenceforth to be defended. The rebels advanced and opened fire from their entire line. They were instantly charged upon by Meredith's Western brigade, who, without firing a shot, but with a tremendous cheer, dashed forward with such swiftness as to surround nearly six hundred of the foe, who were taken prisoners. A strong column immediately advanced against us from the woods, and, though volley after volley was poured into them, did not waver. Their proximity and strength at last became so threatening that the brigades of the Second division were ordered to make another charge, which was even more successful that the first. Their momentum was like an avalanche; the rebels were shot, bayoneted, and driven to partial retreat, more than two regiments falling into our hands alive. Our ranks suffered fearfully in this demonstration, and it was evident that such fighting could not long go on. The Eleventh corps now made its appearance, and its General (Howard) assumed command of the forces. Steinwehr was ordered to hold Gettysburgh and Cemetery Hill — all his artillery being placed in the latter position. The other two divisions of the Eleventh corps, under Schurz and Barlow, then supported the First corps, on the right, in time to resist two desperate charges by Ewell's troops. A third charge was now made by the entire rebel force in front, which comprised the corps of Hill and Ewell, sixty-two thousand strong. The shock was awful. The superior numbers of the foe enabled them to overlap both our flanks, threatening us with surrounding and capture. Their main effort was directed against our left wing, and notwithstanding the gallant fighting done by our soldiers at that point, they at last obtained such advantage that General Howard was forced to retire his command through the town to the east, which was done in good order, the compliments of the rebels meanwhile falling thick among it, in the shape of shells, grape, and canister. The two corps were placed in line of battle on Cemetery Hill at evening, having withstood during the entire day the assaults of an enemy outnumbering them three to one. Not without grief, nor without misgiving, did the officers and soldiers of those corps contemplate the day's engagement and await the onset they believed was to come. Their comrades lay in heaps beyond the village whose spires gleamed peacefully in the sunset before them. Reynolds the beloved and the brave, was dead, and Zook slumbered beside him. Barlow, Paul, many field and scores of line officers had been killed. The men of the First corps alone could in few instances turn to speak to the ones who stood beside them in the morning without meeting with a vacant space. The havoc in that corps was so frightful as to decimate it fully one half, and that in the Eleventh corps--nobly rescued from the suspicion which rested upon it before — was scarcely less great. Yet the little army flinched not, but stood ready to fall as others had fallen even to the last man. With what a thrill of relief General Howard, who had sent messenger after messenger during the day to Slocum and Sickles, saw in the distance at evening the approaching bayonets of the Third and Twelfth corps, only they can tell who fought beside him. Those corps arrived and assumed positions to the right and left of the First and Eleventh on the heights about Cemetery Hill at dusk. The enemy made no further.demonstration that night. General Meade and staff arrived before eleven o'clock. The commander then examined the position, and posted the several corps in the following order: The Twelfth (Slocum) on the right; the Eleventh, (Howard,) next; the Second, (Hancock,) First, (Doubleday,) and Third, (Sickles,) in the centre; the Fifth, (Sykes,) on the extreme left. The situation was brilliant, commanding. For almost the first time in the history of this army's career belonged the advantage in the decisive battles which ensued. The heights on which our troops were posted sloped gently downward from our front. The line stretched in a semi-circle — its convex centre toward Gettysburgh, the extremes toward the south-west and south. Ledges on the interior sides gave our soldiers in some instances a partial shelter from artillery. Every road was commanded by our cannon, and the routes by which Lee might otherwise soonest retreat in case of his defeat, were all in our possession. At every one weaker than others reserves were judiciously posted, and the cavalry — an arm of the service scarcely brought into play in some recent and destructive battles — protected both our flanks in immense numbers. Thus the great army lay down to sleep at midnight, and awoke on the morn of a day more sanguinary than the last.
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