Cutler, having the advance, opened the attack; Meredith was at it a few minutes later. Short, sharp fighting, the enemy handsomely repulsed, three hundred rebel prisoners taken, General Archer himself reported at their head — such was the auspicious opening. No wonder the First determined to hold its ground. Yet they were ill-prepared for the contest that was coming. Their guns had sounded the tocsin for the Eleventh, but so they had too for — Ewell, already marching down from York to rejoin Lee. They were fighting two divisions of A. P. Hill's now — numerically stronger than their dwindled three. Their batteries were not up in sufficient numbers; on Meredith's left — a point that especially needed protection, there were none at all. A battery with Buford's cavalry stood near. Wadsworth cut red tape and in an instant ordered it up. The captain, preferring red tape to red fields, refused to obey. Wadsworth ordered him under arrest, could find no officer for the battery, and finally fought it under a sergeant. Sergeant and captain there should henceforth exchange places. The enemy repulsed, the First advanced their lines and took the position lately held by the rebels. Very heavy skirmishing, almost developing at times into a general musketry engagement, followed. Our men began to discover that they were opposing a larger force. Their own line, long and thin, bent and wavered occasionally, but bore bravely up. To the left, where the fire seemed the hottest, there were no supports at all, and Wadsworth's division, which had been in the longest, was suffering severely. About one one o'clock Major-General Howard, riding in advance of his hastening corps, arrived on the field and assumed command. Carl Schurz was thus left in command of the Eleventh, while Doubleday remained temporarily Reynolds's successor in the First. The advance of the Eleventh soon came up and was thrown into position to the right of the First. They had little fighting immediately — but their time was coming. Meantime the First, that had already lost its General commanding and had held its ground against superior numbers, without supports, from ten till nearly two, took fresh courage as another corps came up, and all felt certain of winning the day. But alas! the old, old game was playing. The enemy was concentrating faster than we. Perhaps no one was to blame for it; no one among the living at least, and the thickly clustering honors that fitly crown the hero's grave bar all criticism and pardon all mistakes, if mistakes they were. About half-past 2 that afternoon, standing where we now stand, on Cemetery Hill, one might have seen a long, gray line, creeping down the pike and near the railroad on the north-east side of the town. Little pomp in their march, but much haste; few wagons, but the ammunition trains all up; and the battle-flags that float over their brigades are not our flags. It is the road from York--these are Stonewall Jackson's men — led now by Stonewall Jackson's most trusted and loved Lieutenant. That gray serpent, bending in and out through the distant hills, decides the day. They are in manifest communication with Hill's corps, now engaged, fully advised of their early losses, and of the exact situation. They bend up from the York road, debouch in the woods near the crest of the hill, and by three o'clock, with the old yell and the old familiar tactics, their battle-line comes charging down. Small resistance is made on our right. The Eleventh does not flee wildly from its old antagonists, as at their last meeting, when Stonewall Jackson scattered them as if they had been pigmies, foolishly venturing into the war of the Titans. It even makes stout resistance for a little while; but the advantage of position, as of numbers, is all with the rebels, and the line is forced to retire. It is done deliberately and without confusion, till they reach the town. Here the evil genius of the Eleventh falls upon it again. To save the troops from the terrible enfilading fire through the streets, the officers wheel them by detachments into cross-streets, and attempt to march them thus around one square after another, diagonally, through the town. The Germans are confused by the manoeuvre; perhaps the old panic at the battle-cry of Jackson's flying corps comes over them; at any rate they break in wild confusion, some pouring through the town a rout, and are with difficulty formed again on the heights to the southward. They lose over one thousand two hundred prisoners in twenty minutes. One of their Generals, Schempelfennig, an old officer in the Russian service in the Crimean war, is cut off, but he shrewdly takes to cover, conceals himself somewhere in the town, and finally escapes. But while our right is thus suddenly wiped out, how fares it with the left — Robinson, and Doubleday, and sturdy Wadsworth, with the Western troops? Sadly enough. By half-past 3, as they counted the time, the whole of A. P. Hill's corps, acting in concert now with Ewell, precipitated itself upon their line. These men are as old and tried soldiers as there are in the war, and they describe the fire that followed as the most terrific they have ever known. In a single brigade, (Cutler's,) in twenty minutes, every staff-officer had his horse shot under him, some of them two and three. In thirty minutes not a horse was left to General or staff, save one, and that one--as if the grim mockery of war there sought to outdo itself — had his tail shot off! General Cutler himself had three horses shot under him. Few troops could stand it. All of the First corps could not. Presently the thin line of fire began to waver and bend and break under those terrible volleys from the dark woods above. The officers, brave almost always to a fault, sought to keep them in. One--his name deserves to be remembered--Captain Richardson, of the Seventh Wisconsin, seized the colors of a retreating Pennsylvania regiment, and strove to rally the men around their flag. It was in vain; none but
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