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[85] was moved from the rebel centre to their right, and Grant, perceiving the opportunity for which he laid his plans, without waiting longer for Hooker, ordered the assault on the enemy's weakened centre. The troops eagerly obeyed the order, and advanced in splendid style towards the enemy's lines, utterly regardless of the heavy artillery fire which was poured into them. Without firing a gun, they charged with glistening bayonets through the enemy's first line, completely overwhelming it by their irresistible advance. Then they began to climb the steep and rugged sides of the ridge, met by a stout resistance, but steadily advancing their colors, struggling up the difficult ascent, and fighting with untiring energy and bravery.

While Grant and Thomas anxiously watched the progress of this assault, a portion of the line seemed to halt half way up the ridge, as if the troops there had met with an overpowering resistance, and the numbers of wounded men who straggled down the hill gave the appearance of a repulse. Thomas, though usually cool and collected in battle, was keenly alive to the importance of success at this crisis, and said, with much feeling and some hesitation as he watched,--

“General, I'm afraid they won't get up.”

But Grant, watching more narrowly for a few minutes, saw that the colors still advanced, though slowly, and knowing that the troops must be fatigued by the extraordinary exertions of their rapid charge, but still having full confidence in them and in the success of his plans, he replied in his usual quiet manner, still smoking his cigar,--

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Ulysses S. Grant (3)
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