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[581] prisoners, and, striking Warren's left, cut off and captured 400 more; arresting Warren's extension to the left, by compelling him to look to the safety of his corps. But new dispositions were made, and Grant and Meade, now at Cold Harbor, resolved that the Rebel lines should be forced on the morrow.1

The two armies held much of the ground covered by McClellan's right, under Fitz-John Porter, prior to Lee's bold advance, nearly two years before: Gaines's mill being directly in the rear of the Confederate center; while Sheridan's cavalry patrolled the roads in our rear leading to our base at White House, covered our left and observed the Chickahominy eastward of Richmond. Wilson, with his cavalry division, watched our right flank. Burnside was still on Warren's right and rear; Smith, Wright, and Hancock stretched farther and farther to the left. In our front, Lee not only had a very good position naturally, but he knew how to make the most of its advantages — the single point in which (but it is a vital one) his admirers can justify their claim for him of a rare military genius. No other American has ever so thoroughly appreciated and so readily seized the enormous advantage which the increased range, precision; and efficiency given to musketry by rifling, have insured to the defensive, when wielded by a commander who knows how speedily a trench may be dug and a slight breastwork thrown up which will stop nine-tenths of the bullets that would otherwise draw blood. The lessons of Bunker Hill and New Orleans, impressive as they were, must have been trebly so had our, countrymen been armed with the Enfield rifle or Springfield musket of to-day.

At sunrise, or a little before, the assault was made2 along our whole front-bravely, firmly, swiftly made; and as swiftly repulsed with terrible slaughter. On our left, Barlow's division of Hancock's corps gained a transitory advantage; dislodging the enemy from their position in a sunken road, taking three guns and several hundred prisoners. But his second line failed to advance promptly to the support of the first, against which the enemy rallied in overwhelming force, retaking their defenses, hurling Barlow back, but not to the lines from which he started. He fell back a few yards only, and covered his front so quickly that the enemy could not dislodge him.

Gibbon,charging on Barlow's right, was checked by a swamp, which separated his command: part of which gained the Rebel works nevertheless; Col. McMahon planting his colors on their intrenchments a moment before he fell mortally wounded. No part of the Rebel works was held; but part of Gibbon's men also covered themselves so close to the enemy's lines that, while the Rebels dared not come out to capture them, they could not get away, save by crawling off under cover of fog or thick darkness.

Wright's and Smith's assaults were less determined — at all events, less sanguinary — than Hancock's; and Warren, having a long line to hold, was content to hold it. Burnside swung two of his divisions around to flank the enemy's left, which lie hotly engaged, and must have worsted had

1 June 3.

2 June 3.

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