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[198] consciousness that a great army stood behind them.

Still, the ground was stubbornly contested, foot by foot; Gen. Hatch, commanding the 1st division, being disabled by a wound, and succeeded by Gen. A. Doubleday. Col. Wain-wright, 76th New York, who now took command of Doubleday's brigade, was likewise wounded. But Hooker steadily advanced; and had fairly flanked and worsted the Rebel left, when darkness put an end to the fray.

The struggle on our left commenced later, and was signalized by similar gallantry on both sides; but numbers prevailed over desperation, and the Rebels were steadily forced back until the crest of the mountain was won. Here fell, about sunset, Maj.-Gen. Jesse L. Reno, mortally wounded by a musket-ball, while, at the head of his division, he was watching through a glass the enemy's movements.

Gen. Meade, with the Pennsylvania Reserves, had followed Hooker from Catoctin creek up the old Hagerstown road, so far as Mount Tabor church. He went into action on the right of Hatch's division, and was soon heavily engaged; his brigades being admirably handled by Gen. Seymour and Cols. Magilton and Gallagher, the last of whom was wounded. It had not fully reached the summit in its front, when darkness arrested the conflict. Gen. Duryea's brigade of Ricketts's division, which had been ordered to its support, was just then coming into action.

Our advance up the turnpike in the center, being contingent on success at either side, was made last, by Gibbon's brigade of Hatch's, and Hartsuff's of Ricketts's division; the artillery fighting its way up the road, with the infantry supporting on either side. The struggle here was obstinate, and protracted till 9 o'clock, when Gibbon's brigade had nearly reached the top of the pass, and had exhausted every cartridge; suffering, of course, severely. At midnight, it was relieved by Gorman's brigade of Sumner's corps, which, with Williams's, had reached the foot of the mountain a little after dark. Richardson's division had also arrived, and taken position in the rear of Hooker; while Sykes's division of regulars and the artillery reserve had halted for the night at Middletown; so that McClellan had most of his army in hand, ready to renew the action next morning.

But Lee, who was also present, and whose end had been secured by the precious hours here gained for his Harper's Ferry operations, withdrew his forces during the night; so that, when our skirmishers advanced next morning, they encountered only the dead and the desperately wounded.1

1 Gen. McClellan sent four successive dispatches to Gen. Halleck concerning this affair; whereof the following is the latest and most erroneous:

headquarters army of the Potomac, Bolivar Sept. 15--10 A. M.
To H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief:
Information this moment received completely confirms the rout and demoralization of the Rebel army. Gen. Lee is reported wounded and Garland killed. Gen. Hooker alone has over a thousand more prisoners; 700 having been sent to Frederick. It is stated that Lee gives his loss as fifteen thousand. We are following as rapidly as the men can move.

McClellan seems here to suppose that he had fought and beaten the main body of the Rebel army; yet how could he think so with Lee's order of the 9th before him?

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