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[21] good troops, though weary with long and rapid marching, under the sturdy lead of Heintzelman, were not long in turning the tide in our favor, though it cost them, especially the Scott Life-Guard and Mozart regiments of New-York, a heavy outlay of life.

Troops of less experience and hardihood would have flinched where these faced the music with a stubbornness which must have surprised the enemy.

Meantime Smith's division was doing nobly on the right and centre. Hancock's brigade, composed of the Fifth Wisconsin, Forty-third New-York, Forty-ninth Pennsylvania, and Sixth Maine regiments, was on the extreme right, while Brooks's Vermont brigade occupied the centre, and both bore the heat of battle most nobly. Every few moments couriers brought tidings of the steadiness of these fine brigades, and our expectation that they would do themselves great honor during the day was by no means disappointed. Everywhere the enemy found them stern and determined combatants, and worthy their exalted reputation.

At headquarters, Whittaker's house, a sightly locality opposite the centre of our lines, between which and the enemy's works there was a narrow wood, Gens. Sumner, Keyes, and Heintzelman were in frequent consultation. The former, though few troops of his corps were upon the field, by virtue of his rank was in command. The active duties of the day were, however, performed by Keyes and Heintzelman, who were indefatigable, and by their clear comprehension of the exigencies of the contest added, if possible, to their excellent fame as commanders. The Union army boasts of no better soldiers than these two gallant and popular men. Whatever of unnecessary delay there may have been in bringing forth reinforcements during the day, it cannot be attributed to them.

At four o'clock in the afternoon the battle was at its height. The scene from headquarters at that time was exciting and imposing beyond description. Skirting the woods to the left, to the right, and before us, forming a half-circle two or three miles in extent, were thousands of our infantry men, pouring a steady fire into the dense forests, where the enemy was steadily advancing. From my horse I could see the smoke of the muskets gracefully curling among the tall trees and hear the crackling reports, which at every moment announced the severity of our attack, and brought forth the prompt response of the confederates; and now for the first time the rebel artillery began to be effective in the centre of our lines. The hissing shells were thrown nearer, and with greater precision, and even burst beyond headquarters, to the consternation of some of the youthful aids-de-camps who had never been under fire, and to the greater alarm of the women and children yet remaining in the house.

Now, also, our own reserves were coming up. Gen. Keyes had, in person, driven back a mile or two and urged them forward. Casey's division, headed by that venerable officer, who has so long and faithfully served his country, reached the plateau to the rear of headquarters. Couch's division also appeared. Now, too, the artillery and cavalry held in reserve drew near to the scene of action, and prepared for an immediate engagement. Several additional batteries were sent forward. Ayres was throwing his screeching missiles far into the enemy's ranks, and Mott opened an “infernal fire” on the centre, while far on the right and left the din of our guns was incessant, the tumult of battle loud and furious. Yet messengers, their steeds

Bloody with spurring, fiery-red with haste,

flew to headquarters with the report that on our left the desperate enemy was again pressing us in, while from the right Hancock sent for reenforcements without delay. The sombre clouds, dispensing their copious waters upon the marshaled armies, were not darker than our prospects now appeared; but the arrival of additional armies, their careful placing and strength, and the knowledge that the main body of our force could not be far behind, inspired fresh confidence in our ranks. The battle waged savagely. Men never fought more doggedly. Death was never met with more of genuine heroism. The vacancies in the lines were speedily filled, the enemy was met shot for shot and gun for gun. The army of the Potomac, long drilled, long in waiting, eager to avenge the slaughter and repulse at Bull Run and Ball's Bluff, knew no such word as fail.

When the firing was the most terrific, and the anxiety the most intense, there came from the rear of our ranks a sound which seemed for the moment to subdue the roar even of the artillery. All eyes and ears were turned to discover its origin, which proved to be the approach of Gen. McClellan and staff. Throughout the day he had been momentarily expected, and his opportune coming was hailed with long and enthusiastic cheering. Regiment after regiment, as he was quickly recognised, gave utterance to a welcome of which Napoleon might have been proud. Arriving at headquarters, he — without dismounting from his horse — held a brief consultation with Gen. Keyes, and approving his course, and especially his order for reenforcements to Gen. Hancock, joined him in a ride throughout our lines. His appearance was everywhere the signal for an outburst of the wildest applause. He wore a plain blue coat, and had his cap enveloped in a glazed covering. The rapidity of his ride to the field had well spattered him with mud, and the drenching rain had penetrated his every garment. He, however, showed no signs of fatigue, and it was not until he had in person familiarized himself with the entire field, and by critical observation studied the exact position of the enemy, that he accepted the shelter of a room which had been reserved for him at headquarters.

Thus matters stood at nightfall, when word came that Gen. Hancock had met the enemy in a bayonet charge and thoroughly routed him,

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