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[23] which had stood in the rain all night, while he warmly denounced the adhesive character of the “sacred soil.”

In the hospital the wounded were comparatively comfortable, and I thought the occasion a good one to secure their names, but red tape would not permit it. The doctors feared I would disturb the patients, and so, by their own neglect and their interference with others, many an anxious parent is kept in painful suspense, tremulously awaiting a report which, whether favorable or not, would at least be a source of relief to thousands.

At nine o'clock General McClellan and staff left headquarters for the battle-field. It was my privilege to accompany the party. Going to the right, we soon reached the scene of Hancock's brave exploits, and examined the formidable works which had fallen into his hands, and the obstacles he had so nobly overcome on the previous afternoon. The enemy had evidently thought him an easy prey, and a man with less resolution and deliberate courage would have fallen back, at least until reinforcements came up; but not so Gen. Hancock. Waiting until the rebel brigade with which he had been contesting the ground, inch by inch, left its shelter, and on the open field, a broad and beautiful expanse, undertook to advance rapidly upon him, he had recourse to the bayonet, and led the splendid charge which must forever be honorably associated with his name. It was a marvellous encounter, and our men speak highly of the bearing of the foe. The field was literally strewn with the dead and dying, and it is believed that the enemy nowhere suffered so severely. His force is said to have consisted of North-Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia troops.

Already our troops had begun the solemn work of burying the rebel dead on the right. The bodies had, many of them, been gathered from the field, and conveyed to different points where pits had been dug for their reception. I halted at several of these to look at the mangled remains. Death had found the unfortunate victims in various attitudes. One was in the act of raising his gun to fire, and had stiffened in the same position — another was opening his cartridge-box and had died in the attempt--a third was evidently retreating, and had fallen with his back to our advance — a fourth clasped his hands to his pistol and so received the fatal shot. The wounds were even more singular and repulsive than I had noticed in our hospital. Several were shot in the mouth, some through the face. By the bursting of a shell, one had his head blown off, another had his back fairly broken, and still another had his heart torn to pieces. Already the blackness of corruption darkened many of the faces, and it seemed imperatively necessary that the bodies should be put under the earth as speedily as possible.

The barns, fences, and trees near the battlefield were sadly injured, and even the brute creation had suffered in the conflict, for at one point I saw the remains of a young colt which had been killed by a round shot. Here and there pools of clotted blood showed where the dead and dying soldiers had lain, and the bodies of a number remained as they had fallen. Ever and anon a musket, a coat, a sword on the ground, indicated the hasty withdrawal of its owner, and his determination to suffer no impediment in his flight.

The wheat, which had grown to the height of a foot in most of the fields where the severest fighting took place, was of course sadly trampled, and it is doubtful whether the liberal infusion of human blood which the earth received will be sufficient to restore the crop to a vigorous growth. As there was no rebel cavalry or artillery engaged at this part of the field, few dead horses were to be seen. Here and there one, probably the property of a colonel or a major, was stretched in death, or lingering in a miserable existence, from which it were a kindness to relieve it by a well-directed shot.

The forts on the right, taking Fort Page as the centre-piece of the works, were shrewdly located and admirably built, but poorly defended. One or more of them had not been used to any extent. Rifle-pits were abundant, and are more popular with the rebel engineers than with ours. They were, however, considerably exposed and used to little purpose. The forts were not unlike those of our construction near Washington, and were, as we learned from the contrabands and prisoners, built, like those at Yorktown, by the negroes, under the superintendence of overseers, some of whom, according to the contrabands, were cruel task-masters. Mention was made of one, who continually lashed the poor blacks, repeating a hundred times a day: “Not a spadeful of earth shall be wasted.” Most of the contrabands have worked upon the fortifications, and one cause of their rejoicing at the arrival of our army is, that they will no longer, in all probability, have to labor so severely, and in a line for which they are not especially fitted and certainly have no taste.

Passing on to the centre fort, called Fort Page, we found it occupied by Neal's (late Birney's) Twenty-third Pennsylvania regiment, which, having come up in the night, with Graham's brigade, of Casey's division, as a reserve to Gen. Hancock, had early scoured the field.

The great fort was much damaged by our artillery fire. Only a siege-gun remained in it. Several broken caissons and some ammunition had been left. The trees around were many of them splintered by our shells, and the barracks on the Williamsburgh side were more or less shattered. Our men were exploring them, finding bacon, flour, and hominy, garments, muskets, and filth. The barracks, like all on the road from Yorktown, were better built and altogether more substantial than those occupied by our troops during the winter. Indeed, they were quite commodious and comfortable houses.

A drive to the left afforded an opportunity to examine the ground upon which Hooker had made his desperate stand, and performed, if not so brilliant, as heroic service as Hancock. At one o'clock in the morning the eagle-eyed Gen. Jameson,

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