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[469] horse which he rode, the elevated place where he was, all made him a most dangerously conspicuous mark. So he had been all day, riding often without a staff-officer or an orderly near him — all sent off on urgent duty — visible every where on the field. The rebel bullets had followed him all day, but they had not hit him, and he would not regard them.

Remounting on this hill, he had not ridden five steps when he was struck in the foot by a ball. Three men were shot down at the same moment by his side. The air was alive with bullets. He kept on his horse a few minutes, though the wound was severe and excessively painful, and would not dismount till he had given his last order to advance. He was himself in the very front. Swaying unsteadily on his horse, he turned in his seat to look about him. “There is a regiment to the right. Order it forward! Crawford and Gordon are coming up. Tell them to carry those woods and hold them — and it is our fight!”

It was found that the bullet had passed completely through his foot. The surgeon who examined it on the spot could give no opinion whether bones were broken, but it was afterward ascertained that though grazed they were not fractured. Of course the severity of the wound made it impossible for him to keep the field, which he believed already won, so far as it belonged to him to win it. It was nine o'clock. The fight had been furious since five. A large part of his command was broken, but with his right still untouched, and with Crawford's and Gordon's brigades just up; above all, with the advance of the whole central line, which the men had heard ordered with cheers, and with a regiment already on the edge of the woods he wanted, he might well leave the field, thinking the battle was won — that his battle was won, for I am writing only about the attack on the rebel left.

I see no reason why I should disguise my admiration of Gen. Hooker's bravery and soldierly ability. Remaining nearly all the morning on the right, I could not help seeing the sagacity and promptness of his movements, how completely his troops were kept in hand, how devotedly they trusted him, how keen was his insight into the battle, how every opportunity was seized and every reverse was checked and turned into another success. I say this the more unreservedly, because I have no personal relation whatever with him, never saw him till the day before the fight, and don't like his politics or opinions in general. But what are politics in such a battle?

Sumner arrived just as Hooker was leaving, and assumed command. Crawford and Gordon had gone into the woods, and were holding them stoutly against heavy odds. As I rode over toward the left I met Sumner at the head of his column, advancing rapidly through the timber, opposite where Crawford was fighting. The veteran General was riding alone in the forest, far ahead of his leading brigade, his hat off, his gray hair and beard and moustache strangely contrasting with the fire in his eyes and his martial air, as he hurried on to where the bullets were thickest.

Sedgwick's division was in advance, moving forward to support Crawford and Gordon. Rebel reinforcements were approaching also, and the struggle for the roads was again to be renewed. Sumner sent forward two divisions — Richardson and French--on the left. Sedgwick, moving in column of divisions through the woods in rear, deployed and advanced in line over the corn-field. There was a broad interval between him and the nearest division, and he saw that if the rebel line were complete, his own division was in immediate danger of being flanked. But his orders were to advance, and those are the orders which a soldier — and Sedgwick is every inch a soldier — loves best to hear.

To extend his own front as far as possible, he ordered the Thirty-fourth New-York to move by the left flank. The manoeuvre was attempted under a fire of the greatest intensity, and the regiment broke. At the same moment the enemy, perceiving their advantage, came round on that flank. Crawford was obliged to give way on the right, and his troops pouring in confusion through the ranks of Sedgwick's advance brigade, threw it into disorder and back on the second and third lines. The enemy advanced, their fire increasing.

Gen. Sedgwick was three times wounded, in the shoulder, leg, and wrist, but he persisted in remaining on the field so long as there was a chance of saving it. His Adjutant-General, Major Sedgwick, bravely rallying and trying to re-form the troops, was shot through the body, the bullet lodging in the spine, and fell from his horse. Severe as the wound is, it is probably not mortal. Lieut. Howe, of Gen. Sedgwick's staff, endeavored vainly to rally the Thirty-fourth New-York. They were badly cut up and would not stand. Half their officers were killed or wounded, their colors shot to pieces, the color-sergeant killed, every one of the color-guard wounded. Only thirty-two were afterward got together.

The Fifteenth Massachusetts went into action with seventeen officers and nearly six hundred men. Nine officers were killed or wounded, and some of the latter are prisoners. Capt. Simons, Capt. Saunders of the sharp-shooters, Lieut. Derby, and Lieut. Berry are killed. Capt. Bartlett and Capt. Jocelyn, Lieut. Spurr, Lieut. Gale, and Lieut. Bradley are wounded. One hundred and thirty-four men were the only remains that could be collected of this splendid regiment.

Gen. Dana was wounded. Gen. Howard, who took command of the division after Gen. Sedgwick was disabled, exerted himself to restore order; but it could not be done there. Gen. Sumner ordered the line to be re-formed. The test was too severe for volunteer, troops under such a fire. Sumner himself attempted to arrest the disorder, but to little purpose. Lieut.-Col. Revere and Capt. Audenried of his staff were wounded severely, but not dangerously. It was

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William Sedgwick (16)
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