from their or our batteries. Most of us got some coffee during the forenoon, by going one or two at a time back to the rear, where they were allowed fires and cooking, which of course greatly refreshed us. A man's appetite generally, during a battle, is not very voracious. About half past 12 o'clock, as we had gathered around one of our Lieutenants to hear the yesterday's Baltimore Clipper read, bang! comes one of their shells over us, striking about twenty yards from us. That stopped the reading; each man took his place, lay down, and for the next two hours hugged the ground just about as close as human beings are generally in the habit of doing. The first gun was the signal for a hundred more to open, at less than half a mile distance, while till then their existence was perfectly unknown to us. Such an artillery fire has never been witnessed in this war. The air seemed to be filled with the hissing, screaming, bursting missiles, and all of them really seemed to be directed at us. They knew our exact position, for before we lay down they could with the naked eye plainly see us, and where our lines were, and tried to explode their shells directly over us; but fortunately most of them just went far enough to clear us, while many struck in front of us and bounded over us. We lay behind a slight rise of ground, just enough, by lying close, to hide us from the view of the rebels. A good many shell and pieces struck mighty close to us, and among us, but strange to say, none of us were injured, while the troops that lay behind us had many killed and wounded. Our batteries replied, but for the first time in our experience, they were powerless to silence the rebels, and in fact, many of our guns were silenced. So many of their horses and men were killed that they could not work their guns, and drew them off the field. Caisson after caisson blew up, and still the rebels' fire was fierce and rapid as ever. I kept thinking, surely they cannot fire much longer; their guns will get so hot they will have to stop, and they cannot afford, so far from their base, to waste so much ammunition. It was awful hot where we lay, with the sun shining down on us, and we so close to the ground that not a breath of air could reach us. We kept wishing and hoping they would dry up, as much to get out of the heat as the danger, for the latter we thought little of, after they had fired a while; but Lee had an object to attain by throwing away so much ammunition. He calculated by concentrating his fire on our centre that he could use up our batteries, drive away and demoralize our infantry lines, for owing to the shape of our lines, a shell coming from the rebels, if it failed to do any damage to the front lines, could scarcely fail to go into the reserves that lay back of us; and in fact many more were killed in the rear than in the front, though their fire was directed at the front line and batteries nearly altogether. Had he succeeded in doing what he expected, and got the position we occupied, we were defeated, and so badly that I much doubt our ability to stop their progress towards Baltimore, or anywhere they chose to go. But Mr. Lee got fooled for once, and threw away a mighty sight of good ammunition, and derived little benefit from it. Well, after firing about two hours and a half, they slackened up, and soon the order came, “Be ready, for they are running,” (their infantry.) We had expected it, and it was not many seconds before every man had on his armor, and was anxiously awaiting the coming of the foe. They had to advance more than half a mile across open fields. They came out of the woods in three lines, and advanced in good order till they got more than half way to us, and in good range of our muskets, which of course we used, as did the battery pour grape and canister, when they closed in to their left, and massed together for a charge, on the part of the line held by the Second Philadelphia brigade of our division. As they closed together, we (our brigade) marched by flank to confound them, firing at them continually, pouring most of our shot into their flank, where every shot must tell. The Second brigade gave way before the rebels got to them, and commenced to fall back. Our brigade was hurried up, and the Third were brought up to the rescue, and with the Second, which soon rallied again, we charged the rebels just as they had planted one of their colors on one of our guns. A Vermont brigade was sent out to flank them, which they did handsomely. The rebels, now seeing the position they had got in, threw away their guns and gave themselves up by hundreds, and thus ended the great assault of Lee on the third. Not enough went back of Ricketts's division to make a good line of skirmishers. Another line came out on the left shortly afterwards, but they were repulsed as completely as the first, and with the exception of a little artillery firing, was the last of the fighting at Gettysburg. During the assault the rebels poured into us lots of shell and grape from their batteries, but we scarce paid any attention to it, having all we could attend to in the infantry. Our boys felt bully during all the fight of the third, and no one thought of running or of the danger, except the Second brigade; and some of these regiments, Baxter Zouaves, for instance, never were known to stand fire. We took revenge for what they had done to our poor fellows the day before, and we never had had such a chance before. Most of us fired over twenty rounds, and at close range enough to do splendid execution; and if we didn't kill some Secesh in that battle we never did, and I fear never will during the war. During the fight of the third, it might be said, almost, that every man fought on his own hook, for our division had been so used up the day before, that few officers were left. Generals Hancock and Gibbon were wounded early. Each man acted as though he felt what was at stake in the contest, and did all in their power to drive the enemy, without regard to officers, or whether there were any or not. Regiments all mixed up together, and in the last charge nearly all the flags of the division were together in a corner where the rebels got a hold. The flags of the rebel division were about the same, and when the assault was fully repulsed, they laid them on the ground in front of us, for
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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