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[246] of the battle was unceasing. About the middle of the afternoon a breeze lifted the smoke that had enveloped the whole battle-line in darkness, and revealed the fact that the Federals were being pressed back toward Gettysburg. General Carl Schurz, who after Reynolds' death directed the extreme right near Rock Creek, leaving nearly half of his men dead or wounded on the field, retreated toward Cemetery Hill, and in passing through the town the Confederates pursued and captured a large number of the remainder. The left wing, now unable to hold its position owing to the retreat of the right, was also forced back, and it, too, took refuge on Cemetery Hill, which had been selected by General O. O. Howard; and the first day's fight was over. It was several hours before night, and had the Southerners known of the disorganized condition of the Union troops, they might have pursued and captured a large part of the army. Meade, who was still some miles from the field, hearing of the death of Reynolds, had sent Hancock to take general command until he himself should arrive.

Hancock had ridden at full speed and arrived on the field between three and four o'clock in the afternoon. His presence soon brought order out of chaos. His superb bearing, his air of confidence, his promise of heavy reenforcements during the night, all tended to inspire confidence and to renew hope in the ranks of the discouraged army. Had this day ended the affair at Gettysburg, the usual story of the defeat of the Army of the Potomac would have gone forth to the world. Only the advance portions of both armies had been engaged; and yet the battle had been a formidable one. The Union loss was severe. A great commander had fallen, and the rank and file had suffered the fearful loss of ten thousand men.

Meade reached the scene late in the night, and chose to make this field, on which the advance of both armies had accidentally met, the place of a general engagement. Lee had come to the same decision, and both called on their outlying

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John F. Reynolds (2)
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