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 passed with only an occasional exchange of shots at irregular intervals. At noon there was a lull, almost a deep silence, over the whole field. It was the ominous calm that precedes the storm. At one o'clock signal guns were fired on Seminary Ridge, and a few moments later there was a terrific outburst from one hundred and fifty Confederate guns, and the whole crest of the ridge, for two miles, was a line of flame. The scene was majestic beyond description. The scores of batteries were soon enveloped in smoke, through which the flashes of burning powder were incessant. The long line of Federal guns withheld their fire for some minutes, when they burst forth, answering the thunder of those on the opposite hill. An eye-witness declares that the whole sky seemed filled with screaming shells, whose sharp explosions, as they burst in mid-air, with the hurtling of the fragments, formed a running accompaniment to the deep, tremendous roar of the guns. Many of the Confederate shots went wild, passing over the Union army and plowing up the earth on the other side of Cemetery Ridge. But others were better aimed and burst among the Federal batteries, in one of which twenty-seven out of thirty-six horses were killed in ten minutes. The Confederate fire seemed to be concentrated upon one point between Cemetery Ridge and Little Round Top, near a clump of scrub oaks. Here the batteries were demolished and men and horses were slain by scores. The spot has been called “Bloody angle.” The Federal fire proved equally accurate and the destruction on Seminary Ridge was appalling. For nearly two hours the hills shook with the tremendous cannonading, when it gradually slackened and ceased. The Union army now prepared for the more deadly charge of infantry which it felt was sure to follow. They had not long to wait. As the cannon smoke drifted away from between the lines fifteen thousand of Longstreet's
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