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[48]

Suddenly the passing column was seen indistinctly through an opening and a volley burst forth and struck the officers. When the smoke lifted Longstreet and Jenkins were down — the former seriously wounded, and the latter killed outright. As at Chancellorsville a year before and on the same battleground, a great captain of the Confederacy was shot down by his own men, and by accident, at the crisis of a battle. Jackson lingered several days after Chancellorsville, while Longstreet recovered and lived to fight for the Confederacy till the surrender at Appomattox. General Wadsworth, of Hancock's corps, was mortally wounded during the day, while making a daring assault on the Confederate works, at the head of his men.

During the afternoon, the Confederate attack upon Hancock's and Burnside's forces, which constituted nearly half the entire army, was so severe that the Federal lines began to give way. The combatants swayed back and forth;the Confederates seized the Federal breastworks repeatedly, only to be repulsed again and again. Once, the Southern colors were placed on the Union battlements. A fire in the forest, which had been burning for hours, and in which, it is estimated, about two hundred of the Federal wounded perished, was communicated to the timber entrenchments, the heat and smoke driving into the faces of the men on the Union side, and compelling them in some places to abandon the works. Hancock made a gallant and heroic effort to re-form his lines and push the attack, and, as he rode along the lines, his inspiring presence elicited cheer upon cheer from the men, but the troops had exhausted their ammunition, the wagons were in the rear, and as night was approaching, further attack was abandoned. The contest ended on the lines where it began.

Later in the evening consternation swept the Federal Camp when heavy firing was heard in the direction of Sedgwick's corps, on the right. The report was current that the entire Sixth Corps had been attacked and broken. What had happened was a surprise attack by the Confederates,

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