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‘Again the work of hell’ With painful realism the camera has furnished an illustration for Gassaway's line in The pride of Battery B. But even the horror of this view fails to give a true idea of the fearful slaughter at this point of the battlefield. About nine o'clock the Confederates fighting in the vicinity of the little Dunker Church heard the shout, ‘They are flanking us!’ ‘This cry spread like an electric shock along the ranks. In a moment they broke and fell to the rear,’ says General D. H. Hill. In the rear of the fleeing companies General Rodes immediately formed a line along an old sunken road. The soldiers rendered the position more secure by piling rails upon the ridge. Some of these rails are seen scattered along the edge of the ditch. General Hill continues: ‘It was now apparent that the grand attack would be made upon my position, which was the center of the line. Before reenforcements arrived a heavy force advanced in three parallel lines, with all the precision of a parade day, upon my two brigades. They met with a galling fire, however, recoiled, and fell back; again advanced and again fell back, and finally lay down behind the crest of the hill and kept up an irregular fire.’ Owing to an unfortunate blunder, Rodes's men retreated, whereupon the Federal troops charged and after a fierce struggle drove the Confederate force from its position. General Hill concludes: ‘The unparalleled loss of the division shows that, spite of hunger and fatigue, the officers and men fought most heroically.’ The ‘Bloody Lane’ was full of the men who had defended their position to the bitter end.


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D. H. Hill (3)
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