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Now a storm of fire

bursts in red fury from the Federal front, and in an instant all the valley between the hostile lines lies shrouded in billowing smoke. Then Marshall, putting himself at the head of the stormers, sword in hand, bids his men to follow.

But there comes no response befitting the stern grandeur of the scene — no trampling charge — no rolling drums of Austerlitz — no fierce shouts of warlike joy as burst from the men of the “Light division” when they mounted the breach of Badajos, or from Frazer's “Royals” as they crowned the crimson slopes of St. Sebastian.

No, none of this is here. But a straggling line of the men of the Second brigade, First division, uttering a mechanical cheer, slowly mounts the crest, passes unmolested across the intervening space,1 and true to the instinct fostered by long service in the trenches, plunges into the crater, courting the friendly shelter of its crumbling sides.

Yonder lies Cemetery Hill in plain view, naked of men,2 and, hard beyond, the brave old town, nestling whitely in its wealth of green.

Silence still reigned along the Confederate lines, yet Ledlie's men did not advance, and now the supporting brigade of the same division running forward over the crest, and with an incredible folly crowding in upon their comrades, already huddled together in the shelving pit, all regimental and company organization was lost, and the men speedily passed from the control of their officers.3 [285]

If we except Elliott, who with the remnant of his brigade was occupying the ravine to the left and rear of the Crater, no officer of rank was present on the Confederate side to assume immediate direction of affairs, and a considerable time elapsed before Beauregard and Lee — both beyond the Appomattox — were informed by Colonel Paul, of Beauregard's staff, of the nature and locality of the disaster.

But almost on the moment,


1 Grant, Meade, Potter, Duane and others testify to this effect.--Ib., pp. 36, 87, 110, 116.

2 Statement of Captain F. U. Farquhar, U. S. Engineers: “There was not a soul between the Crater and that position, and I believe that position was the objective point of the assault” --Ib., p. 211; cf. testimony of other officers--Ib.

3 See testimony of General Grant--Ib., p. 110; Meade, p. 36; Pleasants, p. 116. As regards the men passing from control of their officers, see statement of Lieutenant-Colonel Loring--Ib., p. 92; General Hartranft, p. 190.

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