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Their guns alone barred the road to Petersburg;

for, let me repeat, Cemetery Hill was naked of men. The officers of one battery, indeed, misbehaved, but these were promptly spurned aside, and the very spot of their defection made glorious by the heroic conduct of Hampton Gibbs of the artillery and Sam Preston of Wise's brigade, both of whom fell desperately wounded — while [286] spurring hard from the hospital, with the fever still upon him, came Hampden Chamberlayne, a young artillery officer of Hill's corps, who so handled these abandoned guns that from that day the battery bore his name, and he wore another bar upon his collar.1

Wright, of Halifax, opened too a withering fire from his light guns posted on a hill to the left, nor could he be silenced by the enemy's batteries, for his front was covered by a heavy fringe of pines2; and now the eight-inch mortars in rear of Wright, and Langhorne's ten-inch mortars, from the Baxter road, took part in the dreadful chorus.

On the Federal side, Griffin of Potter's division, not waiting for Wilcox, pushed forward his brigade, and gained ground to the north of the Crater, and Bliss' brigade of the same division, coming to his support, still further ground was gained in that direction.3 But his leading regiments, deflected by the hostile fire, bore to their left, and mingling with Ledlie's men swarming along the sides of the great pit, added to the confusion. Wilcox now threw forward a portion of his division and succeeded in occupying about one hundred and fifty yards of the works south of the Crater, but estopped by the fire of Chamberlayne's guns, and, whenever occasion offered, by the fire of the infantry, his men on the exposed flank gave ground, and pushing the right regiments into the Crater, the confusion grew worse confounded. Some of the men, indeed, from fear of suffocation, had already emerged from the pit and spread themselves to the right and left, but this was a matter of danger and difficulty, for the ground was scored with covered-ways and traverses, honey-combed with bomb-proofs, and swept by the artillery. Others of them pressed forward and got into the ditch of the unfinished gorge-lines, while not a few, creeping along the glacis of the exterior line, made their way over the parapet into the main trench. In all this, there was much hand-to-hand fighting, for many men belonging to the dismembered brigade [287] still found shelter behind the traverses and bomb-proofs, and did not easily yield.4

Meanwhile, General Meade,

1 As regards the execution of Chamberlayne's guns, see especially statement of General Warren--Report on the Conduct of the War (1865), vol. i, p. 166; General Hunt, pp. 98, 184; Duane, p. 100; and others. For general efficiency of the artillery fire, see Meade's Report, August 16th, 1864--Ib., p. 31; Colonel Loring's statement--Ib., p. 95; General Potter, p. 177.

2 Statement of General Potter--Ib., p. 87. Cf. statement of other Federal officers-Ib.

3 Burnside's official report, August 13th, 1864. Colonel Bliss, commanding First brigade, Second division, “remained behind with the only regiment of his brigade which did not go forward according to orders” --Opinion of the Court of Inquiry.--Report on the Conduct of the War (1865), vol. i, p. 217.

4 For all statements in above paragraph, cf. Report on the Conduct of the War (1865), vol. i, pp. 21, 92, 94, 96, 121, 157, 177, 201.

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