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Now was the crisis of the day,

and fortunate was it for maiden and matron of Petersburg, that even at this moment that there was filing into the ravine between Cemetery Hill and the drunken battalions of Ferrero, a stern array of silent men, clad in faded gray, resolved with grim resolve to avert from the mother-town a fate as dreadful as that which marked the three days sack of Badajos.

Lee, informed of the disaster at 6.10 A. M.,1 had bidden his aide, Colonel Charles Venable, to ride quickly to the right of the army and bring up two brigades of Anderson's old division, commanded by Mahone, for time was too precious to observe military etiquette and send the orders through Hill. Shortly after, the General-in-Chief reached the front in person, and all men took heart when they descried the grave and gracious face, and “Traveller” stepping proudly, as if conscious that he bore upon his back the weight of a nation. Beauregard was already at the Gee House, a commanding position five hundred yards in rear of the Crater, and Hill had galloped to the right to organize an attacking column,2 and had ordered down Pegram, and even now the light batteries of Brander and Ellett were rattling through the town at a sharp trot, with cannoniers mounted, the sweet, serene face of their boy-colonel lit up with that glow which to his men meant hotly-impending fight.

Venable had sped upon his mission, and found

1 The hour is taken from the note-book of the staff-officer who delivered the message from Beauregard to Lee, and who noted the exact time at the moment. This note-book was kindly placed at my disposal.

2 Statement of Lieutenant-Colonel W. H. Palmer, chief-of-staff to General Hill.

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Cemetery Hill (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
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Charles Venable (2)
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