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[63] dense array and perfect order. Nine thousand of them form line in the face of the foe at 7 o'clock, immediately assume the offensive, and roll back that mighty host a fourth of a mile in an hour. Pausing to recover breath, to adjust their lines, and to await the arrival of their comrades, they again attack at 9 o'clock, and again press back the foe, disorganized and shattered, to “reform behind their breastworks.” Cheated out of a complete victory by the fall of their leader, they pause to recover their exhausted strength. At 4 o'clock they summon their energies for a final assault upon that triple line of fortifications. The result serves to indicate how easy the victory would have been at 9 o'clock, before time had been allowed to reform. Let an eye witness, the correspondent of the New York World, tell the story: “Mott's division fell back in confusion; Stevenson's division gave way confusedly, compelling the left center to fall back some distance. One of its regiments was captured almost in a body. There was imminent danger of a general break. * * Stragglers for the first time streamed to the rear in large numbers, choking the roads, and causing a panic by their stampede. It was even reported at headquarters that the enemy had broken entirely through.” 1

But again capricious Fortune snatches the victory from their grasp. Neither a Jackson nor a Longstreet is there to seize the critical moment, and by a general advance to overwhelm the foe, now tottering on the verge of ruin. The assailing force is not supported. They reach the limit of endurance; their progress ceases. At length, assailed in flank, they sullenly retire.

And now, after the almost superhuman exertions which they have put forth, those frowning lines still confront them; that coveted prize, the road to Richmond, is still in possession of the foe. The victory which they have gained becomes a shadow in their grasp; but the glory which they have won neither disaster nor overthrow, nor years of humiliation and suffering, nor time itself, can ever dim. Many a day of toil and night of watching, many a weary march and tempest of fire, still await those grim and ragged veterans; but they have taught the world a lesson that will not soon be forgotten, and have lighted up the gloom of that dark forest with a radiance that will abide so long as heroism awakens a glow of admiration in the hearts of men.

W. F. Perry. Glenndale, Kentucky.

1 Quoted by Mr. Leigh Robinson.

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