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[389] them along the whole line. The first blow was struck, and so well aimed was it that the engineer troops were soon driven from their work with decimated ranks, and the loss of the directing officer, Captain Cross, and all work upon the bridges suspended until the Confederate marksmen could be driven away. To accomplish this a number of guns were turned on their positions and a strong force of infantry deployed to assist; but the Confederate marksmen, sheltering themselves from the storm of artillery missiles as best they could, replied so well to the infantry, that two regiments alone, opposite the city, suffered1 one hundred and fifty casualties in a very short while. Under cover of this fire several fresh efforts were made to complete the bridges, but the pontoniers were unable to bear the strain for more than a few minutes at a time, and the work hardly progressed. About 10 o'clock General Burnside, probably at a loss what else to do, ordered every available gun to be trained upon the city, and fifty rounds fired from each. Few more magnificent spectacles were presented in the war than the one which followed, as viewed from the Confederate heights. The city, except its steeples, was veiled in the mist which yet settled in the valley. Above it, and in it, but partly obscured, could be seen the bright flashes, and round white clouds, which showed the positions of hundreds of bursting shells, and out of its midst swelled and rose dense black columns of smoke from several houses fired by their explosions. The amphitheatre of hills on the Federal side was crowned with forty blazing batteries, canopied in smoke, and shaking the earth with the incessant peals, at the rate of over a hundred per minute, while the slopes were darkened with near a hundred thousand infantry, who, in straight lines, compact column, and regular masses, powerfully impressed the mind with a sense of the tremendous and disciplined energies of war.

The more distant hills shone with numerous parks of white covered wagons and ambulances, and a thousand feet above the scene hovered two huge balloons, bearing watchful observers of the Confederate lines. From these lines not a gun replied, but their silence was omnious to those who appreciated the useful as distinguished from the moral effort of artillery, and the Confederate cannoneers and guns looked silently on, reserving themselves until the masses of infantry should come within their range. Groups of officers, and the refugee inhabitants,

1 These regiments were the 57th New York, under Lieutenant-Colonel Chapman, and the 66th New York, under Lieutenant-Colonel Bull, of Zooks's brigade, Hancock's division.--Swinton's Army of the Potomac.

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