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[297] response, his infantry moved forward to seize the position occupied by Lieutenant Colonel Walker. The latter, reserving the fire of his fourteen pieces until their line had approached within less than eight hundred yards, opened upon it with such destructive effect as to cause it to waver and soon retreat in confusion.

About 1 P. M. the main attack on the right began by a furious cannonade, under cover of which three compact lines of infantry advanced against Hill's front. They were received as before and momentarily checked, but, soon recovering, they pressed forward until, coming within range of our infantry, the contest became fierce and bloody. Archer and Lane, who occupied the edge of a wood, repulsed those portions of the line immediately in front of them; before the interval between these commands could be closed, however, the assailants pressed through in overwhelming numbers and turned the left of Archer and the right of Lane. Attacked in front and flank, two regiments of the former and a brigade of the latter, after a brave resistance, gave way. Archer held his line until the arrival of reenforcements. Thomas came to the relief of Lane and repulsed the column that had broken his line, driving it back to the railroad. In the meantime a large force had penetrated the wood as far as Hill's reserve, where it was met by a fire for which it was not unprepared. General Hill says:1 ‘The advancing columns of the enemy encountered an obstacle at the military road which they little expected. Gregg's brigade of South Carolinians stood in the way.’ The advancing Federals were allowed to approach quite near, when that brigade poured a withering fire into the faces of Meade's men, and Early's division from the second line swept forward, and the contest in the woods was short and decisive. The enemy was quickly routed and driven out with very heavy loss, and, though largely reenforced, was pressed back and pursued to the shelter of the railroad embankment. Here he was gallantly charged by the brigades of Hoke and Atkinson, and driven across the plain to his batteries. The attack on Hill's left was repulsed by the artillery on that part of the line, against which a hot fire from twenty-four guns was directed. The repulse of the foe on our right was decisive and the attack was not renewed, but his batteries kept up an active fire at intervals, and sharpshooters skirmished along the front during the afternoon.

While these events were transpiring on our right, the enemy, in formidable numbers, made repeated and desperate assaults upon the left of our line. About 11 A. M., having massed his troops under cover of the

1 Reports of the Army of Northern Virginia, Vol. II, p. 463.

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A. P. Hill (4)
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