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[310] they had farther to advance before reaching the field, and only arrived upon it after Tyler was repulsed. They had not been engaged during the day, but had suffered some casualties from premature explosions of Federal shell fired from the hills across the river. Hawkins's brigade led, advancing by right of companies as far as the railroad, where the brigade line was reformed and a fresh start taken, directed at the southern extremity of Marye's Hill. Harland's brigade was to follow in similar formation.

In view of the lateness of the hour, this charge was even more hopeless than any of the preceding. Hawkins had protested against it before starting, but the orders were explicit. By the time that the division crossed the railroad, it was so dark that distinct vision was limited to a few hundred feet. The first portion of the march was unobserved by the Confederates, and the line rapidly advanced until it came to marshy ground, through which ran a ditch to Hazel Run. Here they opened fire, and their position was defined to the Confederates by the flashes of their muskets, and infantry and artillery replied from Marye's Hill, from across Hazel Run, and from guns upon Lee's Hill. They crossed the ditch, however, and had advanced quite close to the sunken road, when suddenly the infantry in it opened fire, and, at the same time, fire was opened upon them from the right and rear by the line of Federals lying down, in front of whom their advance from the left had brought them. Hawkins thus describes the scene: —

‘When the brigade arrived at this cut [ditch] it received an enfilading fire from the enemy's artillery and infantry, but, notwithstanding, the plateau on the other side was gained, the left of the line advancing till within about 10 yards of a stone wall, behind which a heavy infantry force of the enemy was concealed, which opened an increased artillery and infantry fire, and, in addition to this, the brigade received the fire of the 83d Pa. Volunteers and of the 20th Me. Volunteers who were on the left of Gen. Couch's line, which our right had overlapped. This firing from all quarters, and from all directions, I should think, lasted about seven minutes, when I succeeded in stopping it and then discovered that the greatest confusion existed. Everybody, from the smallest drummer boy up, seemed to be shouting to the full of his capacity. After considerable exertion, comparative quiet and order were restored, and the command re-formed along the canal cut [ditch]. I then reported to you for ’

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