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[178] the heroic Ninth. They near the foot of the hill and from behind the Sunken Road and the stone wall bursts a bright sheet of flame. The blue line melts away, but still it staggers forward. Reno's old brigade reaches the road. They hold their own. They gather head. The enemy flee up the hill and the day is half won.

Hancock rushes forward with his division, but Early flings himself down the hill with his fresh troops,—a few minutes' wild work and the position is lost again, and the shattered brigades of the Ninth fall back in the rear of Hancock's advancing line.

A little while the anxious forces held in reserve await the reforming of the broken Ninth, Then word comes that Reynolds has turned the enemy's right, and they hope,—and wait.

Then they hear that Reynolds has not been supported and has lost what he so bravely won. Then Hancock is moving again. Steadily and swiftly his gallant forces near the rebel works. Again pelts that storm of shell upon the open plain. Again opens that rain of Hell from the Sunken Road in front. Again the line of blue staggers up that grassy slope, to melt away at the foot of the hill and fall back, shattered, bleeding and breathless.

The guns of Franklin and Hooker thunder on the left and centre. French advances. The shattered commands of Hancock and of Parks give him passage and the splendid Third Division rushes over the bloody slope to certain death beyond.

With awful rage the anxiously waiting lines held in abeyance see them slaughtered as were those who had gone before, and in half an hour French reels back with but half his heroes.

The waiting line closes up, belts are tightened, all extra weights thrown away. Silence falls upon the ranks, for all know that they must traverse those heaps of dead; that they, too, must soon face that storm of death.

They wait, and at last the order comes to advance.

At three o'clock in the afternoon the lines move forward, slowly at first, and then with swifter pace. The Twentieth Massachusetts and the Seventh Michigan were with the Nineteenth and, marching by the left flank, the regiments followed the bank of the river for a short distance, then, turning suddenly

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Hancock (4)
John P. Reynolds (2)
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