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[234] immediately following a heavy firing of guns with the purpose of piercing his enemy's centre declared his belief in the weakness of that point and his confidence in the successful issue. He had tried the left and been repulsed. He had tried the right and been thrown back. History must record the soundness of his judgment, and how victory barely escaped his grasp. Although the busy preparations of Lee's lines were evident, the morning was spent in absolute inaction on the part of the Second Corps. A brooding silence hung over all with a pall of dread anticipation. The period before a conflict which is plainly inevitable, impresses a solemn sense upon all, with greater force the higher the organization.

The division lay there, resting on its arms, scarcely a movement making itself apparent to disturb the universal hush. The Nineteenth regiment lay to the left and a little to the rear of the grove on the westerly side of the ridge, which was very low at that point. The Forty-Second New York was in line with it, the Twentieth Massachusetts was directly in front in the first line, lying behind a slight breastwork made by throwing some earth up against a low stone fence, topped with rails. On the crest of the ridge, in front of the spot where the Nineteenth Massachusetts and the Forty-Second New York regiments were in line was Rorty's battery.

The day was extremely hot and many of the men improvised shelters by inverting their muskets, with the bayonets stuck in the ground, thus making posts of them, to which, by means of the hammers, pieces of shelter tents or blankets were fastened.

Some of the officers had been fortunate enough to secure something to eat and were enjoying it, spread upon a blanket just in the rear of the line of stacks. Just at one o'clock the sharp report of a shotted gun within the enemy's lines, broke the oppressive stillness. It was plainly a signal. In an instant a round shot came bounding diagonally over the ridge, like a rubber ball. Instantly there was another report and a second shot came over from the same direction and following the same course. Lieut. Sherman Robinson, of Co. A was among the group of officers and had leaped to his feet at the sound of the

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