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[120] General orders were read, and in the too calm quiet of this summer night, this command waited for orders to move into column. Gettysburg was more than thirty miles away, and the route thither was not direct. A march of thirty-five miles was before us.

It was between eight and nine o'clock, twenty-four hours after our arrival hither, that we set out at a quickstep, that soon became a trot until it would be necessary to halt for little, till interval had been gained by ranks and teams in advance. Then rapid movement would be resumed. It was a typical July night; the sultry air retaining the mid-day heat, there was an uncomfortable closeness.

The march was made with unflagging energy all night, and there was no relaxation of effort when the scorching sun of the 2d of July appeared to light another day's conflict on that field to which we were hastening. Now was the test of physical vigor, —to keep the ranks and make the requisite time, wipe away the perspiration, grin, and endure. So, for an hour after sunrise, men and horses well stood the test. Then there was a brief rest to answer the calls of nature, after which regiments and batteries were speeding on. Now the column moved through Westminster, the town having been well waked up by the beat of hoofs and the tramp of feet.

Let us digress here a moment, to record to the honor of this town, that when once a Confederate force approached it with a demand for supplies for 15,000 men and the threat to destroy the town if they were withheld, the fathers asked for time to remove the women and children, as they declined to accede to the demand for supplies. Fortunately, Union cavalry appearing at this juncture, the Confederates withdrew. The passage of the Sixth Corps on the morning of the 2d of July, caused perhaps a pleasanter awakening of the townspeople.

The next five miles are traversed with scarcely a break in the steady, rapid, forward movement. The sun's rays strike fiercely. Countenances are begrimed with dust and sweat. Now the progress is slower; the road is ascending for a way. We are moving due north. Now we hear the sound of cannon, peal on peal. At length, at noon, we reach a plateau, over which the road passes on the Pennsylvania side; there away to the north is a portion of the Federal line of battle. We see distinctly the batteries working upon the crest of a ridge, as we are moving forward to the scene.

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