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[145] of the Sixth, held the Union left. Gen. French, with the remainder of the Third, and the Second Corps, the centre; Gen. Sedgwick with his Sixth Corps, the right, and the Third Brigade of the Second Division of our corps, consisting of the Seventh Maine, Forty-third, Forty-ninth, and Seventy-seventh New York, and Sixtyfirst Pennsylvania, was the right of Sedgwick's infantry line, and our company was the right battery of the light artillery of Sedgwick's corps. Our appproach to this place had been carefully concealed, and elevated ground in our front hid us from the view of the enemy, who were within range of our smooth-bores. Silence was enjoined upon the men of our command; it was forbidden to light fires, and that night a majority of the boys of the various corps were in active exercise, that the blood might not congeal in their veins. On Monday morning every Union soldier knew that an assault upon the Confederate position meant a frightful sacrifice of human life, but no man hesitated. The First Massachusetts Battery opened the ball on the extreme right, and soon the thunder of Sedgwick's artillery was heard by the other sections of the Federal line. Nearly an hour had the right been engaged, yet no sound had escaped the left. Gen. Warren had examined the Confederate position in his front, and finding that it had been so strengthened during the night as to render it certain that an attack upon it would result in the useless slaughter of the larger portion of his command, he assumed the responsibility of suspending the attack until Gen. Meade arrived, whose survey of the situation caused him to approve the course of Gen. Warren. We were ordered to cease firing.


Then followed the night retreat of the 2d of December, in the earlier part of which men would leap from their horses to put their numbed feet into the blazing fires along the line of march, and in the latter part were dozing in the saddle, having succumbed to fatigue.

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