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[38] command to prepare to charge. The regiment fired three volleys (the battalion having breech-loading rifles), and allowed the Confederates to approach within a few rods. General Williams then gave the command: ‘Forward! double quick!’ and with a deafening cheer they rushed to the charge. The shock of two such masses advancing shook the entire field.

The struggle was fierce and the slaughter heavy. Four times the rebels made desperate efforts to come from among the tombs and cross the road, but were driven back each time, and finally they retreated in full panic.

On our right, in the meantime, the rebels, under General Clarke, made a desperate effort to flank us and get in our rear. It was here that the admirable generalship of Williams displayed itself. Anticipating this very movement, he had placed Manning's battery of six pieces, supported by the Wisconsin and Vermont regiments, while the Michigan Regiment was strongly posted at the crossing of the roads and commanding the entire approach of the enemy's left. Here the battle raged fiercely; and after the rebels' flank movement was repulsed and driven back, not to return, here it was that the gallant general fell, at the head of the Indiana and Michigan regiments, but not before victory had lighted up that fine manly face with its glow of triumph.

This was the signal for a general onset on both sides. Captain Nims lost two of his guns, but charged with his sabres and revolvers and retook them. The 21st Regiment repulsed three times their own numbers, and drove them back in confusion. I was at this time detached with the first platoon of our company (4th Regiment Wisconsin), to skirmish on the extreme left of the line, to prevent a surprise on our flank. I took a position one mile outside the old picket lines, in true Yankee style, behind stumps and trees. The rebels did not think it safe to honor us with a shot. We were fired at, however, by some of our pickets,

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Zebadiah Williams (2)
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