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[216] Weber, and succeeded in forcing back the enemy to a sunken road which runs almost at right angles with the Hagerstown road. This position was held by the division of D. H. Hill, three of whose brigades had been advanced to assist Jackson in his morning attacks; and it was these that were assailed by French and driven back in disorder to the sunken road.1 Uniting here with the other brigades of Hill, they received the attacks both of French and of Richardson's division to his left.

The latter division was composed of the brigades of Meagher, Caldwell, and Brooke. Meager first attacked, and fought his way to the possession of a crest overlooking the sunken road in which Hill's line was posted. After sustaining a severe musketry fire, by which it lost severely, this brigade, its ammunition being expended, was relieved by the brigade of Caldwell—the former breaking by companies to the rear, and the latter by companies to the front. Caldwell immediately became engaged in a very determined combat, and was supported by part of Brooke's brigade, the rest of the latter being posted on the right to thwart an effort on the part of the enemy to flank in that direction. The action here was of a very animated nature; for Hill, being re-enforced by the division of Anderson,2 assumed a vigorous offensive, and endeavored to seize a piece of high ground on the Union left,

1 These brigades were respectively those of Colquitt, Ripley, and McRae; and General Hill mentions the following curious circumstance as the cause of the repulse that befell them: ‘The men advanced with alacrity, secured a good position, and were fighting bravely, when Captain Thompson, Fifth North Carolina, cried out, “They are flanking us!” This cry spread like an electric shock along the ranks, bringing up vivid recollections of the flank fire at South Mountain. In a moment they broke and fell to the rear. Efforts were made to rally them in the bed of an old road, nearly at right angles to the Hagers. town pike, and which had been their position previous to the advance.’—Re ports of the Army of Northern Virginia, vol. II., p. 115.

2 ‘In the mean time, General R. H. Anderson reported to me with some three or four thousand men as re-enforcements to my command. I directed him to form immediately behind my men.’—Hill: Reports of the Army of Northern Virginia, vol. II., p. 116.

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