away and then swept down 2,000 of Hancock
's men and forced the remainder to seek the shelter of the houses and embankments in their rear.
At 1 o'clock, Howard
's division essayed a third assault.
, now in command in the sunken road, added two regiments of South Carolinians and one of North Carolinians to the ranks of the well-nigh exhausted Confederates still holding the bloody front.
Thus reinforced and ready, Howard
's advance was met, as had been those of French and Hancock
, and under a fire even fiercer than the preceding ones, nearly 700 of Howard
's men went down and the survivors fled, in dismay, to cover.
's corps of veteran soldiers had dared and done all that brave men could do, and there was no longer any spirit left in them for another grapple with Lee
's doubly-mailed left hand.
Nine Confederate regiments in the sunken road, and seven in reserve supporting the artillery on the crest, had not only unflinchingly held their positions, but had piled the very front of it with heaps of Federal dead.
At this same hour of 1 in the afternoon, Burnside
, from his headquarters on the bluff behind the Rappahannock
, had ordered a grand assault, by 60,000 men, against the half of that number under Jackson
's right; thus seeking, by simultaneous right-hand and left-hand blows, to break either Lee
's right or left, and gain one or the other of the two highways that led toward Richmond
, two brave and capable commanders, supported by fifty-one guns, led the attack.
A skillful reconnoissance by the Federal
engineers had discovered that a tongue of forest, extending from the front of that highland well out into the plain, and near A. P. Hill
's left, had been left unguarded, on the supposition that its swampy character would prevent its use as an approach.
Through this weak and concealing point, the Federal
advance came, to turn Jackson
's left, and broke A. P. Hill
's first line of battle.
Gen. Maxcy Gregg
gave up his life in attempting to stem, with the second line, the oncoming Federal tide of attack.
, promptly informed of this assault, rode headlong from his right, and hurling Early
, that he had wisely placed in line along A. P. Hill
's rear, upon the now disorganized and forward-rushing Federals, drove back