charge.’ , The response of the 800 present for duty was an answering cheer that gave assurance of victory when the charge should be ordered.
A line of battle was promptly formed, and the men, rushing forward, passed Poague
's battery, and were advancing on Hancock
's men, when they heard behind them, and almost in their midst, from Lee
himself, the shouted command, ‘Charge!
Charge, boys, charge!’
Glancing back and discovering that Lee
in person was joining in, if not leading the charge, the Texans
shouted, ‘Go back, General Lee
! Marse Robert, go back!’
's men, from amid their guns, also called out, ‘Come back!
Come back, General Lee
, waving his hat, rode on with the charge, while from every side, like a shout of command, the soldiers cried out, ‘Lee
to the rear!
to the rear!’
Then a tall Texas
sergeant stepped from the ranks, caught the bridle rein of ‘Traveler,’ and turned him to the rear.
reluctantly obeyed this order of his men, who, waving back to him a salute of gratification, rushed forward to meat the solid ranks of Hancock
's oncoming host, and the most of them to meet death.
Part of Poague
's guns moved forward in the charge, and the men with them shouted back to their comrades, ‘Good-bye, boys!’
brigade, now led by Gregg
, struck the masked front of Hancock
's corps, in the plank road, and was soon fairly enveloped in a circle of fire; but it flinched not, and soon staggered the Federal
column, and then, when Anderson
brought up their Georgians and Law his Alabamians, in support, Hancock
's line was forced to yield, not to numbers, but to courage, and was driven back toward his line of defenses, but not until the half of Gregg
's men, in ten minutes of fighting, had fallen beside their successful comrades.
now deployed Field
to the left and Kershaw
to the right, and the combat surged back and forth through the tangled and marshy forest.
The crisis of the engagement was at hand.
's rested men were again sent to the front.
At 10 of the morning, Longstreet
, with his four brigades, to turn Hancock
's left, which they did, under shelter of the cuts and fills of the partially graded Orange railroad, and then, moving forward, struck Hancock
's flank and rolled it up, as Hancock
himself said, ‘like a wet blanket.’
By 10 o'clock, Lee