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[441] on Hancock's front and flank, had driven back his brigades and broken up his right, under Wadsworth; and by noon, Grant's entire left had been defeated and disorganized. Hancock's chief of staff, the truth-telling Walker, says of this time: ‘Down the plank road from Hancock's center a stream of broken men was pouring to the rear, giving the onlooker the impression that everything had gone to pieces.’

Longstreet urged forward his men to press the enemy. The dried leaves of the preceding autumn took fire from blazing cartridges, and their smoke, joining with that of battle, clouded the day and concealed the combatants from each other. Forming Kershaw's division in line of battle, across the plank road, Longstreet, in person, led it against Hancock's retreating men, but failing to note, in the heat of pursuit, that his flanking brigades, under Mahone, had halted in line and were facing the roadway down which he was rushing. Mahone's men, mistaking Longstreet and his following for a Federal officer and his staff and escort, turned on them a full volleyed flank fire, which killed Jenkins and severely wounded Longstreet, thus checking an onset which promised to turn the Federal retreat into a disastrous rout.1

As Longstreet was carried to the rear, Lee rode rapidly to the front to reform his now disordered attack, and at 4 he again pressed forward his lines, through the smoking forest, to fall upon Hancock in the Brock road. Hill had already repulsed Burnside's feeble attack on Lee's center, and the time was opportune for renewing the attack on Grant's flanks. As Lee moved to assault the Federal left on the plank road, Ewell detached Johnson's and Gordon's brigades from his extreme left, under the leadership of Early, to wheel to the right, from their intrenchments, fall upon Sedgwick's right flank, and sweep the rear of his breastworks. The sun was low as this masterly movement began, but these men, that Stonewall Jackson had often led to flanking victory, knew what was in the air when the order to march was given, and they at once, with a wild yell, swung into line, fell upon Milroy's old brigade which they had routed in the Valley the preceding spring, just as its men were cooking their suppers, as was Hooker's right when struck at Chancellorsville, and quickly routed

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Chancellorsville (Virginia, United States) (1)

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