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[138] in the open fields on both sides of the road.

It was 4 p. m. when the changes were perfected. In the wood, the enemy had shown no further signs of life. This silence made Taylor suspect that their arrangements were still incomplete. Under this impression, he decided to open the attack from the left. He had chosen his fighters well; Mouton's Louisianians, eager and watchful, were waiting for the call. At the word, Mouton led the charge of his infantry, sweeping through a murderous fire, which lasted twenty-five minutes of carnage. The charge carried the Louisianians at double-quick down a hill, through a ravine swept by the enemy's guns, over a fence, up another hill to look into the very muzzles of the guns which had been dealing out wounds and death. Here our greatest loss occurred. This attack deserves to be placed by the side of Pickett's charge against the guns on Cemetery ridge. The valor and heroism were the same, only numbers varied. It was the crucial moment of the battle. Here was the moment when victory, propitious, was to smile at one end of the line while it frowned at the other. So dramatic was this advance of Louisianians, so rich in its results to the Confederates, so sorrowful through the rank of its dead, that it may claim a distinctive place in the annals of military charges.

Taylor, at the moment of giving the order to attack, was sitting with his leg crossed over the pommel of his saddle, smoking a cigar. There he continued to sit, anxious, while the victory with its costly sacrifice of lives was winning. He was keenly alive to the slightest move connected with that awful charge into the valley over which Death's shadow hovered ominously. At this moment, Kirby Smith's courier galloped up with the commander's message, already cited. Taylor's eye flashed, and he seemed to rise in his stirrups. ‘Too late, sir,’ he snapped to the courier, ‘the battle is won! It is not the first time 1 have fought with a halter around ’

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