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[259]

The morning of July 2d found Hays' brigade, moved during the night to the east and front of the town, facing the northern extremity of Cemetery hill, the new Federal line. To the east of that was Culp's hill, faced by Nicholls' brigade, on the right of Johnson's line. The two Louisiana brigades waited all day, expecting orders to assault, which were not given until after the batteries, opening at 4 p. m., had for some time been thundering against the strong Federal position. Finally, about 7 o'clock, Johnson was ordered to the assault and his men advanced gallantly up the sides of ‘a rugged and rocky mountain, heavily timbered and difficult of ascent; a natural fortification, rendered more formidable by deep intrenchment and thick abatis.’ Colonel Williams reported that his men ‘engaged the enemy near the base of these heights; and having quickly driven his front line into the intrenchments on their crest, continued forward until they reached a line about 100 yards from the enemy's works, when they again engaged him with an almost incessant fire for four hours, pending which several attempts to carry the works by assault, being entirely unsupported on the right, were attended with more loss than success.’

As soon as Johnson was engaged Early ordered forward his assaulting line, Hays on the right, Avery's North Carolinians on the left, and Gordon supporting, against Cemetery hill. It was a little before 8 p. m. and the darkness was some screen to their movement; but the enemy's artillery was in furious activity, and as the Louisianians crossed a hill in front they were dangerously exposed. But they swept on down into a hollow at the foot of Cemetery hill. There they found a considerable body of the enemy which opened fire, and the batteries began throwing canister, but the smoke and darkness enabled the brigade to escape ‘what in the full light of day could have been nothing else than horrible slaughter.’ Panic seized the Federals as Hays pushed

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