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[257] delayed, that the enemy would strengthen his works —advanced without orders.1 The troops pressed on with splendid ardor, sweeping up the hill, through mud and thickets, and over stone walls and earthworks. ‘Powder and lead,’ said the rebels, ‘could not resist such a charge.’ Prisoners were taken by the regiment, and artillery, by batteries.

Immediately, Smith and Schofield moved their entire commands, and carried everything before them. A panic seized the rebel left; the line was broken irreparably in a dozen places; literally, all the artillery and thousands of prisoners were captured. Wilson's cavalry, still dismounted, had advanced simultaneously with Schofield and Smith; and striking the rebels in rear, they now gained firm possession of the Granny White road, and completely cut off that line of retreat from the enemy. At the same time Wood and Steedman's troops, hearing the shouts of victory from the right, rushed impetuously forward, renewed the assault on Overton Hill, and though meeting still a heavy fire, their onset was irresistible. The rebel troops, hopelessly broken, fled in confusion on the Franklin road, and all efforts to re-form them were fruitless. The Fourth corps followed in close pursuit for several miles, till darkness intervened to save the fugitives.

1 ‘About 3 o'clock P. M. General McArthur sent word that he could carry the hill on his right by assault. Major-General Thomas being present, the matter was referred to him, and I was requested to delay the movement until he could hear from General Schofield, to whom he had sent. General McArthur not receiving any reply, and fearing if the attack should be longer delayed, the enemy would use the night to strengthen his works, directed the first brigade to storm the hill.’—A. J. Smith's Report, January 10, 1865.

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