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[27] Jackson reports that the break made by the New Englanders was in an interval between Thomas's brigade and Gregg's. On this point surely General Jackson is the best authority, and you and I, my comrades, are here to-day to corroborate him, and to bear the witness of wounds received in that terrific struggle. I, for one, cannot be mistaken, for that night I shared my canteen with a poor fellow of a New Hampshire regiment, who lay dying on the ground he had reached, and from which his brave companions had been driven back. This is General Gordon's account, written in a style fitting the conduct of his countrymen, whose deeds he was extolling:1

At three o'clock an officer galloped up to General Grover with an order to advance in line of battle over the cleared ground, to pass the embankment, enter the edge of the woods beyond and hold them. For this work there was no reliance but the bayonet, and General Grover so told his men. Move slowly forward, he said, till the enemy's fire was felt; then advance rapidly and return it, and then the bayonet; give them one withering volley and then the bayonet, man to man, in the struggle. His line was formed, the First, Eleventh, and Sixteenth Massachusetts, the Second New Hampshire and the Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania. These men entered a heavy wood where the enemy's skirmishers were found, and they pressed them to their reserves which in turn fell back until the railroad embankment was seen ten feet in height. As the Federals emerged from the woods, the first Confederate line from behind this cover opened a heavy fire. It was returned. The Federals leaped up the embankment and the Confederates met them on its summit. For a few minutes there was a severe struggle. Neither had yielded to a fire which had been delivered almost muzzle to muzzle; nor had the Federal line halted before awful volleys that tore life out of men in that leaden storm as the tornado tosses leaves and branches from its path. It was a pure contest of muscle, hand to hand, man to man. But it was brief; skulls dashed in here with muskets clubbed, lives let out there with bayonet thrusts, were held in consternation by the Confederates. They turned in flight. Over the embankment our men followed in pursuit—over the bodies of slain and mangled wretches that had rolled down the declivity when the breath went out of their bodies; on through the scattered and broken fragments of the first line of the enemy to a second which was broken like a reed. One frantic effort the Confederates made here; one terrible volley they delivered. The Federal onset never ceased. With wild yells on they came, and the Confederates continued their flight. Still onward pursued the Federals, until a third defensive line was reached, from which the foe advancing met a thin and wasted front of gallant men. The Confederates were fresh, their ranks were closed and their numbers were larger than Grover's. Now, too, the Confederate artillery opened from the Confederate right with an enfilading fire. The right centre and a portion of the left line were swept

1 Army of Virginia, Gordon, p. 266.

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Grover (3)
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