in, and I thought of withdrawing the troops, but, as we had gained many advantages, I concluded to let the battle subside and to occupy the field, which was done to within one hundred yards of the enemy's guns. Pickets were accordingly established by Brigadier-Generals Mahone and Wright, whose brigades slept on the battle field in the advanced positions they had won. Armistead's brigade and a portion of Ransom's also occupied the battle-field.Stretched as we were on the naked ground on the slope of the hill now occupied by those forming the thin line of battle which held the position, with a slight rain occasionally falling, with no blankets to protect us (our baggage had been left in the rear), and with the pitiful cries of wounded men audible all around us, although very much wearied, we found the place where we lay on the gravelly soil anything but comfortable. Yet there we slept. Although the noises heard from the direction of the enemy unmistakably indicated their retreat, yet in the early morning they are still in position in our front and exchange a few shots with the pickets posted at points of our line. That there was a retreat and no assault by any considerable force upon our army at this time was, indeed, a God send to us. Let Brigadier-General Isaac R. Trimble state the condition of our army at this time. In his report he says: ‘The next morning by dawn I went off to ask for orders, when I found the whole army in the utmost disorder—thousands of straggling men asking every passer-by for their regiments; ambulances, wagons, and artillery obstructing every road, and altogether, in a drenching rain, presenting a scene of the most woeful and disheartening confusion.’ When it became light enough to see, and I looked over the part of the field within the range of our vision, it presented a horrible sight. In all directions could be seen the corpses of the slain. The slaughter of the Confederates had been terrific. Let General Jubal A. Early here speak. In his report he says:
As soon as it was light enough next morning an appalling spectacle was presented to our view in front. The field for some distance from the enemy's position was literally strewn with the dead and wounded, and arms were lying in every direction. It was apparent that the enemy's main body, with his artillery, had retired, but a body of his cavalry, supported by infantry, was soon discovered on the field. To the right, near the top of a steep hill leading up towards the enemy's position, we saw a body of our own troops, some distance off, lying down, which proved to be a small body under Brigadier-Generals Mahone and Wright.