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[197] troops and swept upon the advancing foe like an irresistible avalanche. In the twinkling of an eye the enemy wavered, turned, and fled—still the brigade pressed forward until two other lines of the enemy were broken and driven from the field and through the wood, and were routed from behind a stone wall, where they sought shelter. Not receiving an expected support, it was beyond human endurance to advance further; but here the line rested, and was held through that bloody day, resisting assault after assault of the enemy. But for this terrific and successful assault on the part of Hood's Division, our left centre would have been broken, the left wing of the army turned, and the fords on the Potomac captured by the enemy, and Lee's army shut in between the Antietam and the Potomac. By members of the brigade who were engaged in nearly every battle in Virginia and Maryland, Sharpsburg, on account of its sanguinary and protracted character, has been characterized as the hardest-fought battle of the war.

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