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[100]

Toward six o'clock this new army renewed the attack upon Porter's troops, already exhausted by five hours fighting. D. H. Hill gave the signal of attack to the extreme left, and in less than a quarter of an hour the battle raged along the whole line from the borders of the Chickahominy to the front of Cold Harbor. The Federal artillery was reinforced, and concentrated its fire upon every point where the enemy's battalions could be seen. Nor was it made to falter by the advance of the enemy on its right, near McGee's farm, but poured grape-shot into the ranks of D. H. Hill, almost at the cannon's mouth. The latter captured a few pieces of cannon, only to lose them again an instant after. They had, however, gained some ground on this side, but in the mean while Ewell, who was posted between McGee's farm and New Cold Harbor, had seen all his efforts fail before the well-sustained fire of his adversaries. He nevertheless led to the attack soldiers proved by all the marches and victories in the valley of Virginia, but he found before him the brigade of regulars, who make it a point of honor never to yield before volunteers, whatever may be their number. To support Ewell, Jackson ordered three brigades of his old division to advance successively against the wood of New Cold Harbor. This was the weakest point of the Federal line; for lying across the densest part of the forest, it was exposed to constant surprises, and could not be supported by artillery, as elsewhere. The brigades of Meade and Taylor of Slocum's division made a stubborn defence in this difficult position, but they were slowly driven back by the superior forces which attacked them. This advantage which the Confederates had gained in the centre exposed the angle of the wood at the point where it becomes narrow as it stretches down toward the Chickahominy. The Federal left had hitherto made an obstinate stand in this narrow section of the wood, against the assaults of Longstreet at first, and of Whiting after him. The latter finally availed himself of the confusion into which his adversaries had been thrown by the loss of the wood at New Cold Harbor, to take possession of it; but every time that his soldiers ventured beyond the curtain of trees the enemy's cannon compelled them to run back for shelter behind this protecting screen. Meanwhile, the Federal infantry, which had again formed into line near its guns, was becoming exhausted by so unequal a

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D. H. Hill (2)
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Fitzjohn Porter (1)
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