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[101] struggle; the ammunition was giving out, no reinforcements arrived, and the moment approached when excessive fatigue would overcome the energy of the steadiest men. The regiments, of which more than one were reduced to a handful of men, drew together in isolated groups; the combat continued, but was carried on individually, by soldiers among whom all systematic connection had ceased to exist. Precisely at this moment Jackson came forward with his last reserves and ordered a general attack. The attenuated lines of the Federals were everywhere shattered. Whiting sent forward one of his brigades, composed of Texan soldiers, into the re-entering angle formed by the thick wood of Cold Harbor and the clusters of trees which extend its line toward the river. General Hood, who was then one of the most brilliant officers in the Confederate army, although he subsequently became a most indifferent general-in-chief, was in command of this brigade, to which he imparted his own martial ardor. In vain did the Federal artillery concentrate its fire to check him like the others as he emerged from the wood. The four Texan regiments advanced without faltering, under a shower of shells. As they closed up their ranks, which the Federal missiles were thinning more and more, their long line scarcely wavered. They paused for a moment to fire, but Hood instantly pushed them forward; they rushed onward with loud yells to the very mouth of the guns which had so mercilessly poured grape into them. The artillery horses hitched to the limbers either ran away with their drivers, or were driven off by them. The Federal soldiers, who up to this time had stood by those guns to support them, grew weak at last; not daring yet to take to flight openly, they began to desert the post of danger under pretence of carrying to ambulances the wounded, whose number was rapidly increasing. The most determined among them were soon hurried along in the retreat, which was accelerated more and more, and the few gunners who had persisted in remaining at their post to the last, also disappeared in the tide of Texans, which overwhelmed them in an instant, leaving nothing behind but corpses lying on the ground.

Longstreet has imitated this movement on the extreme left of the Federal line, and the greater part of Butterfield's brigade, being cut off from the rest of the army, barely escaped through

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