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[102] the Upper Duane bridge. The regular cavalry, led by a chief of great personal bravery, but more accustomed to the pursuit of Indians than to handling squadrons before a disciplined enemy, tries in vain to regain a portion of what has been lost. Placed at the bottom of the valley, General Cooke, in order to lead his men to the charge, makes them scale the steep, clayey acclivities, the summit of which is already occupied by the right wing of the Confederates; consequently, his horses are soon out of wind. The Federal cavalry, in confronting the enemy's lines, which are unflinchingly awaiting its approach, disperses into skirmishing squads, which resort to pistol-fighting, after the manner they had learned in the far West. Such a conflict could not last more than a few minutes. One-half of the mounted regulars are left upon the field, or in the hands of the enemy; the rest fall back to throw confusion into the Federal battalions, already in full retreat. The Confederates are carrying everything before them along the whole line. Two Federal regiments, which have bravely kept up the fight in the wood of New Cold Harbor when all was giving way around them, find themselves surrounded, decimated and compelled to surrender. Ewell and D. H. Hill also take advantage in their turn of the successes achieved by the right wing of the army. Their artillery succeeds at last in planting itself on the summit of the hill so long occupied by Sykes' division, and crushes that division with its fire. Being thus attacked in front and menaced in flank by the enemy, who has taken possession of the wood of New Cold Harbor, Sykes falls back, defending the ground foot by foot. But a portion of his artillery, the teams of which have been killed, remains on the field of battle. The regulars do not allow Hill to push his success along the road leading from Cold Harbor to Dispatch, by which he could have cut off the retreat of the enemy. Fearfully reduced as they are, they care less for the losses they have sustained than for the mortification of yielding to volunteers.

Meanwhile, the retreat of the Federals on the left and centre threatens to become a rout. The crowd of fugitives, with which are mingled artillery teams, followed at a distance by groups of brave soldiers who have rallied around their chiefs, has rapidly descended into a small ravine, beyond which rises another hill.

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D. H. Hill (2)
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