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[130] river, when Wise's attack commenced. Rodgers immediately threw a few of Parrott's hundred-pound shells in the direction in which the enemy's reserves were supposed to be. These missiles, fired at random, could not do much harm to troops scattered about the forest; but the strange noise which announced their approach, and the crashing of trees which they shattered on their passage, and finally the violence of their explosion, produced a deep impression upon the Confederates. The Federals, on the contrary, who heard from a distance the heavy and powerful voice of the naval guns, hailed it as that of an auxiliary impatiently expected.

It was time for them to reach the banks of the James. During the whole of the 30th, notwithstanding the opportune discovery of a new road, as above mentioned, the train had proceeded very slowly and with much difficulty. The booming of cannon, resounding along so many points of the line, had more than once spread senseless alarms among the drivers of this long column. The larger part of reserve and siege artillery, and the batteries detached from the several corps which McClellan had ordered to Malvern Hill to fortify that position, found great difficulty in advancing. All the farmhouses, all the huts, were converted into hospitals, where the victims of the battles of Savage station, Frazier's Farm and Glendale were huddled. There was scarcely a sufficient number of surgeons to attend to their most pressing wants; and most of the wounded felt the painful certainty of being left at night in the hands of the enemy. The stifling heat of a Virginia summer, the want of sleep, the long marches, the combats incessantly renewed, the excitements and the anxieties of every description, triumphed over the most robust constitutions, and prostrated those whom the terrible swamp-fever had yet spared. Night marches had also singularly contributed to diminish the effective force of the several corps, and to increase the number of stragglers. Many soldiers became lost in the obscurity, and, being unable to find their regiments, at daylight rejoined the invalid column, which extended the whole length of the train. Frequently without haversacks, but always armed and well provided with ammunition, they moved along in groups of from three to twenty; and finding themselves freed from all official

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