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[19] Federals with the utmost vigor, and to keep the latter in check sufficiently long to place the rest of the army out of reach of their attacks.

Only a portion of his troops had arrived and taken position inside of the works, when, toward seven o'clock in the morning, Hooker, emerging out of the Lee's Mills road, attacked his right. Longstreet's artillery, posted inside of Fort Magruder and in the adjacent redoubts, crossed its fire with that of the Confederate infantry over the narrow open space which the assailants had to cross. The latter, being actually afraid to manoeuvre under such a fire, had deployed their batteries before crossing the forest. But the thickness of the undergrowth having broken their ranks, they no longer possessed that compactness which is required for a vigorous charge; and instead of pushing forward, they halted on the edge of the wood. Unable to overcome this obstacle, they ambushed themselves in the abatis, from whence they opened fire upon the enemy. The three batteries of the division came to their assistance and boldly took position at the point most exposed, which was at the outlet of the road; but the enemy's missiles were soon concentrated upon them, overthrowing gunners and horses before they were able to fire a single shot. The Federals were not discouraged on this account; willing hands came forward to serve the guns; they even succeeded in gaining an advantage over the Confederate cannon and in silencing the fire of Fort Magruder. At this juncture the Confederates seemed to be wavering; but Hooker's soldiers, who had been more under fire than they, had suffered too seriously to take advantage of this momentary hesitation. The remainder of Longstreet's corps reached the scene of action and assumed the offensive in its turn. In order to preserve his position, Hooker was obliged to engage his very last man. A desperate struggle took place in the abatis; the two hostile lines wavered in front of each other; the Federals were driven back several times, but their lost ground was as often recovered. It was now one o'clock. Hooker had been sustaining the fight alone since morning; no reinforcement had reached him, no order, no message; while along the rest of the line the utmost silence prevailed. To the left he had sent Emory with his cavalry and three regiments of infantry to try to attack the Confederate line by

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