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[21] where they had held out so long, and, while still fighting, slowly fall back across the woods which they had occupied in the morning. Two batteries, the horses of which have all been killed, are left upon the ground. In falling back Hooker uncovers the left flank of the troops who had remained under arms on the Yorktown road while he was fighting. The woods by which they are surrounded shut out the enemy from view, but the balls whistling among the trees and dealing destruction in their ranks announce his approach. Consequently, a certain amount of disquietude is manifested among those young soldiers who are preparing for battle under the blows of an adversary yet invisible.

The situation was becoming serious; but the critical moment was selected by fortune for a sudden change. Stimulated less by Sumner's pressing orders than by the sound of cannon which called him to the field, Kearny comes at last to Hooker's assistance. Pushing his division along the road, which is encumbered with wagons, he has turned to the left, like the latter, and after making his men, fatigued by a long march, throw off their knapsacks, he deploys them with as much precision as if on a drill-ground. Of a character difficult to manage, of a quick temper, of a sharp and satirical turn of mind, this admirable soldier became a different man as soon as he found himself in the presence of the enemy. His calmness, his piercing glance, his clear voice, his orders, always precise, inspired the confidence of all those who served under him. Deploying two brigades in line of battle, and holding the third in reserve, he allows Hooker's soldiers to pass between the intervals of his battalions, and takes up the battle in the wood in their place. He arrives in time to rescue one of the two batteries abandoned a moment before, which the enemy was about to seize. The latter, after a stubborn resistance, is driven back as far as the abatis; but he maintains himself a long time on that difficult ground, being supported by the fire from his own works. A final effort on the part of the entire division wrests at last a portion of the abatis from the Confederates, at the very time that the darkness of the evening is beginning to spread over the long-contested battle-field.

On the right the Federals have at last decided to take part in

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