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[67] arriving in front of the small works where the Federal forces were massed, was afraid of attempting to carry them by assault with worn-out troops whose ranks were fearfully thinned. His opponent, reinforced by a few fresh regiments, made a bold stand while the fugitives were rapidly coming back into line. Longstreet was waiting for assistance, either from Huger on his right or from Smith on his left, before making the attack, and thus allowed the last hours of daylight to pass away.

A dark and rainy night came on at last to put an end to the slaughter, but not to the sufferings, the fatigues and the anxieties, of the two armies. The losses had been equally heavy on both sides. During the whole of that night long wagon-trains of wounded men, carrying into Richmond the unfortunate victims of a fratricidal war, told the inhabitants of the capital how dearly bought was the success which had been prematurely announced to them. All the vehicles in the city, omnibuses and carts, were despatched to the field of battle to find the wounded and the dying, whom they brought back in the midst of a dense and silent crowd. As for the dead, there was no time as yet to think of them. On the side of the Federals the ambulances, camps and railway-stations were not less encumbered.

On both sides the generals were filled with anxiety. Smith had assumed the command, but in succeeding Johnston he could not replace that experienced chieftain. The Federals had undoubtedly sustained a severe check; but if their left wing had been defeated, it was not destroyed, as was hoped in Richmond. The attack had been wanting in unison; the absence of Huger, together with the prolonged inaction of Smith, had thrown all the burden of the battle upon one-half of the army. Finally, the encounter with Sumner had not only roughly interrupted the success of the operation, but had revealed the existence of communications which the Confederates had not suspected. It gave them to understand that, notwithstanding the rise in the Chickahominy, they might on the following day have to measure themselves with the whole Federal army. Consequently, they determined upon a retreat.

On the side of the Federals the anxiety was not less. They had always wished during this aggressive campaign for an opportunity

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G. Smith (3)
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