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[92] apprise his chief of such an encounter. It was natural to infer, therefore, from the prolonged silence, that McCall was isolated, and that the army of the Shenandoah was about to take his position in rear without striking a blow; consequently, there was nothing to be done but to wait for the issue of this movement. But Lee, rendered impatient at the slowness with which his orders were executed, and stimulated, it may be, by the presence of the President, could not resist the temptation to hurl against the Federal positions the fine troops he was leading into battle for the first time. It is true that time was precious, and that no one among the Confederates who saw those magnificent regiments and witnessed the fervent zeal which animated them was doubtful of success. Pender's brigade, of A. P. Hill's division, reinforced by that of Ripley, attempted to cross the Beaver-dam at Ellyson's Mills, while a strong demonstration was made on the left upon the Bethesda road. But the Federals, being completely sheltered, received with a terrific fire of musketry and artillery the assailants, who were utterly unprotected against their shot. On the left a Georgia regiment advanced alone close to the Union lines; but a final volley drove it back in disorder upon the rest of the column engaged in this demonstration. At Ellyson's Mills, Pender and Ripley, after witnessing the destruction of one half of their brigades, without being even able to reach the enemy, were obliged to recross the stream with the remnant of their troops. Meanwhile, the Confederate chief, exasperated by this check, still persisted in attacking the Federal positions in front. Their whole line advanced, and was exposed to the fire of the enemy's cannon, while a new attack was attempted against the batteries which commanded Ellyson's Mills. Vain was the bloody effort. The assaulting columns were checked and driven back, the Federal shells striking the long lines of the Confederates fairly in the centre, and after four hours of fighting night put an end to the conflict, without a solitary inch of ground having been gained by the assailants. This imprudent attack had cost them nearly three thousand men, while the Federals had only two hundred and fifty wounded and eighty killed.

The battle of Beaver-dam Creek, where so many men had been sacrificed fruitlessly, was an unfortunate beginning for the

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