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[296] front, was stripping this very wing. Under these circumstances such a concentration could not be effected without confusion. It was in this way that Porter came, without Siegel's knowledge, to place himself in his front, and he found himself at too great a distance to support him effectively, and too near to be sheltered from the enemy's fire.

About one o'clock the fire of musketry on the Federal left broke the mournful silence which had reigned over this sanguinary field since the previous evening. Notwithstanding the union of all his army, Lee had not deemed the moment favorable for resuming the offensive; in fact, satisfied as to the safety of his communications, and knowing his opponent to be short of provisions, he had every interest in compelling the latter to attack him in defensive positions. But he had no idea of retiring, and this the Federals were soon to find out.

After feeling the enemy for some time, Pope decided at last to make a vigorous charge on the centre. McDowell, who had the chief command on that side, launched Porter's corps against Jackson's right. This corps, weakened, it was said, by the absence of the brigade of Griffin, whom Pope accuses of having left the battle-field at daybreak to retire to Centreville, numbered, nevertheless, still seven or eight thousand men, all veterans of the preceding campaign, led by two experienced officers, Generals Sykes and Morrell. They charged with impetuosity; but the open space they had to cross was enfiladed by the hill on which Colonel Lee had planted his eight batteries, and, from the height of this natural bastion, they flanked the entire portion of Jackson's line which was attacked by Porter. Consequently, as soon as Longstreet saw the attack which threatened his colleague, instead of sending him the tardy succor of a few regiments, he concentrated, at less than four hundred metres, the whole fire of his artillery upon the deployed battalions of the Federals which exposed their flank to him. The carnage in the ranks of those gallant soldiers was terrible; the third line alone succeeded in reaching Jackson's positions; but being already decimated, it was easily repulsed. Toward half-past 4 o'clock Porter's entire corps, exhausted by the unequal contest, fell back in disorder upon Siegel, who had massed his troops behind him. As on the preceding

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