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[591] the purpose of following in the tracks of Hancock should the latter meet with any success. On the left, Wilcox had deployed the Ninth corps in front of Pickett's Confederate division; the divisions of Sturgis and Getty extended from Hazel Run to Deep Run, while that of Burns was on the other side of the latter stream, near Smith's corps. The embankment of an unfinished railroad covered Hancock's left to within a certain distance of the stone wall; his centre as well as his right was utterly unprotected. Nevertheless, his whole line reached and passed beyond the flags planted by French; but when within twenty or twentyfive metres of the wall, it also halted, and all those who had gone beyond were instantly struck down. The Federal line wavered, without, however, falling far back, while, enveloped in smoke, it opened a sharp fire upon the defenders of the stone wall. From time to time a group of soldiers was seen advancing to reach the obstacle; but this movement, always unsuccessful, was soon followed by a speedy retreat, which brought back the small number of those who had escaped death. The Federals, however, maintained themselves; and if they could not gain ground, they suffered themselves to be decimated without abandoning the place. Their losses were enormous, but their adversaries were also beginning to suffer; in vain did they shelter themselves behind the wall, in vain did the artillery, which fired over their heads, throw its shrapnels into the midst of the assailants; their ranks were fast thinning off.

The two brigades, which up to this time had alone defended the stone wall, lost their two commanders at the same moment-General Cobb killed and General Cook seriously wounded. But numerous reinforcements were at hand. Ransom's brigade1 had come to the relief of Cook's; Kershaw had been sent by McLaws to succor Cobb's soldiers. These new troops were placed in rear of those they came to support; and owing to a slight inclination in the ground they occupied on the road, they were enabled to open a well-sustained fire of four ranks upon the assailants. The Federals had no hope left. The bravest among them acknowledged that it would be folly to remain any longer

1 This brigade, like many others, had preserved the name of its former chief, although the latter commanded the whole division to which it belonged.

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