This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 of the defenders of Marye's Hill; one of Hood's brigades, led by Jenkins, had gone to take position behind the wall, which was already defended by four other brigades. Humphreys was stopped. His division, like those that preceded it, remained in line exposed to a terrific fire, unable to advance and unwilling to fall back. Sturgis, on the left, had again attacked the extremity of Marye's Hill; but the Confederates were waiting for him at short range, and his troops were received by a furious fire, which also interrupted their march. Twilight had come; incessant flashes of light, which shone without giving a clear view, shadowed forth the lines of the combatants. Hooker, to use his own words, which forcibly expressed his sense of the painful duty imposed upon him, deeming that he had lost ‘about as many men as he was ordered to sacrifice,’ then gave the signal for retreat. Soon after, the extreme darkness of a December night came to put an end to the conflict, and spared the Federals still greater sacrifices by rendering all further attempts against Marye's Hill impossible. On the Confederate side, Jackson was for a moment inclined, toward the close of the day, to attack the Federal left with his whole corps in order to drive Franklin back upon his bridges. His orders had already been given to that effect, and he had even put Stuart's cavalry in motion, when, seeing night approaching and fearing to be overtaken by darkness, he countermanded this movement—a wise determination; for if the Federals were afraid of venturing into the woods in search of their adversaries, they would certainly have driven them back so soon as they had shown themselves in the open ground. This night of December 13th-14th was probably the most painful ever experienced by the army of the Potomac during its whole existence. Its losses amounted to twelve thousand three hundred and fifty-three men, one thousand one hundred and eighty of whom were killed, nine thousand and twenty-eight wounded, and two thousand one hundred and forty-five prisoners. These losses were undoubtedly less than those sustained in the battles fought on the Chickahominy and the Antietam, but the thought of their utter uselessness increased the bitterness. The Federal soldiers had stormed the formidable positions of Marye's Hill with a degree of intrepidity which their very enemies could not
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.