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“ [98] phrase to describe it.” We discussed the question.

Wh-r-sh-shhh! A sudden exclamation and start all around the group. “Jove!” exclaims one, impulsively; “those fellows on the left have the range of headquarters exactly.” It was a round shot that had passed not two feet from the door and buried itself in the road three or four yards in front of us. In an instant there was another and another. General Meade came to the door, told the staff that they manifestly had our range, and that they had best go up the slope fifteen or twenty yards to the stable. As they started, a couple of shells came, then more from a different direction, and a sharp fusilade broke out just behind us on the left. Two rebel batteries clearly had our range, and the fight seemed opening up on the field of last night's bitterest contest.

A few minutes before, I had been talking of going down to look at Barksdale's corpse — there was other work to do than looking at dead men now. Leaving the late headquarters to the shells, I galloped out the Taneytown road along the left. For three quarters of a mile the fire was bursting out.

The air was alive with all mysterious sounds, and death in every one of them. There were “muffled howls” that seemed in rage because their missile missed you, the angry buzz of the familiar Minie, the spit of the common musket-ball, hisses, and the great whirring rushes of shells. And then there came others that made the air instinct with warning, or quickened it with vivid alarm; long wails that fatefully bemoaned the death they wrought; fluttering screams that filled the whole space with their horror, and encompassed one about as a garment; cries that ran the diapason of terror and despair.

Rise and ebb of the tide of battle.

It had been a sudden concentration of terrific artillery fire, on our left, with a view to silence our batteries, and sweep resistance from the slopes before they charged. But they did not find us unprepared. The tornado of death that swept over the fields levelled much before it, but not all. After an hour or two it was found that the obstinate defenders still clung to their positions; and the rebels saw they must reserve their energies for the more determined and persistent effort the afternoon was to bring. On it, as on the last toss of the dice, they had staked their all. In an hour or two the left was silent again; on the centre there were but the accustomed straggling shots.

The right victorious.

Meantime on the right, the fierceness of Ewell's attack had dashed itself out, and but feeble surges came up now against our line. Leaving the left as the attack there was dying away, I rode over again to Slocum's Hill, on the Baltimore pike. From this high eminence we could only make out that the line seemed in its old place, and so the officers said it was. The rifle-pits had been regained; Ewell's corps had been substantially repulsed. The musketry still flickered sharply up occasionally, but the fire had gone out of it. We were practically victorious on the right. It was a quarter-past eleven-seven hours and a quarter of desperate fighting! The old Jackson corps had not given up without an obstinate struggle.

Cavalry — a lull.

Away down from the extreme right, and apparently beyond it, there came a ripple of musketry. It was said to be Smith's division from Couch's Harrisburgh force, coming in on Ewell's flank or rear. I have not yet been able to satisfy myself whether the report was true or not.

A quarter of an hour later Pleasanton's scouts reported rebel cavalry coming in on the Bonaughtown road, on the right, to strike the Baltimore pike in our rear. Gregg was instantly sent off to meet them, with orders merely to hold them in check, and not to bring on a close engagement if he could avoid it. At the same time Kilpatrick was ordered to the extreme left to harass the enemy's flank and rear and look after his trains. “Good!” exclaimed Kilpatrick, rubbing his hands, and in a moment was hurrying gleefully to execute the order.

Gregg threw his force up a little brook that comes down between Rock Creek and the post village of Two Taverns. The rebel cavalry no sooner saw their plan detected than they retired. But their effort was not over, and fortunately Gregg understood it. Under cover of the woods, they moved still further south, in a direction parallel with the Baltimore pike; but Gregg was moving too, and when they started out toward the pike, they were again confronted. There was a little carbine firing now, and some sharp shelling, and the rebels again retired. Once more they came out, almost opposite Two Taverns, late in the afternoon, but Gregg was still on the watch for them, and they at once and finally retired without a shot.

There was a lull from a quarter-past eleven to about one. Fitful firing broke out and died away again, here and there, but the lines were mainly silent. The rebels were not yet defeated — except for the hour's sharp work on the left, two of their corps with their reserves had not been engaged at all to-day. Some final, desperate effort must be maturing. Shrewd officers predicted that it would be a massing of all their troops on the left. But Ewell's corps could not possibly be brought over in time for that; its work for the day must be nearly done.

The last desperate attack.

Pretty soon the attack came — sooner, indeed, and wider than was expected. About one the rebel movement was developed in a thunder of cannonading that rolled over our army like doom. They had concentrated immense quantities of artillery--“two hundred and fifty pieces, at least,” some of General Meade's staff-officers said, on our centre and left, and those devoted lines

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J. J. Gregg (5)
R. S. Ewell (4)
George G. Meade (2)
B. J. Kilpatrick (2)
Giles Smith (1)
A. Pleasanton (1)
D. N. Couch (1)
Barksdale (1)
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