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William Swinton, Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, chapter 12 (search)
character of the country. The Confederate infantry passed close to Crawford's skirmishers, and followed a path through the woods until they were near Hancock's position, when they deployed, and, about four P. M., suddenly fell upon Mott's division of Hancock's corps. Most of the troops were disposed so as to meet an attack from quite a different direction, so that the outburst of the enemy was on their rear, and the presence of the Confederates was first announced by volleys of musketry. Peirce's brigade of Mott's division at this point gave way, one section of artillery was captured, and affairs appeared as critical as can well be conceived. Hancock immediately ordered Egan to change front, and move to resist the adverse mass; but that officer, with true soldierly instinct, had already done that of his own motion, and was moving rapidly to attack the force in his rear. It is probable that the Confederates did not precisely comprehend the situation, for on emerging into the open