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[383] re-occupied by Confederates, and a force moving on his front, and pressing forward with the war-cry of “Bull Run! Bull Run!” he retired beyond the crest of a ridge, not far from the dam, disputing the ground as he fell back, and there formed a line of battle and awaited Early's approach. When that force was within thirty paces of his line he ordered a general bayonet-charge. This was executed with the most determined spirit. The Confederates broke and fled with precipitation, with a loss of over five hundred men. Hancock held his position until Smith sent re-enforcements, by order of McClellan, who had arrived near the field of action, and soon afterward the contest ceased all along the line. So ended the battle of Williamsburg. That post was

Battle of Williamsburg.1

already won, for Hancock held the key of the position. McClellan reported the entire National loss in this battle at two thousand two hundred and twenty-eight, of whom four hundred and fifty-six were killed and fourteen hundred wounded.2 That of the Confederates was, according to careful estimates, about one thousand.

This battle, in which so much of the precious blood of the young men of the country was shed,3 appears to have been fought without any controlling mind in charge of the movement, or much previous knowledge of the locality and the Confederate works. The Commander-in-Chief was twelve

1 in this plan, a and b indicate the two redoubts on the extreme left of the Confederates, taken by Hancock, and c the point to which Stoneman fell back to wait for re-enforcements.

2 McClellan's report to the Secretary of War, August 4, 1863; reports of his division and brigade commanders engaged in the battle; reports of General Johnston and his subordinate officers, and oral and written statements to the author by actors in the struggle.

3 No army in the world had ever exhibited an equal proportionate number of so many educated and highly respectable young men as this; and never did greater coolness or valor appear. Among the scores of young men who perished early in this campaign, and who were good examples of the best materials of that army, were *Captain Henry Brooks O'Reilly, of the First Regiment, New York Excelsior Brigade, and Lieutenant William De Wolf, of Chicago, of the regular army, who had performed gallant service in the battles of Belmont and Fort Donelson. The former fell at the head of his company, while his regiment was maintaining the terrible contest in front of Fort Magruder, in the afternoon of the 5th of May. He had just given the words for an assault, “Boys, follow me I forward, march!” when he fell, and soon expired. Lieutenant De Wolf was in charge of a battery of Gibson's Flying Artillery in the advance toward Williamsburg on the 4th, and in the encounter in which Stoneman and his followers were engaged with the Confederate cavalry on the day before the battle, and while valiantly doing his duty, he was severely wounded. Typhoid fever supervened, and he died a month later at Washington city. It would be a delightful task to record the names of all the brave who thus perished for their country, but we may only speak of one or two now and then as examples of true patriots and representatives of the Army of Liberty.

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