York, the parties who were most actively engaged in my own division in repelling the charge. General Stannard says: The front line thus established was held by my brigade for twenty-six hours. At about 4 o'clock on the morning of the 3d, the enemy commenced a vigorous artillery attack, which continued for a short time, upon my position. During its continuance I moved the Fourteenth, under command of Colonel Nichols, to the front of the main line about 75 yards, which was done at double-quick in good order. I then, with permission from my immediate commander, selected a position to occupy, if attacked with infantry, some distance in front of the main line. At about 2 p. m. the enemy again commenced a vigorous attack upon my position. After subjecting us for an hour and a half to the severest cannonade of the whole battle, from 100 guns or more, the enemy charged with a heavy column of infantry, at least one division in close column by regiments. The charge was aimed directly upon my command, but, owing apparently to the firm front shown them, the enemy diverged midway, and came upon the line upon my right. But they did not thus escape the warm reception prepared for them by the Vermonters. During this charge, the enemy suffered from the fire of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth, the range being short. At the commencement of the attack, I called in the Sixteenth Regiment from the skirmish line, and placed it in close column by division in my immediate rear. As soon as the change in the point of attack became evident, I ordered a flank attack upon the enemy's column. Forming in the open meadow in front of our lines, the Thirteenth changed front forward on the first company; the Sixteenth, after deploying, performed the same, and formed on the left of the Thirteenth, at right angles to the main line of our army, bringing them in line of battle upon the flank of the charging divisions of the enemy, and opened a destructive fire at short range, which the enemy sustained but a very few moments before the larger portion of them surrendered and marched in-not as conquerors, but as captives. I then ordered the two regiments into their former position. The order was not filled when I saw another rebel column charging immediately upon our left. Colonel Veazey, of the Sixteenth, was at once ordered to attack at in its turn upon the flank. This was done as successfully as before. The rebel forces, already decimated by the fire of the Fourteenth Regiment, Colonel Nichols commanding, were scooped almost enmasse into our lines. The Sixteenth in this charge took the regimental colors of the Second Florida and Eighth Virginia Regiments, and the battle-flag of another rebel regiment. The Sixteenth was supported in this new and advanced position by four companies of the Fourteenth, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Rose. * * * * * * * The movements I have briefly described were executed in the open field under a very heavy fire of shell, grape, and musketry, and they were performed with the promptness and precision of battalion drill. They ended the contest in the center and substantially closed the battle. Officers and men behaved like veterans, although it was for most of them their first battle.
To this splendid record I have nothing to add.
Colonel Gates, of the Twentieth New York Volunteers, says:
At 12. 30 p. m. on the 3d, the enemy opened a furious cannonade upon our left center, which continued about two hours. At the end of that time his infantry advanced to his left, and moved in the new direction until nearly opposite the hill on our left center, when he faced to the right, and moved rapidly in line of battle toward the hill. The second line followed the movements of the first. Perceiving that his intention was to get possession of the hill and the batteries upon it, which would have cut our line and greatly endangered our army, I moved my two regiments by the right flank quickly up to the hillside, which he had already commenced ascending. Here some very sharp fighting took place. The enemy had got possession of the fence at the foot of the hill and of the slashing on the hillside caused by felling trees to clear the range for our guns. The fighting was now at quarter pistol range, and the fence and fallen trees gave the enemy considerable protection. I therefore ordered my men forward, and they sprang through and over the slashing and up to the fence, the enemy generally dropping their arms and surrendering themselves. Very few of the force that advanced to this attack got back to their own lines again. A great many prisoners were taken, whom I sent to the provost-marshal without guard or escort, as I had no men to spare.