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the wings of countless ravens, kept out the parting gleams. He went his way over the plains of the west and the Pacific and the Asian lands. He came over Europe, and the Atlantic and made, on the third morning, bright pearl of the lighthouses, the surf, and the shore. The ripe July country welcomed him. But around Gettysburg his rising was not seen. The smoke had not dispersed. He rode on high, but all that third day he was seen far away and dim as through crêpe. All day he shone serene on other lands, but above this region he hung small and dim and remote like a tarnished, antique shield. Sometimes the drift of ravens' wings hid him quite. An incense mounted to him, a dark smell and a dark vapor.
The birds were gone from the trees, the cattle from the fields, the children from the lanes and the brookside. All left on the first day. There was a hollow between Round Top and Devil's Den, and into this the anxious farmers had driven and penned a herd of cattle. On the sunny, calm afternoon when they had done this they could not conceive that any battle would affect this hollow. Here the oxen, the cows, would be safe from chance bullet and from forager. But the farmers did not guess the might of that battle.
The stream of shells was directed against Round Top, but a number, black and heavy, rained into the hollow. A great milk-white ox was the first wounded. He lay with his side ripped open, a ghastly sight. Then a cow with calf was mangled, then a young steer had both fore-legs broken. Bellowing, the maddened herd rushed here and there, attacking the rough sides of the hollow. Death and panic were upon the slopes as well as at the bottom of the basin. A bursting shell killed and wounded a dozen at once. The air grew thick and black, and filled with the cries of these brutes.
A courier, returning to his general after delivering an order, had his horse shot beneath him. Disentangling himself, he went on, on foot, through a wood. He was intolerably thirsty and lo, a spring! It was small and round and clear like a mirror, and as he knelt he saw his own face and thought, 'She would n't know me.' The minies were so continuously singing that he had ceased to heed them. He drank, then saw that he was reddening the water. He did not know when he had been wounded, but now, as he tried to rise, he grew so faint and cold that he knew that Death had met him. There was moss and fern and a nodding white flower. It was not a bad place in which to die. In a pocket within his gray jacket he had a daguerreotype-a young and smiling face and form. His fingers were so nerveless now that it was hard to get the little velvet case out, and when it was out, it proved to be shattered, it and the picture within. The smiling face and form were all marred, unrecognizable. So small a thing, perhaps! - but it made the bitterness of this soldier's death. The splintered case in his hands, he died as goes to sleep a child who has been unjustly punished. His body sank deep among the fern, his chest heaved, he shook his head faintly, and then it dropped upon the moss, between the stems of the nodding white flower.
A long Confederate line left a hillside and crossed an open space of corn-field and orchard. Double quick it moved, under its banners, under the shells shrieking above. The guns changed range, and an iron flail struck the line. It wavered, wavered. A Federal line leaped a stone wall, and swept forward, under its banners, hurrahing. Midway of the wide open there was stretched beneath the murky sky a narrow web -woof of gray, warp of blue. The strip held while the heart beat a minute or
more, then it parted. The blue edge went backward over the plain; the gray edge, after a moment, rushed after. Yaaaiihhh! Yaaaiiihhhh!' it yelled, and its red war-flag glowed like fire. The gray commander-in-chief watched from a hillside, a steady light in his eyes. Over against him on another hill, Meade, the blue general, likewise watched. To the South, across the distant Potomac, lay the vast, beleaguered Southern fortress. Its gate had opened; out had poured a vast sally party, a third of its bravest and best, and at the head the leader most trusted, most idolized. Out had rushed the Army of Northern Virginia. It had crossed the moat of the Potomac; it was here, on the beleaguer's ground.
Earth and heaven were shaking with the clangor of two shields. The sky was whirring and dim, but there might be imagined, suspended there, a huge balance here the besiegers, here the fortress's best and bravest. Which would this day, or these days, tip the beam? Much hung upon that - all might be said to hang upon that. The waves on the plain rolled forward, rolled back, rolled forward. When the sun went down the first day the fortress's battle-flag was in the ascendant.
A great red barn was the headquarters of dear Dick Ewell.' He rode with Gordon and others at a gallop down a smoky road between stone fences. 'Wish Old Jackson was here!' he said. 'Wish Marse Robert had Old Jackson! This is the watershed, General Gordon-yes, sir! this is the watershed of the War! If it does n't still go right to-day-It seems to me that wall there's got a suspicious look -'
The wall in question promptly justifed the suspicion. There came from behind it a volley that emptied gray saddles. Gordon heard the thud of the minie as it struck Old Dick. 'Are you hurt, sir? Are you hurt?'
'No, no, General! I'm not hurt. But if that ball had struck you, sir, we'd have had the trouble of carrying you off the field. I'm a whole lot better fixed than you for a fight! It don't hurt a mite to be shot in a wooden leg.'
Three gray soldiers lay behind a shock of wheat. They were young men, old school-mates. This wheat-shock marked the farthest point attained in a desperate charge made by their regiment against a larger force. It was one of those charges in which everybody sees that if a miracle happens it will be all right, and that if it does n't happen - It was one of those charges in which first an officer stands out, waving his sword, then a man or two follow him, then three or four more, then all waver back, only to start forth again, then others join, then the officer cries aloud, then, with a roar, the line springs forward and rushes over the field, in the cannon's mouth. Such had been the procedure in this charge. The miracle had not happened.-After a period of mere din as of ocean waves the three found themselves behind this heap of tarnished gold. When, gasping, they looked round, all their fellows had gone back; they saw them, a distant torn line, still holding the flag. Then a rack of smoke came between, hiding flag and all. The three seemed alone in the world. The wheat-ears made a low inner sound like reeds in quiet marshes. The smoke lifted just enough to let a muddy sunlight touch an acre of the dead.
'We've got,' said one of the young men, 'to get out of here. They'll be counter-charging in a minute.' 'O God! let them charge.' 'Harry, are you afraid-'
Potomac's coming.' He rose to his knees, facing the other way. 'It's two hundred yards to the regiment. Well, we always won the races at the old Academy. I'll start, Tom, and then you follow, and then you, Harry, you come straight along!'
He rose to his feet, took the posture of a runner, drew a deep breath and started. Two yards from the shock a cannon ball sheared the head from the body. The body fell, jetting blood. The head bounded back within the shadow of the wheat-shock. Tom was already standing, bent like a bow. A curious sound came from his lips, he glanced aside, then ran. He ran as swiftly as an Indian, swiftly and well. The minie did not find him until he was half-way across the field. Then it did, and he threw up his arms and fell. Harry, on his hands and knees, turned from side to side an old, old face, bloodless and twisted. He heard the Army of the Potomac coming, and in front lay the corpses. He tried to get to his feet, but his joints were water, and there was a crowd of black atoms before his eyes. A sickness, a clamminess, a despair and all in eternities. Then the sound swelled, and drove him as the cry of the hounds the hare. He ran, panting, but the charge now swallowed up the wheat-shock and came thundering on. In front were only the dead, piled at the foot of the wall of smoke. He still clutched his gun, and now, with a shrill cry, he stopped, turned, and stood at bay. He had hurt a hunter in the leg, before the blue muskets clubbed him down.
A regiment, after advancing a skirmish line, moved over broken and boulder-strewn ground to occupy a yet defended position. In front moved the colonel, half-turned toward his men, encouraging them in a rich and hearty voice. Come on, men! Come on, come on! You are all good harvesters, and
the grain is ripe, the grain is ripe! Come on, every mother's son of you! Run now! just as though there were home and children up there! Come on! Come on!'
The regiment reached a line of flat boulders. There was a large flat one like an altar slab, that the colonel must spring upon and cross. Upon it, outstretched, face upward, in a pool of blood, lay a young figure, a lieutenant of skirmishers, killed a quarter of an hour ago. 'Come on! Come on!' shouted the colonel, his face turned to
his men. 'Victory! To-night we'll write home about the victory!'
His foot felt for the top edge of the boulder. He sprang upon it, and faced with suddenness the young dead. The oncoming line saw him stand as if frozen, then with a stiff jerk up went the sword again. 'Come on! Come on!' he cried, and plunging from the boulder continued to mount the desired slope. His men, close behind him, also encountered the dead on the altar slab. 'Good God! It's Lieutenant — It's his son!' But in front the colonel's changed voice continued its crying: Come on! Come on! Come on!"
A stone wall, held by the gray, leaped fire, rattled and smoked. It did this at short intervals for a long while, a brigade of the enemy choosing to charge at like intervals. The gray's question was a question of ammunition. So long as the ammunition held out, so would they and the wall. They sent out foragers for cartridges. Four men having secured a quantity from an impatiently sympathetic reserve, heaped them in a blanket, made a large bundle, and slung it midway of a musket. One man took the butt, another the muzzle, and as they had to reckon with sharp-shooters going back, the remaining two marched in front. All double-quicked where the exposure was not extreme, and ran where it was. The echoing
goal grew larger - as did also a clump of elms at right angles with the wall. Vanguard cocked his eye. 'Buzzards in those trees, boys-blue buzzards!'
Vanguard pitched forward as he spoke. The three ran on. Ten yards, and the man who had been second and was now first, was picked off. The two ran on, the cartridges between them. 'We're goners!' said the one, and the other nodded as he ran.
There was a gray battery somewhere in the smoke, and now by chance or intention it flung into the air a shell that shrieked its way straight to the clump of elms, and exploded in the round of leaf and branch. The sharp-shooters were stilled. 'Moses and the prophets!' said the runners. "That's a last year's bird's nest!'
Altogether the foragers brought in ammunition enough to serve the gray wall's immediate purpose. It cracked and flamed for another while, and then the blue brigade ceased its charges and went elsewhere. It went thinned oh, thinned! - in numbers. The gray waited a little for the smoke to lift, and then it mounted the wall. And the ground before us,' says a survivor, 'was the most heavenly blue!'
A battalion of artillery, thundering across a corner of the field, went into position upon a little hill-top. Facing it was Cemetery Hill and a tall and widearched gateway. This gateway, now clearly seen, now withdrawn behind a world of gray smoke, now showing a half arch, an angle, a span of the crest, exercised a fascination. The gunners, waiting for the word, watched it. 'Gate of Death, don't it look? - Gate of Death.'-'Wonder what's beyond? - Yankees.' — 'But they ain't dead - they're alive and kicking.' — 'Now it's hidden-Gate of Death.'-"This battle's going to lay over Sharpsburg -Over Gaines's Mill-Over Malvern Hill Over Fredericksburg - Over
Second Manassas - Over' Gate's hidden-There's a battery over there going to open'- 'One? There's two, there's three -' Cannoneers to your pieces!
A shell dug into the earth and exploded. There was a heavy rain of dark earth. It pattered against all the pieces. It showered men and horses, and for a minute made a thick twilight of the air. 'Whew! the Earth's taking a hand! Anybody hurt?' Howitzer, load!
'Gate of Death's clear.'
An artillery lieutenant - Robert Stiles-acting as volunteer aide to Gordon, was to make his way across the battle-field with information for Edward Johnson. The ground was strewn with the dead, the air was a shrieking torrent of shot and shell. The aide and his horse thought only of the thing in hand-getting across that field, getting across with the order. The aide bent to the horse's neck; the horse laid himself to the ground and raced like a wild horse before a prairie fire. The aide thought of nothing; he was going to get the order there; for the rest his mind seemed as useless as a mirror with a curtain before it. Afterwards, however, when he had time to look he found in the mirror pictures enough. Among them was a picture of a battalion-Latimer's battalion. 'Never, before or after, did I see fifteen or twenty guns in such a condition of wreck and destruction as this battalion was! It had been hurled backward as it were by the very weight and impact of metal from the position it had occupied on the crest of a little ridge, into a saucershaped depression behind it; and such a scene as it presented guns dismounted and disabled, carriages splintered and crushed, ammunition chests exploded, limbers upset, wounded horses plunging and kicking, dashing out the brains of men tangled in the
harness; while cannoneers with pistols were crawling round through the wreck shooting the struggling horses to save the lives of the wounded men.'
Hood and his Texans and Law's Alabamians were trying to take Little Round Top. They drove out the line of sharp-shooters behind the stone wall girdling the height. Back went the blue, up the steeps, up to their second line, behind a long ledge of rock. Up and after went the gray. The tall boulders split the advance like the teeth of a comb; no alignment could be kept. The rocks formed defiles where only two or three could go abreast. The way was steep and horrible, and from above rained the bullets. Up went the gray, reinforced now by troops from McLaws' division; up they went and took the second line. Back and up went the blue to the bald and rocky crest, to their third line, a stronghold, indeed, and strongly held. Up and on came the gray, but it was as though the sky were raining lead. The gray fell like leaves in November when the winds howl around Round Top. Oh, the boulders! The blood on the boulders, making them slippery! Oh, the torn limbs of trees, falling so fast! The eyes smarted in the smoke; the voice choked in the throat. All men were hoarse with shouting.
Darkness and light went in flashes, but the battle-odor stayed, and the unutterable volume of sound. All the dogs of war were baying. The muscles strained, the foot mounted. Forward and up went the battle-flag, red ground and blue cross. Now the boulders were foes, and now they were shields. Men knelt behind them and fired upward. Officers laid aside their swords, took the muskets from the dead, knelt and fired. But the crest of Round Top darted lightnings-lightnings and bolts of leaden death. Death rained from Round Top, and the drops
beat down the gray. Hood was badly hurt in the arm. Pender fell mortally wounded. Anderson was wounded. Semmes fell mortally hurt. Barksdale received here his death-wound. Amid the howl of the storm, in the leaden air, in scorching, in blood and pain and tumult and shouting, the small, unheeded disk of the sun touched the western rim of the earth.
A wounded man lay all night in Devil's Den. There were other wounded there, but the great boulders hid them from one another. This man lay in a rocky angle, upon the over-hanging lip of the place. Below him, smoke clung like a cerement to the far-flung earth. For a time smoke was about him, thick in his nostrils. For a time it hid the sky. But now all firing was stayed, the night was wheeling on, and the smoke lifted. Below, vague in the night-time, were seen flickering lights - torches, he knew, ambulances, litter-bearers, lifting, serving one in a hundred. They were far-away, scattered over the stricken field. They would not come up here to Devil's Den. He knew they would not come, and he watched them as the shipwrecked watch the sail upon the horizon that has not seen their signal, and that will not see it. He, shipwrecked here, had waved no cloth, but, idle as it was, he had tried to shout. His voice had fallen like a brokenwinged bird. Now he lay, in a pool of his own blood, not greatly in pain, but dying. Presently he grew light-headed, though not so much so but that he knew that he was light-headed, and could from time to time reason with his condition. He was a reading man, and something of a thinker, and now his mind in its wanderings struck into all manner of by-paths.
For a time he thought that the field below was the field of Waterloo. He remembered seeing, while it was yet light, a farm-house, a distant cluster