« 上一頁繼續 »
holding the central point upon which the great assault of the third day had been directed; and all the world knows how bravely, faithfully, and skillfully it repulsed the supreme effort of the army of the Confederacy. There, at “the clump of trees,” the tide of rebellion rose to its greatest height; and thence it was beaten back by the dauntless valor of the soldiers of fifteen States who that day along Cemetery Ridge upheld the banner of the Union. In every great career, whether civil or military, there is some one day which is peculiarly memorable ; which, by reason in part of favorable opportunities or especially conspicuous position—in part, also, through some rare inspiration quickening the genius of the statesman or the warrior—becomes and to the end remains the crown of that career; the day which that leader's name instinctively suggests; the day to which, in disappointment or retirement, his own thoughts go back as the—for him —day of days. Such to Hancock was Gettysburg. From the hour when, by his resolution, force of character and power over men, he checked the rout of the first afternoon, restored order and confidence and formed the new lines which were to be held unbroken to the last, down to the moment when the divisions of Gibbon and Hays, leaping the stone wall and rail fences which had partially sheltered them during the cannonade and the great charge, gathered in nearly thirty Confederate colors and four thousand prisoners, Gettysburg was to Hancock allglorious, all-fortunate. Even the desperate wound which he received in the moment of victory hardly seemed to cast a shadow over the great triumph he had achieved during the first month of his career as the commander of an army corps.
THE wound from which Hancock had fallen among the ranks of the Vermont brigade proved to be a severe one. On the first examination, it was thought to be due wholly to a nail which had been driven by an enemy's bullet from the wood of the saddle, or from a neighboring fence, into the general's thigh near the groin. Six weeks later, however, the wound still remaining open, with great weakness on the part of the patient, a deeper probing discovered that the musket ball itself had lodged in the thigh, causing often excruciating pain and at times complete disablement, as we shall see in the campaign of 1864. It is one of the penalties to which a man of powerful frame, accustomed to active exercise, is especially liable, that if from any cause he is long disabled and kept in confinement he acquires flesh with great rapidity, sometimes with important consequences to his physique and habits of life. After his Gettysburg wound Hancock underwent a marked change physiologically, gaining weight rapidly during his enforced idleness and suffering a permanent loss of some portion of his former activity and elasticity. To the observer, however, the change in no degree diminished the impressiveness of his carriage and bearing. He was, if anything, statelier, with an appearance of greater power and more composure. During Hancock's long absence the Second Corps saw much of severe and trying service, though no great battle was in that period fought by the Army of the Potomac. General Gibbon, next in rank, having been seriously wounded, BrigadierGeneral William Hays was provisionally assigned to the command. Under General Hays, a sensible, quiet, firm officer, the corps took part in the pursuit of Lee, and afterward moved to the left bank of the Rappahannock, at Morrisville. On the 12th of August, Major-General Gouverneur K. Warren, who had been promoted in recognition of his distinguished services at Gettysburg and who in an especial degree possessed Meade's confidence, was assigned as temporary commander. Under Warren the corps took part in the forward movement across the Rappahannock about the middle of September; and between the Ioth and the 15th of October bore a conspicuous and glorious part in the somewhat bewildering operations of those days. On the 14th it was twice engaged with the enemy while acting as rear guard during the retreat on Centreville—in the morning at Auburn and in the
afternoon at Bristoe Station. At the latter point,