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troops to the command of which Hancock was now assigned. That experience had been singularly fortunate if considered with reference to future efficiency. Partly by the chance of war, partly as the result of the courage and discipline of the troops and the exceptional capacity of the regimental commanders—notably Colonels Barlow, Brooke, McKeen, Nugent, Cross, and Zook—the division had never been borne backward in battle. It had never once had its line broken. It had been uniformly victorious; and, while it had sustained severe losses, it had never, except only in the case of the Irish Brigade at Antietam, lost blood to fainting, or sustained any of those shattering blows which take the life out of even the best troops. An equally fortunate initiation into the dreadful experiences of war had befallen few divisions. Nor was its future service, from Antietam forward, destined to be any less honorable, although its day of uniform good fortune was over and past. It was, indeed, to experience the very extremity of loss and disaster ; and was to close its career, in 1865, with the proud, though melancholy, record of two thousand two hundred and thirty-seven men killed and eleven thousand seven hundred and twenty-four men wounded in battle; and was to go into history as the division of Sunday morning at Fair Oaks, of the Sunken Road at Antietam, of the Stone Wall at Fredericksburg, of the Wheat Field at Gettysburg, of the Salient at Spottsylvania, of the closing fight at Farmville ; as the division which had been commanded by five such soldiers as Edwin V. Sumner, Israel B. Richardson, Winfield S. Hancock, Francis C. Barlow, and Nelson A. Miles. When Hancock rode over the field in the early afternoon of the 17th of September, to take command of his new division, the battle on the right was over, although none outside general headquarters suspected it. The troops lay in momentary expectation of renewing the attack in which already ten thousand men had fallen. Every now and then the bustle of the staff presaged new combinations, or the movement of troops to fill gaps in the line of battle was taken to mean that hot work was at once to begin. At intervals the artillery broke out in furious cannonading all along the line, or here and there two ambitious battery commanders tested the range of their guns and the skill of their cannoniers in a duel across the crouching lines of infantry. It was not amid the pomp of the review, with bands playing and officers saluting, but on the trampled battlefield strewn with bloody stretchers and wreck of caissons and ambulances, the dead and dying thick around, the wounded still limping and crawling to the rear, with shells shrieking through the air, that Hancock first met and greeted the good regiments he was to lead in a score of battles. The lines were ragged from shot and shell; the uniforms were rent and soiled from hedge and ditch; the bands were engaged in carrying off the wounded or assisting the surgeons at their improvised hospitals. The remainder of the day passed uncertainly, uneasily. The crash and clamor of Burnside's longdelayed fight, away down on the left, aroused expectation to its height; but this again died down as the Ninth Corps fell back before the Confederate troops arriving from Harper's Ferry. Pleasanton's batteries pressing forward in the center, supported by a few battalions of regulars, seemed like a renewal of the combat, while a gallant dash of the Seventh Maine, made from the front of Slocum's division, startled both the Union and the Confederate lines. But the day wore slowly away without any order for the renewal of the battle on the right, and when darkness came on Antietam passed into history. All the next day the two armies lay confronting each other without a collision ; and during the following night Lee, his army and his trains intact, recrossed the Potomac into Virginia,

CHAPTER IV.
FREDERICKSBURG.

ON the 19th of September, two days after the doubtful battle of Antietam, the Second Corps moved to Harper's Ferry and took up a strong position on Bolivar Heights. Here the corps was destined to remain for a considerable period, while the country chafed at the inaction of the army which had been trumpeted as winning a great and glorious victory. Early in October General Sumner was relieved in the command of the corps by General Darius N. Couch who had won much distinction on the Peninsula at the head of a division of the Fourth Corps. The only exciting incident which attended the long rest on Bolivar Heights was a reconnoissance conducted by Hancock with his division, upon the 16th of October, adown the valley to Charlestown, with a view to discovering whether the enemy was there in force. The reconnoissance developing nothing but cavalry and artillery, Hancock withdrew his troops to camp the same night. On the 3oth of . October, McClellan, urgently pressed by the popular impatience at his long delay, began his next and his last forward movement with the Army of the Potomac. The Second Corps, in the lead, crossed the Shenandoah, and, passing round the base of Loudon Heights into the valley, moved along the Blue Ridge, occupying successively the several passes over the mountains westward of the line of march, reaching the little village at the foot of Snicker's Gap on the evening of the 3d, and, on the 4th, after an artillery duel with Stuart, occupied Upperville. During the movement along the Blue Ridge, and in the few days which followed, a curious psychological phenomenon appeared. Although this was one of the best-disciplined commands of the army, with a high repute for good order, a mania seized the troops for killing sheep. On the Peninsula there had been no sheep to kill; and, while on the march to Antietam, our men had scrupulously respected the loyalty of Western Maryland. But when the fat and fleecy flocks of the country through which we were now called to pass came in sight, discipline for the moment gave way, at least quoad mutton. At first the night was taken for forays; but soon the passion rose to absolute fury. In vain did officers storm and swear; in vain was the saber used freely over the heads of the offenders who were caught; in vain, even, did the provost guard of one division turn about and fire ball-cartridges, from the road, at fellows who deliberately

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