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Fast as the ambulance rolls along, it can not keep up with Hancock's impatient mind; and soon the led horses are brought up, and the chief is galloping to the front, where, at any time, anything may happen. Only those who have once been in such a case know how long a road can be, how the distance lengthens, and how the throbbing sounds of cannon work the hearer into an ecstasy of impatient rage. Conjecture goes wild with a thousand thoughts of possible disaster, and a sort of shame at being so far away stings the soul of the good soldier hastening to the relief of his overborne comrades. At the distance of about four miles from Gettysburg an ambulance is encountered escorted by a single officer. A word tells that it contains the body of the heroic Reynolds borne from his last battlefield. A deep silence falls upon the galloping staff, and nothing is spoken until* from the crest of Cemetery Hill the panorama of Gettysburg lies unrolled before them.
Beautiful as that landscape appears to the eye of the peaceful traveler, it is now a scene of terror, strewn with the dead and dying and with the wreck of battle. More painful still to witness are the disorderly groups of fugitives hurrying from the field or skulking behind cover. Down the Baltimore road to the rear pours a stream of panic-stricken men mixed up with led horses, artillery, ammunition wagons, and ambulances loaded with the wounded. In front, across the valley, Seminary Ridge, on which had occurred the sanguinary battle of the morning, is bristling with the battalions and batteries of Hill's corps; while Ewell, having seized the town with his right, is extending his left to grasp Culp's Hill, from which he would command the road to Baltimore. To hold Cemetery Hill, thus threatened, there is a single brigade not yet engaged—that of Colonel Orlando Smith, about one thousand strong, which had been left in reserve when Howard went forward to support Reynolds. Here and there remnants of other brigades have halted, unwilling to retreat farther, yet surveying with gloomy apprehension the fast-gathering masses of the Confederates. To the left, adown the crest of Cemetery Ridge the broken bands of the First Corps, which have done transcendent soldierly service during the long hours of the day, stand firmly in their place, to keep the position for which they have made such awful sacrifices. In front of them, and still farther to the left, is the one inspiring feature of the scene: Btaford's splendid division of cavalry drawn up in lime of battalions en masse, unshaken and undaunted 'in the face of the Confederate infantry.
* Hancock gives the hour of his arrival as half-past three. Howard says four o'clock. Probably no other general in the army had so many staff officers who habitually carried notebooks and recorded every incident or order, with the hour and the minute, as had Hancock.
Upon this field of wreck and disorder now Appears Hancock. And as the sun shining through a rift in the clouds may change a scene of gloom to one of beauty, so the coming of this prince of soldiers brings life and courage to all. At his call the braver spirits flame to their height; the weaker souls yield gladly to the impulse of that powerful, aggressive, resolute nature. At once the doubtful halt on Cemetery Hill is transformed into the confident assumption of a new line of battle; the fearful stream adown the Baltimore road is peremptorily stopped; shattered regiments as they reach the hill are re-formed; on every side men seek their colors with alacrity ; commanders rectify their lines ; ammunition is brought up; troops are sent to occupy Culp's Hill, threatened by Ewell's divisions; skirmishers are thrown out on the front and right; batteries are planted along the crest; every position of advantage is occupied with the bravest show of force that can be made, with a view to deterring the enemy from attacking until the re-enforcements now rapidly approaching the field shall arrive.
In the following words Captain Edward N. Whittier, of the Fifth Maine Battery which was among the last to emerge from the streets of Gettysburg and mount the hill, describes the appearance of General Hancock on this occasion: "In the center of the plateau was a group of general officers and orderlies. It was a scene of the utmost activity, and yet there was no confusion. Prominent in the