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clasps his hand as in the old days, and, in a voice still martial and stirring, cries, “Go in, Colonel, and give it to them on the flank.” And soon, rising to a roar that extends from Cemetery Hill to the Round Tops, a shout along the Union line tells that the great attack has been repulsed. The wall of fire which Hancock, Gibbon, and Hays had drawn around the head of the Confederate column as it lay within the Union lines had been too much for the endurance of the men of Pickett and Pettigrew. Armistead had gone down, and with him the bravest of the adventurous few who crossed the stone wall; many a flag had dropped to earth never again to be lifted save as a trophy. Hunt, chief of artillery; Mitchell and Haskell, of the staff; Webb, commanding the brigade on which the attack fell, had displayed prodigies of valor in bringing up troops to meet the enemy; and at last, with one great spontaneous surge, the men of the Second Corps went forward, gathering in “prisoners by thousands and battle flags in sheaves" *--and Gettysburg was won.
It was not until the repulse was complete that Hancock allowed himself to sink to the ground and gave himself up to the good corps surgeon, Dougherty, whom the news had brought to his side. The wound was an ugly one and ghastly to
An onlooker has compared it to the stab of a butcher's
* General Charles Devens, Oration on Meade, 1873.
knife. A few minutes of field surgery sufficed to stop the flowing blood, and made it safe to lift him into the ambulance which was to bear him from the corps he had commanded one short month, yet at the head of which he had won immortal honor.
The battle of Gettysburg had been as costly as glorious to the Second Corps. The corps had taken into the fight fewer than ten thousand muskets; it had lost four thousand three hundred and fifty men, of whom three hundred and forty-nine were commissioned officers. The corps commander had been severely wounded, as had General Gibbon who succeeded to the command when Hancock assumed his larger charge. Both of these high officers had fallen on the very line of battle or in front of it. The heroic General Zook had been killed, and twelve of as brave colonels and lieutenant colonels as the army knew : Cross, of New Hampshire ; Willard, Sherrill, Huston, and Thoman, of New York; Roberts, O'Kane, and Tschudy, of Pennsylvania ; Ward and Revere, of Massachusetts; Merwin, of Connecticut; and Steele, of Michigan. In its artillery brigade two hundred and fifty horses had been killed; of its five battery commanders, all had been wounded, four of them mortally. But the corps had trophies to show for these tremendous losses. It had captured twentyseven Confederate battle flags and as many prisoners as it had men remaining in its own ranks when the fight was over. To it had come the honor of
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 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