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dered to proceed with his corps to the neighborhood of the Landron House. At this point the Confederate lines, coming up from the south and coming in from the west to form a right angle, had for some reason been extended onward to inclose the Harrison and McCool Houses. The addition thus made to the Confederate works was in shape much like an acorn, and appeared to be a mere excrescence upon their general line. It was upon this that Hancock's attack was to be made, as Upton's had been on the 10th. The Salient was approximately a mile in vertical direction and half a mile in width. The troops occupying it were Rodes's and Edward Johnson's divisions of Ewell's corps in the works, and Gordon's division in reserve at the Harrison House.
General Grant's order directing the assault at four o'clock on the morning of the 12th bears date three P. M. of the nth; Meade's order to Hancock bears date four o'clock, leaving, it will be seen, very little time for preparation before night fell. It was intended that fhe assault should be preceded by a thorough reconnoissance of the ground, to be made by Colonel Comstock, engineer officer on Grant's staff, and by Colonel Morgan and other officers of Hancock's staff. It was assumed, also, that General Mott, having attacked with his division near the designated spot upon the 10th, and being still in its immediate neighborhood, would be in possession of valuable information regarding the enemy's works. Unfortunately Colonel Comstock missed his way, and after much wandering arrived at the Brown House only a little before dark. There it was ascertained that the enemy's skirmishers were so far advanced as to offer no opportunity to survey their works; and Comstock and his party had to select the positions for the column of attack, without learning much definitely regarding the extent and direction of the works to be assaulted.
So much of ill luck having attended the attempted reconnoissance, it remained to bring up the corps. The night was dark and the roads very bad, but Barlow's and Birney's divisions arrived about midnight. Almost the only clear ground upon which to form our troops was about four hundred yards wide, and ran in a curved line from the Brown House to the Landron House; and thence, with the curve reversed, on toward the Salient. Across this clearing Barlow's division was formed in two lines of masses, each regiment being doubled on the center. Brooke's and Miles's brigades constituted the first line, Smyth's and Brown's the second. On the right of Barlow Birney formed his division in two deployed lines. Mott's division was formed in the rear of Birney, and Gibbon, arriving at a later hour, was placed in reserve. As the enemy's pickets still occupied the Landron House, it was impossible to get any view of the works, and the information regarding their position was rather vague; but it was believed that Barlow's heavily massed division would, by following down the line of the clearing, be brought directly upon the apex of the Salient, and so it proved.
It was near daylight before the necessary preparations were completed. When four o'clock arrived it was still too dark, owing to a heavy fog which spread over the ground, to allow objects to be clearly discerned. At half past four the order was given. Birney met some difficult ground in his advance, and for a few minutes Barlow's line, steadily moving down the clearing in dead silence, was somewhat ahead; but Birney's men made superhuman exertions, and, pushing through the obstacles, again came up abreast the First Division. Near the Landron House the enemy's picket reserves opened fire upon the left flank of our column, mortally wounding the heroic Colonel Strieker, of Delaware, who was leading the skirmishers. As soon as the curve of the clearing allowed Barlow's men to see the red earth at the Salient, they broke into a wild cheer and took the double-quick without orders. Tearing away the abatis with their hands, Miles's and Brooke's brigades sprang over the intrenchments, bayoneting the defenders or beating them down with clubbed muskets. Almost at the same instant Birney entered the works on his side and the Salient was won! Nearly a mile of the Confederate line was in our hands. Four thousand prisoners, including Major-General Edward Johnson and BrigadierGeneral George H. Steuart, upward of thirty colors, and eighteen cannon were the fruits of the victory. Crazed with excitement, Birney's and Barlow's men could not be restrained, but followed the flying, enemy until their second line was reached. Here they were brought to a stand by the resolute front presented by the Confederate reserves, true to the traditions which made the men of that army even more dangerous in defeat than in victory.
Thus far the affair had been a magnificent success. But now the moment of failure of connection, of delay in bringing up reserves, of misunderstanding and misadventure, inevitable in large operations in such a country, had come. Everything that Hancock and his subordinate commanders could do was done to hold what had been gained and to prepare for a new advance. The leading brigades, broken by the fury of the assault, were got together as well as was possible under the savage fire now poured in from the second Confederate line. The reserve divisions were ordered to man the captured works and to "turn" them as speedily as possible. There was not a moment to spare, for into that bloody space were advancing many thousands of stout soldiers, desperately determined to retrieve the fortunes of the day that had set so strongly against the Confederacy. Upon the Union side the confusion had become extreme; the long lines formed for the assault had converged as the Salient was reached, and were heaped one upon another. Carroll's and Owen's brigades, from Gibbon's division which was formed in reserve, had been caught by the wild excitement of the charge and, dashing to the front, had struggled even past some of the leading troops and entered the works upon the left almost at the same moment with the brigades of Brooke and Miles from Barlow's division.. McAllister's brigade, of Mott's division, had also pushed forward from the second line and thrown itself over the intrenchments. This enthusiasm of the charging column was in itself commendable; but, taken in connection with the originally dense formation, it had led to a dangerous massing of the troops. Such a body was, for the purposes of the impending collision, hut little more formidable than would have been a single well-ordered line.
From the Confederate side the divisions of Gordon and Rodes, soon re-enforced by brigades from Mahone and Wilcox, attacked our troops with savage desperation. Now on the right, and now on the left, these resolute soldiers threw themselves upon the disordered masses in the heart of the Salient, and forced them step by step backward till at last all of Hancock's men who had crossed the breastworks had been driven out; and the Second Corps only held the outer side of the intrenchments they had captured in the assault. It was about this time
that Wheaton's and Russell's divisions of the Sixth