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thought the Confederates were retreating; and when finally the scouts brought word to Howard that he was menaced by a flank attack he paid no heed to the information, and actually let his whole corps be surprised in broad daylight. Yet all the while the battle was going on elsewhere, and Berdan's sharpshooters had surrounded and captured a Georgia regiment, from which information was received showing definitely that Jackson was not retreating, and must be preparing to strike a heavy blow.
The Eleventh Corps had not the slightest idea that it was about to be assailed. The men were not even in line. Many of them had stacked their muskets and were lounging about, some playing cards, others cooking supper, intermingled with the pack-mules and beef cattle. While they were thus utterly unprepared, Jackson's gray-clad veterans pushed straight through the forest and rushed fiercely to the attack. The first notice the troops of the Eleventh Corps received did not come from the pickets, but from the deer, rabbits, and foxes which, fleeing from their coverts at the approach of the Confederates, suddenly came running over and into the Union lines. In another minute the frightened pickets came tumbling back, and right behind them came the long files of charging, yelling Confederates. With one fierce rush Jackson's men swept over the Union lines, and at a blow the Eleventh Corps became a horde of panic-struck fugitives. Some of the regiments resisted for a few moments, and then they too were carried away in the flight.
For a while it seemed as if the whole army would be swept off; but Hooker and his subordinates exerted
every effort to restore order. It was imperative to gain time so that the untouched portions of the army could form across the line of the Confederate advance.
Keenan's regiment of Pennsylvania cavalry, but four hundred sabers strong, was accordingly sent full against the front of the ten thousand victorious Confederates.
Keenan himself fell, pierced by bayonets, and the charge was repulsed at once; but a few priceless moments had been saved, and Pleasonton had been given time to post twenty-two guns, loaded with double canister, where they would bear upon the enemy.
The Confederates advanced in a dense mass, yelling and cheering, and the discharge of the guns fairly blew them back across the works they had just taken. Again they charged, and again were driven back; and when the battle once more began the Union reinforcements had arrived.
It was about this time that Jackson himself was mortally wounded. He had been leading and urging on the advance of his men, cheering them with voice and gesture, his pale face flushed with joy and excitement, while from time to time as he sat on his horse he took off his hat and, looking upward, thanked heaven for the victory it had vouchsafed him. As darkness drew near he was in the front, where friend and foe were mingled in almost inextricable confusion. He and his staff were fired at, at close range, by the Union troops, and, as they turned, were fired at again, through a mistake, by the Confederates behind them. Jackson fell, struck in several places. He was put in a litter and carried back; but he never lost consciousness, and when one of his generals
complained of the terrible effect of the Union cannonade he answered:
“You must hold your ground."
For several days he lingered, hearing how Lee beat Hooker, in detail, and forced him back across the river. Then the old Puritan died. At the end his mind wandered, and he thought he was again commanding in battle, and his last words were:
“Let us cross over the river and rest in the shade."
Thus perished Stonewall Jackson, one of the ablest of soldiers and one of the most upright of men, in the last of his many triumphs.
My countrymen, I believe in you with all my heart. I am proud that it has been granted to me to be a citizen in a nation of such glorious opportunities. We have no choice, we people of the United States, as to whether or not we shall play a great part in the world. That has been determined for us by fate, by the march of events. We have to play that part. All that we can decide is whether we shall play it well or ill. We are not, and cannot, and never will be one of those nations that can progress from century to century doing little and suffering little, standing aside from the great world currents. We must either succeed greatly or fail greatly. The citizen of a small nation may keep his self-respect if that nation plays but a small part in the world, because it is physically impossible for the nation to do otherwise; but the citizen of a great nation which plays a small part shall hang his head with shame.
I ask that this people rise level to the greatness of its opportunities.