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The Crime at Pickett’s Mill (1888)

By Ambrose Bierce and modified with the International Phonetic Alphabet. I did this project as an exercise during my linguistics training at Kansas University.


Bierce

There is a class of events which by their very nature, and despite any intrinsic interest that they may possess, are foredoomed to oblivion. They are merged in the general story of those greater events of which they were a part, as the thunder of a billow breaking on a distant beach is unnoted in the continuous roar. To how many having knowledge of the battles of our Civil War does the name Pickett’s Mill suggest acts of heroism and devotion performed in scenes of awful carnage to accomplish the impossible? Buried in the official reports of the victors there are indeed imperfect accounts of the engagement: the vanquished have not thought it expedient to relate it. It is ignored by General Sherman in his memoirs, yet Sherman ordered it. General Howard wrote an account of the campaign of which it was an incident, and dismissed it in a single sentence; yet General Howard planned it, and it was fought as an isolated and independent action under his eye. Whether it was so trifling an affair as to justify this inattention let the reader judge.

IPA

ˈðer ˈɪz ə ˈklæs əv ɪˈvents ˈwɪtʃ ˈbaɪ ðeɹ ˈveɹiː ˈneɪtʃəɹ, ænd dɪˈspaɪt ˈeniː ɪnˈtɹɪnzɪk ˈɪntɹəst ˈðæt ˈðeɪ ˈmeɪ pəˈzes, ˈɑɹ fɔɹˈduːmd tu əˈblɪviːən. ˈðeɪ ˈɑɹ ˈməɹdʒd ˈɪn ðə ˈdʒenɹəl ˈstɔɹiː əv ˈðoʊz ˈgɹeɪtəɹ ɪˈvents əv ˈwɪtʃ ˈðeɪ ˈwəɹ ə ˈpɑɹt, əz ðə ˈθəndəɹ əv ə ˈbɪloʊ ˈbɹeɪkɪŋ ˈɔn ə ˈdɪstənt ˈbiːtʃ ˈɪz ənˈnoʊtɪd ˈɪn ðə kənˈtɪnjuːəs ˈɹɔəɹ. tu ˈhæʊ ˈmeniː ˈhævɪŋ ˈnɑlɪdʒ əv ðə ˈbætəlz əv ɑɹ ˈsɪvəl ˈwɔɹ ˈdoʊz ðə ˈneɪm ˈpɪkəts ˈmɪl səgˈdʒest ˈækts əv ˈheɹoɪzəm ænd dɪˈvoʊʃən pəˈfɔrmd ˈɪn ˈsiːnz əv ˈɔfəl ˈkɑrnɪdʒ tu əˈkɑmplɪʃ ðiː ɪmˈpɑsəbəl? ˈberiːd ˈɪn ðiː əˈfɪʃəl rɪˈpɔrts əv ðə ˈvɪktərz ˈðer ˈɑr ɪnˈdiːd ɪmˈpərfɪkt əˈkæʊnts əv ðiː ɪnˈgeɪdʒmənt: ðə ˈvæŋkwɪʃt ˈhæv ˈnɑt ˈθɔt ˈɪt ɪkˈspiːdiːənt tu rɪˈleɪt ˈɪt. ˈɪt ˈɪz ɪgˈnɔrd ˈbaɪ ˈdʒenrəl ˈʃərmən ˈɪn ‘hɪz ˈmemˌwɑrz, ˈjet ˈʃərmən ˈɔrdərd ˈɪt. ˈdʒenrəl ˈhæʊrd ˈroʊt ən əˈkæʊnt əv ðə kæmˈpeɪn əv ˈwɪtʃ ˈɪt ˈwəz ən ˈɪnsədənt, ænd dɪsˈmɪst ˈɪt ˈɪn ə ˈsɪŋgəl ˈsentəns; ˈjet ˈdʒenrəl ˈhæʊrd ˈplænd ˈɪt, ænd ˈɪt ˈwəz ˈfɔt əz ən ˈaɪsəˌleɪtɪd ænd ˌɪndəˈpendənt ˈækʃən ˈəndər ‘hɪz ˈaɪ. ˈweðər ˈɪt ˈwəz ˈsoʊ ˈtraɪfəlɪŋ ən əˈfer əz tu ˈdʒəstəfaɪ ˈðɪs ˌɪnəˈtenʃən ˈlet ðə ˈriːdər ˈdʒədʒ.

Bierce

The fight occurred on the 27th of May, 1864, while the armies of Generals Sherman and Johnston confronted each other near Dallas, Georgia, during the memorable “Atlanta campaign.” For three weeks we had been pushing the Confederates southward, partly by maneuvering, partly by fighting, out of Dalton, out of Resaca, through Adairsville, Kingston and Cassville. Each army offered battle everywhere, but would accept it only on its own terms. At Dallas Johnston made another stand and Sherman, facing the hostile line, began his customary maneuvering for an advantage. General Wood’s division of Howard’s corps occupied a position opposite the Confederate right. Johnston finding himself on the 26th overlapped by Schofield, still farther to Wood’s left, retired his right (Polk) across a creek, whither we followed him into the woods with a deal of desultory bickering, and at nightfall had established the new lines at nearly a right angle with the old—Schofield reaching well around and threatening the Confederate rear.

IPA

ðə ˈfaɪt əˈkərd ˈɔn ðə 27θ əv ˈmeɪ, 1864, ˈwaɪl ðiː ˈɑrmiːz əv ˈdʒenrəlz ˈʃərmən ænd ˈdʒɑnstən kənˈfrəntɪd ˈiːtʃ ˈəðər ˈnɪr ˈdæləs, ˈdʒɔrdʒə, ˈdʊrɪŋ ðə ˈmemrəbəl ətˈlæntə kæmˈpeɪn. fər ˈθriː ˈwiːks ˈwiː ˈhæd ˈbɪn ˈpʊʃɪŋ ðə kənˈfedərəts ˈsæʊθwərd, ˈpɑrtliː ˈbaɪ məˈnuːvərɪŋ, ˈpɑrtliː ˈbaɪ ˈfaɪtɪŋ, ˈæʊt əv ˈdɔltən, ˈæʊt əv resaka, ˈθruː ˈəderzvɪl, ˈkɪŋstən ænd kæsvɪl. ˈiːtʃ ˈɑrmiː ˈɔfərd ˈbætəl ˈevriːˈwer, ˈbət wəd ɪkˈsept ˈɪt ˈoʊnliː ˈɔn ˈɪts ˈoʊn ˈtərmz. ət ˈdæləs, ˈdʒɑnstən ˈmeɪd əˈnəðər ˈstænd ænd ˈʃərmən, ˈfeɪsɪŋ ðə ˈhɑstəl ˈlaɪn, bɪˈgæn hɪz ˈkəstəˌmeriː məˈnuːvərɪŋ fər ən ədˈvæntɪdʒ. ˈdʒenrəl ˈwʊdz dəˈvɪʒən əv ˈhæʊrdz ˈkɔr ˈɑkjəˌpaɪd ə pəˈzɪʃən ˈɑpəzət ðə kənˈfedrət ˈraɪt. ˈdʒɑnstən ˈfaɪndɪŋ hɪmˈself ˈɔn ðə 26[th] ˌoʊvərˈlæpt ˈbaɪ ˈskoʊˌfiːld, ˈstɪl ˈfɑrðər tu ˈwʊdz ˈleft, rɪˈtaɪrd hɪz ˈraɪt (ˈpoʊlk) əˈkrɔs ə ˈkriːk, ˈwɪðər ˈwiː ˈfɑloʊd hɪm ˈɪntuː ðə ˈwʊdz ˈwɪð ə ˈdiːl əv ˈdesəlˌtɔriː ˈbɪkərɪŋ, ænd ət ˈnaɪtˌfɔl ˈhæd ɪˈstæblɪʃt ðə ˈnuː ˈlaɪnz ət ˈnɪrliː ə ˈraɪt ˈæŋgəl ˈwɪð ðiː ˈoʊld¬–ˈskoʊfiːld ˈriːtʃɪŋ ˈwel əˈræʊnd ænd ˈθretənɪŋ ðə kənˈfedrət ˈrɪr.

Bierce

The civilian reader must not suppose when he reads accounts of military operations in which relative positions of the forces are defined, as in the foregoing passages, that these were matters of general knowledge to those engaged. Such statements are commonly made, even by those high in command, in the light of later disclosures, such as the enemy’s official reports. It is seldom, indeed, that a subordinate officer knows anything about the disposition of the enemy’s forces—except that it is unaimable—or precisely whom he is fighting. As to the rank and file, they can know nothing more of the matter than the arms they carry. They hardly know what troops are upon their own right or left the length of a regiment away. If it is a cloudy day they are ignorant even of the points of the compass. It may be said, generally, that a soldier’s knowledge of what is going on about him is coterminous with his official relation to it and his personal connection with it; what is going on in front of him he does not know at all until he learns it afterward.

IPA

ðə səvɪljən ridər məst nɑt səpoz wɛn hi ridz əkawnts əv mɪlətɛri ɑpəreʃənz ɪn wɪtʃ rɛlətɪv pəzɪʃənz əv ðə fɔrsəz ɑr dəfajnd, æz ɪn ðə fɒrgoɪŋ pæsədʒəz, ðæt ðiz wər mætərz əv dʒɛnərəl nɑlədʒ tu ðoz ɛngedʒd. sətʃ stetmənts ɑr kɑmənli med, ivən baj ðoz haj ɪn kəmænd, ɪn ðə lajt əv letər dɪskloʒərz, sətʃ æz ðə ɛnəmiz əfɪʃəl rəpɔrts. ɪt ɪz sɛldəm, ɪndid, ðæt ə səbɔrdənet ɒfəsər noz ɛniθɪŋ əbawt ðə dɪspəzɪʃən əv ðə ɛnəmiz fɔrsəz ɪksɛpt ðæt ɪt ɪz ənemebəl ɔr prəsajsli hum hi ɪz fajtɪŋ. æz tu ðə ræŋk ænd fajl, ðe kæn no nəθɪŋ mɔr əv ðə mætər ðæn ðə ɑrmz ðe kæri. ðe hɑrdli no wət trups ɑr əpɑn ðɛr on rajt ɔr lɛft ðə lɛŋkθ əv ə rɛdʒəmənt əwe. ɪf ɪt ɪz ə klawdi de ðe ɑr ɪgnərənt ivən əv ðə pɔjnts əv ðə kəmpəs. ɪt me bi sɛd, dʒɛnərəli, ðæt ə soldʒərz nɑlədʒ əv wət ɪz goɪŋ ɑn əbawt hɪm ɪz coterminous wɪθ hɪz əfɪʃəl rileʃən tu ɪt ænd hɪz pərsənəl kənɛkʃən wɪθ ɪt; wət ɪz goɪŋ ɑn ɪn frənt əv hɪm hi dəz nɑt no æt ɒl əntɪl hi lərnz ɪt æftərwərd.

Bierce

At nine o’clock on the morning of the 27th Wood’s division was withdrawn and replaced by Stanley’s. Supported by Johnson’s division, it moved at ten o’clock to the left, in the rear of Schofield, a distance of four miles through a forest, and at two o’clock in the afternoon had reached a position where General Howard believed himself free to move in behind the enemy’s forces and attack them in the rear, or at least, striking them in the flank, crush his way along their line in the direction of its length, throw them into confusion and prepare an easy victory for a supporting attack in front. In selecting General Howard for this bold adventure General Sherman was doubtless not unmindful of Chancellorsville, where Stonewall Jackson had executed a similar manoeuvre for Howard’s instruction. Experience is a normal school: it teaches how to teach.

IPA

æt najn əklɑk ɑn ðə mɔrnɪŋ əv ðə 27θ wʊdz dɪvɪʒən wəz wɪθdrɒn ænd riplest baj stænliz. səpɔrtəd baj dʒɑnsənz dɪvɪʒən, ɪt muvd æt tɛn əklɑk tu ðə lɛft, ɪn ðə rɪr əv skofild, ə dɪstəns əv fɔr majlz θru ə fɔrəst, ænd æt tu əklɑk ɪn ðə æftərnun hæd ritʃt ə pəzɪʃən wɛr dʒɛnərəl hawərd bəlivd hɪmsɛlf fri tu muv ɪn bəhajnd ðə ɛnəmiz fɔrsəz ænd ətæk ðɛm ɪn ðə rɪr, ɔr æt list, strajkɪŋ ðɛm ɪn ðə flæŋk, krəʃ hɪz we əlɒŋ ðɛr lajn ɪn ðə dərɛkʃən əv ɪts lɛŋkθ, θro ðɛm ɪntu kənfjuʒən ænd pripɛr æn izi vɪktəri fɔr ə səpɔrtɪŋ ətæk ɪn frənt. ɪn səlɛktɪŋ dʒɛnərəl hawərd fɔr ðɪs bold ædvɛntʃər dʒɛnərəl ʃərmən wəz dawtləs nɑt ən majndfəl əv tʃænsələrzvɪl, wɛr stonwɒl dʒæksən hæd ɛksəkjutəd ə sɪmələr mənuvər fɔr hawərdz ɪnstrəkʃən. ɪkspɪriəns ɪz ə nɔrməl skul: ɪt titʃəz haw tu titʃ.

Bierce

There are some differences to be noted. At Chancellorsville it was Jackson who attacked; at Pickett’s Mill, Howard. At Chancellorsville it was Howard who was assailed; at Pickett’s Mill, Hood. The significance of the first distinction is doubled by that of the second.

IPA

ðɛr ɑr səm dɪfərənsəz tu bi notəd. æt tʃænsələrzvɪl ɪt wəz dʒæksən hu ətækt; æt pɪkɛts mɪl, hawərd. æt tʃænsələrzvɪl ɪt wəz hawərd hu wəz əseld; æt pɪkɛts mɪl, hʊd. ðə sɪgnɪfɪkəns əv ðə fərst dɪstɪŋkʃən ɪz dəbəld baj ðæt əv ðə sɛkənd.

The attack, it was understood, was to be made in column of brigades, Hazen’s brigade of Wood’s division leading. That such was at least Hazen’s understanding I learned from his own lips during the movement, as I was an officer of his staff. But after a march of less than a mile an hour and a further delay of three hours at the end of it to acquaint the enemy of our intention to surprise him, our single shrunken brigade of fifteen hundred men was sent forward without support to double up the army of General Johnston. “We will put in Hazen and see what success he has.” In these words of General Wood to General Howard we were first apprised of the true nature of the distinction about to be conferred upon us.

IPA

ðiː ətæk, ɪt wəz əndərstʊd, wəz tu bi med ɪn kɑləm əv brɪgedz, hezənz brəged əv wʊdz dɪvɪʒən lidɪŋ. ðæt sətʃ wəz æt list hezənz əndərstændɪŋ aj lərnd frəm hɪz on lɪps dʊrɪŋ ðə muvmənt, æz aj wəz æn ɒfəsər əv hɪz stæf. bət æftər ə mɑrtʃ əv lɛs ðæn ə majl æn awər ænd ə fərðər dəle əv θri awərz æt ðə ɛnd əv ɪt tu əkwent ðə ɛnəmi əv awər ɪntɛntʃən tu sərprajz hɪm, awər sɪŋgəl ʃrəŋkən brəged əv fɪftin həndrəd mɛn wəz sɛnt fɔrwərd wɪθawt səpɔrt tu dəbəl əp ðə ɑrmi əv dʒɛnərəl dʒɑnstən. “wi wɪl pʊt ɪn hezən ænd si wət səksɛs hi hæz. ” ɪn ðiz wərdz əv dʒɛnərəl wʊd tu dʒɛnərəl hawərd wi wər fərst əprajzd əv ðə tru netʃər əv ðə dɪstɪŋkʃən əbawt tu bi kənfərd əpɑn əs.

Bierce

General W.B. Hazen, a born fighter, an educated soldier, after the war Chief Signal Officer of the Army and now long dead, was the best hated man that I ever knew, and his very memory is a terror to every unworthy soul in the service. His was a stormy life: he was in trouble all round. Grant, Sherman, Sheridan and a countless multitude of the less eminent luckless had the misfortune, at one time and another, to incur his disfavor, and he tried to punish them all. He was always—after the war—the central figure of a court-martial or a Congressional inquiry, was accused of everything, from stealing to cowardice, was banished to obscure posts, “jumped on” by the press, traduced in public and in private, and always emerged triumphant. While Signal Officer, he went up against the Secretary of War and put him to the controversial sword. He convicted Sheridan of falsehood, Sherman of barbarism, Grant of inefficiency. He was aggressive, arrogant, tyrannical, honorable, truthful,

IPA

ˈdʒenrəl [W.B]. [Hazen], ə ˈbɔrn ˈfaɪtər, ən ˈedʒəˌkeɪtɪd ˈsoʊldʒər, ˈæftər ðə ˈwɔr ˈtʃiːf ˈsɪgnəl ˈɑfəsər əv ðə ˈɑrmiː ənd ˈnæʊ ˈlɔŋ ˈded, ˈwəz ðə ˈbest ˈheɪtɪd ˈmæn ˈðæt ˈaɪ ˈevər ˈnuː, ənd (h)ɪz ˈveriː ˈmemriː ˈɪz ə ˈterər tu ˈevriː ˌənˈwərðiː ˈsoʊl ˈɪn ðə ˈsərvəs. (h)ɪz ˈwəz ə ˈstɔrmiː ˈlaɪf: ˈhiː ˈwəz ˈɪn ˈtrəbəl ˈɔl ræʊnd. ˈgrænt, ˈʃərmən, ˈʃerədən ənd ə ˈkæʊntləs ˈməltəˌtuːd əv ðə ˈles ˈemənənt ləkləs hæd ðə mɪsfɔrtʃən, æt wən tajm ænd ənəðər, tu ɪnkər hɪz dɪsfevər, ænd hi trajd tu pənɪʃ ðɛm ɒl. hi wəz ɒlwez — æftər ðə wɔr — ðə sɛntrəl fɪgjər əv ə kɔrt- mɑrʃəl ɔr ə kəngrɛʃənəl ɪnkwajri, wəz əkjuzd əv ɛvriθɪŋ, frəm stilɪŋ tu kawərdəs, wəz bænɪʃt tu əbskjʊr posts, “dʒəmpt ɑn” ˈbaɪ ðə ˈpres, trəˈduːst ˈɪn ˈpəblɪk ənd ˈɪn ˈpraɪvət, ənd ˈɔlwiːz ɪˈmərdʒd traɪˈəm(p)fənt. ˈwaɪl ˈsɪgnəl ˈɑfəsər, ˈhiː ˈwent ˈəp əˈgenst ðə ˈsekrəˌteriː əv ˈwɔr ənd ˈpʊt ɪm tu ðə ˌkɑntrəˈvərʃəl ˈsɔrd. ˈhiː kənˈvɪktɪd ˈʃerədən əv ˈfɔlsˌhʊd, ˈʃərmən əv ˈbɑrbəˌrɪzəm, ˈgrænt əv ˌɪnəˈfɪʃənsiː. ˈhiː ˈwəz əˈgresɪv, ɛrəgənt , təˈrænɪkəl, ˈɑnərbəl, ˈtruːθfəl,

Bierce

courageous—skillful soldier, a faithful friend and one of the most exasperating of men Duty was his religion, and like the Moslem he proselyted with the sword. His missionary efforts were directed chiefly against the spiritual darkness of his superiors in rank, though he would turn aside from pursuit of his erring commander to set a chicken-thieving orderly astride a wooden horse, with a heavy stone attached to each foot. “Hazen,” said a brother brigadier, “is a synonym of insubordination.” For my commander and my friend, my master in the art of war, now unable to answer for himself, let this fact answer: when he heard Wood say they would put him in and see what success he would have in defeating an army—when he saw Howard assent—he uttered never a word, rode to the head of his feeble brigade and patiently awaited the command to go. Only by a look which I knew how to read did he betray his sense of the criminal blunder.

IPA

kəˈreɪdʒəs ˈskɪlfəl ˈsoʊldʒər, ə ˈfeɪθfəl ˈfrend ənd ˈwən əv ðə ˈmoʊst ɪgˈzæspəˌreɪtɪŋ əv [men] ˈduːtiː ˈwəz (h)ɪz rɪˈlɪdʒən, ənd ˈlaɪk ðə ˈmɑzləm ˈhiː ˈprɑsəˌlaɪtɪd ˈwɪð ðə ˈsɔrd. (h)ɪz ˈmɪʃəˌneriː ˈefərts ˈwər dəˈrektəd ˈtʃiːfliː əˈgenst ðə ˈspɪrɪtʃəwəl [darkness] əv (h)ɪz sʊˈpɪriːərz ˈɪn ˈræŋk, ˈðoʊ ˈhiː wəd ˈtərn əˈsaɪd ˈfrəm pərˈsuːt əv (h)ɪz ˈerɪŋ kəˈmændər tu ˈset ə [chicken-thieving] [orderly] əˈstraɪd ə ˈwʊdən ˈhɔrs, ˈwɪð ə ˈheviː ˈstoʊn əˈtætʃt tu ˈiːtʃ ˈfʊt. [Hayzen], ˈsed ə ˈbrəðər ˌbrɪgəˈdɪr, ˈɪz ə ˈsɪnəˌnɪm əv [insubordination]. fər ˈmaɪ kəˈmændər ənd ˈmaɪ ˈfrend, ˈmaɪ ˈmæstər ˈɪn ðiː ˈɑrt əv ˈwɔr, ˈnæʊ ˌənˈeɪbəl tu ˈænsər fər (h)ɪmˈself, ˈlet ˈðɪs ˈfækt ˈænsər: ˈwen ˈhiː ˈhərd ˈwʊd ˈseɪ ˈðeɪ wəd ˈpʊt ɪm ˈɪn ənd ˈsiː ˈwɑt səkˈses ˈhiː wəd ˈhæv ˈɪn dɪˈfiːtɪŋ ən ˈɑrmiː ˈwen ˈhiː ˈsɔ ˈhæʊrd əˈsent ˈhiː ˈətərd ˈnevər ə ˈwərd, ˈroʊðə tu ðə ˈhed əv (h)ɪz ˈfiːbəl brɪˈgeɪd ənd [patiently] əˈweɪtɪd ðə kəˈmænd tu ˈgoʊ. ˈoʊnliː ˈbaɪ ə ˈlʊk ˈwɪtʃ ˈaɪ ˈnuː ˈhæʊ tu ˈriːd ˈdɪd ˈhiː bɪˈtreɪ (h)ɪz ˈsens əv ðə ˈkrɪmənəl ˈbləndər.

Bierce

The enemy had now had seven hours in which to learn of the movement and prepare to meet it.

General Johnston says:

“The Federal troops extended their intrenched line [we did not intrench] so rapidly to their left that it was found necessary to transfer Cleburne’s division to Hardee’s corps to our right, where it was formed on the prolongation of Polk’s line.”

General Hood, commanding the enemy’s right corps, says:

“On the morning of the 27th the enemy were known to be rapidly extending their left, attempting to turn my right as they extended. Cleburne was deployed to meet them, and at half-past five P.M. a very stubborn attack was made on this division, extending to the right, where Major-General Wheeler with his cavalry division was engaging them. The assault was continued with great determination upon both Cleburne and Wheeler.”

IPA

ðiː ˈenəmiː ˈhæd ˈnæʊ ˈhæd ˈsevən ˈæʊrz ˈɪn ˈwɪtʃ tu ˈlərn əv ðə ˈmuːvmənt ənd prɪˈper tu ˈmiːt ˈɪt.

ˈdʒenrəl ˈdʒɑnstən ˈseɪz:

“ðə ˈfedrəl ˈtruːps ɪkˈstendɪd ðər [intrenched] ˈlaɪn (wi dɪd nɑt ɛntrɛntʃ) so ræpədli tu ðɛr lɛft ðæt ɪt wəz fawnd nɛsəsɛri tu trænsfər klebərnz dɪvɪʒən tu hɑrdiz kɔr tu awər rajt, wɛr ɪt wəz fɔrmd ɑn ðə prolɒŋeʃən əv foks ˈlaɪn.”

ˈdʒenrəl ˈhʊd, kəˈmændɪŋ ðiː ˈenəmiːz ˈraɪt ˈkɔr, ˈseɪz:

“ˈɔn ðə ˈmɔrnɪŋ əv ðə 27[th] ðiː ˈenəmiː ˈwər ˈnoʊn tu ˈbiː [rapidly] ɪkˈstendɪŋ ðər ˈleft, əˈtem(p)tɪŋ tu ˈtərn ˈmaɪ ˈraɪt əz ˈðeɪ ɪkˈstendɪd. ˈkliːbərn ˈwəz dɪˈplɔɪd tu ˈmiːt (ð)əm, ənd ət [half-past] ˈfaɪv [P.M]. ə ˈveriː ˈstəbərn əˈtæk ˈwəz ˈmeɪd ˈɔn ˈðɪs dəˈvɪʒən, ɪkˈstendɪŋ tu ðə ˈraɪt, ˈwer [Major-General] ˈwiːlər ˈwɪð (h)ɪz ˈkævəlriː dəˈvɪʒən ˈwəz ɪnˈgeɪdʒɪŋ (ð)əm. ðiː əˈsɔlt ˈwəz kənˈtɪnjuːd ˈwɪð ˈgreɪt dɪˌtərməˈneɪʃən əˈpɔn ˈboʊθ ˈkliːbərn ənd ˈwiːlər.”

Bierce

That, then, was the situation: a weak brigade of fifteen hundred men, with masses of idle troops behind in the character of audience, waiting for the word to march a quarter-mile up hill through almost impassable tangles of underwood, along and across precipitous ravines, and attack breastworks constructed at leisure and manned with two divisions of troops as good as themselves. True, we did not know all this, but if any man on that ground besides Wood and Howard expected a “walkover” his must have been a singularly hopeful disposition. As topographical engineer it had been my duty to make a hasty examination of the ground in front. In doing so I had pushed far enough forward through the forest to hear distinctly the murmur of the enemy awaiting us, and this had been duly reported; but from our lines nothing could be heard but the wind among the trees and the songs of birds. Some one said it was a pity to frighten them, but there would necessarily be more or less noise. We laughed at that: men awaiting death on the battlefield laugh easily, though not infectiously.

IPA

ˈðæt, ˈðen, ˈwəz ðə ˌsɪtʃəˈweɪʃən: ə ˈwiːk brɪˈgeɪd əv ˌfɪfˈtiːn ˈhəndrəd [men], ˈwɪð mæˈseɪz əv ˈaɪdəl ˈtruːps bɪˈhaɪnd ˈɪn ðə ˈkerɪktər əv ˈɔdiːəns, ˈweɪtɪŋ fər ðə ˈwərd tu ˈmɑrtʃ ə [quarter-mile] ˈəp ˈhɪl ˈθruː ˈɔlˌmoʊst ɪmˈpæsəbəl ˈtæŋgəlz əv ˈəndərˌwʊd, əˈlɔŋ ənd əˈkrɔs prɪˈsɪpətəs rəˈviːnz, ənd əˈtæk ˈbrestˌwərks kənˈstrəktɪd ət ˈliːʒər ənd ˈmænd ˈwɪð ˈtuː dəˈvɪʒənz əv ˈtruːps əz ˈgʊd əz ðəmˈselvz. ˈtruː, ˈwiː ˈdɪd ˈnɑt ˈnoʊ ˈɔl ˈðɪs, ˈbət ˈɪf ˈeniː ˈmæn ˈɔn ˈðæt ˈgræʊnd bɪˈsaɪdz ˈwʊd ənd ˈhæʊrd ɪkˈspektɪd ə ˈwɔkˌoʊvər (h)ɪz məs ˈhæv ˈbɪn ə [singularly] ˈhoʊpfəl ˌdɪspəˈzɪʃən. əz [topographical] ˌendʒəˈnɪr ˈɪt ˈhæd ˈbɪn ˈmaɪ ˈduːtiː tu ˈmeɪk ə ˈheɪstiː ɪgˌzæməˈneɪʃən əv ðə ˈgræʊnd ˈɪn ˈfrənt. ˈɪn ˈduːɪŋ ˈsoʊ ˈaɪ ˈhæd ˈpʊʃt ˈfɑr ɪˈnəf ˈfɔrwərd ˈθruː ðə ˈfɔrəst tu ˈhɪr [distinctly] ðə ˈmərmər əv ðiː ˈenəmiː əˈweɪtɪŋ ˈəs, ənd ˈðɪs ˈhæd ˈbɪn ˈduːliː rɪˈpɔrtɪd; ˈbət ˈfrəm ɑr ˈlaɪnz ˈnəθɪŋ kəd ˈbiː ˈhərd ˈbət ðə ˈwɪnd əˈməŋ ðə ˈtriːz ənd ðə ˈsɔŋz əv ˈbərdz. ˈsəm ˈwən ˈsed ˈɪt ˈwəz ə ˈpɪtiː tu ˈfraɪtən (ð)əm, ˈbət ˈðer wəd ˌnesəˈserəliː ˈbiː ˈmɔr ˈɔr ˈles ˈnɔɪz. ˈwiː ˈlæft ət ˈðæt: [men] əˈweɪtɪŋ ˈdeθ ˈɔn ðə ˈbætəlˌfiːld ˈlæf ˈiːzliː, ˈðoʊ ˈnɑt ɪnfɛkʃəsli.

Bierce

The brigade was formed in four battalions, two in front and two in rear. This gave us a front of about two hundred yards. The right front battalion was commanded by Colonel R.L. Kimberly of the 41st Ohio, the left by Colonel O.H. Payne of the 124th Ohio, the rear battalions by Colonel J.C. Foy, 23d Kentucky, and Colonel W.W. Berry, 5th Kentucky—all brave and skillful officers, tested by experience on many fields. The [pg 287]whole command (known as the Second Brigade, Third Division, Fourth Corps) consisted of no fewer than nine regiments, reduced by long service to an average of less than two hundred men each. With full ranks and only the necessary details for special duty we should have had some eight thousand rifles in line.

IPA

ðə brɪˈgeɪd ˈwəz ˈfɔrmd ˈɪn fɔr bəˈtæljənz, ˈtuː ˈɪn ˈfrənt ənd ˈtuː ˈɪn ˈrɪr. ˈðɪs ˈgeɪv ˈəs ə ˈfrənt əv əˈbæʊt ˈtuː ˈhəndrəd ˈjɑrdz. ðə ˈraɪt ˈfrənt bəˈtæljən ˈwəz kəˈmændɪd ˈbaɪ ˈkərnəl [R.L]. [Kimberly] əv ðə 41[st] oʊˈhaɪoʊ, ðə ˈleft ˈbaɪ ˈkərnəl [O.H]. [Payne] əv ðə 124[th] oʊˈhaɪoʊ, ðə ˈrɪr bəˈtæljənz ˈbaɪ ˈkərnəl [J.C]. ˈfɔɪ, 23ˈdiː kənˈtəkiː, ənd ˈkərnəl [W.W]. beˈriː, 5[th] kənˈtəkiː, ˈɔl ˈbreɪv ənd ˈskɪlfəl ˈɑfəsərz, ˈtestəd ˈbaɪ ɪkˈspɪriːəns ˈɔn ˈmeniː ˈfiːldz. ðə (ˈpeɪdʒ [2]87) ˈhoʊl kəˈmænd (ˈnoʊn əz ðə ˈsekənd brɪˈgeɪd, ˈθərd dəˈvɪʒən, ˈfɔrθ ˈkɔr) kənˈsɪstɪd əv ˈnoʊ ˈfjuːər ðən ˈnaɪn ˈredʒəmənts, rɪˈduːst ˈbaɪ ˈlɔŋ ˈsərvəs tu ən ˈævrɪdʒ əv ˈles ðən ˈtuː ˈhəndrəd [men] ˈiːtʃ. ˈwɪð ˈfʊl ˈræŋks ənd ˈoʊnliː ðə ˈnesəˌseriː dɪˈteɪlz fər ˈspeʃəl ˈduːtiː ˈwiː ʃəd ˈhæv ˈhæd ˈsəm ˈeɪt ˈθæʊzən ˈraɪfəlz ˈɪn ˈlaɪn.

Bierce

We moved forward. In less than one minute the trim battalions had become simply a swarm of men struggling through the undergrowth of the forest, pushing and crowding. The front was irregularly serrated, the strongest and bravest in advance, the others following in fan-like formations, variable and inconstant, ever defining themselves anew. For the first two hundred yards our course lay along the left bank of a small creek in a deep ravine, our left battalions sweeping along its steep slope. Then we came to the fork of the ravine. A part of us crossed below, the rest above, passing over both branches, the regiments inextricably intermingled, rendering all military formation impossible. The color-bearers kept well to the front with their flags, closely furled, aslant backward over their shoulders. Displayed, they would have been torn to rags by the boughs of the trees. Horses were all sent to the rear; the general and staff and all the field officers toiled along on foot as best they could. “We shall halt and form when we get out of this,” said an aide-de-camp.

IPA

ˈwiː ˈmuːvd ˈfɔrwərd. ˈɪn ˈles ðən ˈwən ˈmɪnət ðə ˈtrɪm bəˈtæljənz ˈhæd bɪˈkəm ˈsɪmpliː ə ˈswɔrm əv [men] ˈstrəgəlɪŋ ˈθruː ðiː ˈəndərˌgroʊθ əv ðə ˈfɔrəst, ˈpʊʃɪŋ ənd ˈkræʊdɪŋ. ðə ˈfrənt ˈwəz [irregularly] səˈreɪtɪd, ðə [strongest] ənd [bravest] ˈɪn ədˈvæns, ðiː ˈəðərz ˈfɑloʊɪŋ ˈɪn [fan-like] fɔrˈmeɪʃənz, ˈveriːəbəl ənd [inconstant], ˈevər dɪˈfaɪnɪŋ ðəmˈselvz əˈnuː. fər ðə ˈfərst ˈtuː ˈhəndrəd ˈjɑrdz ɑr ˈkɔrs ˈleɪ əˈlɔŋ ðə ˈleft ˈbæŋk əv ə ˈsmɔl ˈkriːk ˈɪn ə ˈdiːp rəˈviːn, ɑr ˈleft bəˈtæljənz ˈswiːpɪŋ əˈlɔŋ ˈɪts ˈstiːp ˈsloʊp. ˈðen ˈwiː ˈkeɪm tu ðə ˈfɔrk əv ðə rəˈviːn. ə ˈpɑrt əv ˈəs ˈkrɔst bɪˈloʊ, ðə ˈrest əˈbəv, ˈpæsɪŋ ˈoʊvər ˈboʊθ ˈbræntʃɪz, ðə ˈredʒəmənts ˌɪnɪkˈstrɪkəbliː ˌɪntərˈmɪŋgəld, ˈrendərɪŋ ˈɔl ˈmɪləˌteriː fɔrˈmeɪʃən ɪmˈpɑsəbəl. ðə ˈkələrˌberərz ˈkept ˈwel tu ðə ˈfrənt ˈwɪð ðər ˈflægz, [closely] ˈfərld, əˈslænt ˈbækwərd ˈoʊvər ðər ˈʃoʊldərz. dɪˈspleɪd, ˈðeɪ wəd ˈhæv ˈbɪn ˈtɔrn tu ˈrægz ˈbaɪ ðə ˈbæʊz əv ðə ˈtriːz. ˈhɔrsɪz ˈwər ˈɔl ˈsent tu ðə ˈrɪr; ðə ˈdʒenrəl ənd ˈstæf ənd ˈɔl ðə ˈfiːld ˈɑfəsərz ˈtɔɪld əˈlɔŋ ˈɔn ˈfʊt əz ˈbest ˈðeɪ kəd. ˈwiː ʃəl ˈhɔlt ənd ˈfɔrm ˈwen ˈwiː ˈget ˈæʊt əv ˈðɪs, ˈsed ən ˌeɪddɪˈkæmp.

Bierce

Suddenly there were a ringing rattle of musketry, the familiar hissing of bullets, and before us the interspaces of the forest were all blue with smoke. Hoarse, fierce yells broke out of a thousand throats. The forward fringe of brave and hardy assailants was arrested in its mutable extensions; the edge of our swarm grew dense and clearly defined as the foremost halted, and the rest pressed forward to align themselves beside them, all firing. The uproar was deafening; the air was sibilant with streams and sheets of missiles. In the steady, unvarying roar of small-arms the frequent shock of the cannon was rather felt than heard, but the gusts of grape which they blew into that populous wood were audible enough, screaming among the trees and cracking against their stems and branches. We had, of course, no artillery to reply.

IPA

[Suddenly] ˈðer ˈwər ə ˈrɪŋɪŋ ˈrætəl əv ˈməskətriː, ðə fəˈmɪljər ˈhɪsɪŋ əv ˈbʊləts, ənd bɪˈfɔr ˈəs ðiː ˈɪntərˌspeɪsɪz əv ðə ˈfɔrəst ˈwər ˈɔl ˈbluː ˈwɪð ˈsmoʊk. ˈhɔrs, ˈfɪrs ˈjelz ˈbroʊk ˈæʊt əv ə ˈθæʊzən ˈθroʊts. ðə ˈfɔrwərd ˈfrɪndʒ əv ˈbreɪv ənd ˈhɑrdiː [assailants] ˈwəz əˈrestɪd ˈɪn ˈɪts ˈmjuːtəbəl ɪkˈstenʃənz; ðiː ˈedʒ əv ɑr ˈswɔrm ˈgruː ˈdens ənd ˈklɪrliː dɪˈfaɪnd əz ðə [foremost] ˈhɔltɪd, ənd ðə ˈrest ˈprest ˈfɔrwərd tu əˈlaɪn ðəmˈselvz bɪˈsaɪd (ð)əm, ˈɔl ˈfaɪrɪŋ. ðiː ˈəpˌrɔr ˈwəz ˈdefənɪŋ; ðiː ˈer ˈwəz ˈsɪbələnt ˈwɪð ˈstriːmz ənd ˈʃiːts əv ˈmɪsəlz. ˈɪn ðə ˈstediː, [unvarying] ˈrɔr əv [small-arms] ðə friːˈkwent ˈʃɑk əv ðə ˈkænən ˈwəz ˈræðər ˈfelt ðən ˈhərd, ˈbət ðə ˈgəsts əv ˈgreɪp ˈwɪtʃ ˈðeɪ ˈbluː ˈɪntuː ˈðæt ˈpɑpjələs ˈwʊd ˈwər ˈɔdəbəl ɪˈnəf, ˈskriːmɪŋ əˈməŋ ðə ˈtriːz ənd ˈkrækɪŋ əˈgenst ðər ˈstemz ənd ˈbræntʃɪz. ˈwiː ˈhæd, əv ˈkɔrs, ˈnoʊ ɑrˈtɪləriː tu rɪˈplaɪ.

Bierce

Our brave color-bearers were now all in the forefront of battle in the open, for the enemy had cleared a space in front of his breastworks. They held the colors erect, shook out their glories, waved them forward and back to keep them spread, for there was no wind. From where I stood, at the right of the line—we had “halted and formed,” indeed—I could see six of our flags at one time. Occasionally one would go down, only to be instantly lifted by other hands.

IPA

ɑr ˈbreɪv ˈkələrˌberərz ˈwər ˈnæʊ ˈɔl ˈɪn ðə [forefront] əv ˈbætəl ˈɪn ðiː ˈoʊpən, fər ðiː ˈenəmiː ˈhæd ˈklɪrd ə ˈspeɪs ˈɪn ˈfrənt əv (h)ɪz ˈbrestˌwərks. ˈðeɪ ˈheld ðə ˈkələrz ɪˈrekt, ˈʃʊk ˈæʊt ðər ˈglɔriːz, ˈweɪvd (ð)əm ˈfɔrwərd ənd ˈbæk tu ˈkiːp (ð)əm ˈspred, fər ˈðer ˈwəz ˈnoʊ ˈwɪnd. ˈfrəm ˈwer ˈaɪ ˈstʊd, ət ðə ˈraɪt əv ðə ˈlaɪn ˈwiː ˈhæd ˈhɔltɪd ənd ˈfɔrmd, ɪnˈdiːd ˈaɪ kəd ˈsiː ˈsɪks əv ɑr ˈflægz ət ˈwən ˈtaɪm. [Occasionally] ˈwən wəd ˈgoʊ ˈdæʊn, ˈoʊnliː tu ˈbiː ˈɪnstəntliː ˈlɪftɪd ˈbaɪ ˈəðər ˈhændz.

Bierce

I must here quote again from General Johnston’s account of this engagement, for nothing could more truly indicate the resolute nature of the attack than the Confederate belief that it was made by the whole Fourth Corps, instead of one weak brigade:

IPA

ˈaɪ məs ˈhɪr ˈkwoʊt əˈgen ˈfrəm ˈdʒenrəl dʒɑnstənz əˈkæʊnt əv ˈðɪs ɪnˈgeɪdʒmənt, fər ˈnəθɪŋ kəd ˈmɔr ˈtruːliː ˈɪndəˌkeɪt ðə ˈrezəˌluːt ˈneɪtʃər əv ðiː əˈtæk ðən ðə kənˈfedrət bəˈliːf ˈðæt ˈɪt ˈwəz ˈmeɪd ˈbaɪ ðə ˈhoʊl ˈfɔrθ ˈkɔr, ɪnˈsted əv ˈwən ˈwiːk brɪˈgeɪd:

Bierce

“The Fourth Corps came on in deep order and assailed the Texans with great vigor, receiving their close and accurate fire with the fortitude always exhibited by General Sherman’s troops in the actions of this campaign…. The Federal troops approached within a few yards of the Confederates, but at last were forced to give way by their storm of well-directed bullets, and fell back to the shelter of a hollow near and behind them. They left hundreds of corpses within twenty paces of the Confederate line. When the United States troops paused in their advance within fifteen paces of the Texan front rank one of their color-bearers planted his colors eight or ten feet in front of his regiment, and was instantly shot dead. A soldier sprang forward to his place and fell also as he grasped the color-staff. A second and third followed successively, and each received death as speedily as his predecessors. A fourth, however, seized and bore back the object of soldierly devotion.”

IPA

“ðə ˈfɔrθ ˈkɔr ˈkeɪm ˈɔn ˈɪn ˈdiːp ˈɔrdər ənd əˈseɪld ðə [Texans] ˈwɪð ˈgreɪt ˈvɪgər, rɪˈsiːvɪŋ ðər ˈkloʊz ənd ˈækjərət ˈfɪr ˈwɪð ðə ˈfɔrtəˌtuːd ˈɔlwiːz ɪgˈzɪbətɪd ˈbaɪ ˈdʒenrəl [Shermanz] ˈtruːps ˈɪn ðiː ˈækʃənz əv ˈðɪs kæmˈpeɪn. ðə ˈfedrəl ˈtruːps əˈproʊtʃt wɪˈðɪn ə ˈfjuː ˈjɑrdz əv ðə kənˈfedrəts, ˈbət ət ˈlæst ˈwər ˈfɔrst tu ˈgɪv ˈweɪ ˈbaɪ ðər ˈstɔrm əv [well-directed] ˈbʊləts, ənd ˈfel ˈbæk tu ðə ˈʃeltər əv ə ˈhɑloʊ ˈnɪr ənd bɪˈhaɪnd (ð)əm. ˈðeɪ ˈleft ˈhəndrədz əv ˈkɔrpsɪz wɪˈðɪn ˈtwentiː ˈpeɪsɪz əv ðə kənˈfedrət ˈlaɪn. ˈwen ðə jʊˈnaɪtɪd ˈsteɪts ˈtruːps ˈpɔzd ˈɪn ðər ədˈvæns wɪˈðɪn ˌfɪfˈtiːn ˈpeɪsɪz əv ðə [Texan] ˈfrənt ˈræŋk ˈwən əv ðər ˈkələrˌberərz ˈplæntɪd (h)ɪz ˈkələrz ˈeɪt ˈɔr ˈten [feet] ˈɪn ˈfrənt əv (h)ɪz ˈredʒəmənt, ənd ˈwəz ˈɪnstəntliː ˈʃɑt ˈded. ə ˈsoʊldʒər ˈspræŋ ˈfɔrwərd tu (h)ɪz ˈpleɪs ənd ˈfel ˈɔlsoʊ əz ˈhiː ˈgræspt ðə [color-staff]. ə ˈsekənd ənd ˈθərd ˈfɑloʊd [successively], ənd ˈiːtʃ rɪˈsiːvd ˈdeθ əz ˈspiːdəliː əz (h)ɪz ˈpredəˌsesərz. ə ˈfɔrθ, hæʊˈevər, ˈsiːzd ənd ˈbɔr ˈbæk ðiː ˈɑbdʒɪkt əv soldʒərli dɪˈvoʊʃən.”

Bierce

Such incidents have occurred in battle from time to time since men began to venerate the symbols of their cause, but they are not commonly related by the enemy. If General Johnston had known that his veteran divisions were throwing their successive lines against fewer than fifteen hundred men his glowing tribute to his enemy’s valor could hardly have been more generously expressed. I can attest the truth of his soldierly praise: I saw the occurrence that he relates and regret that I am unable to recall even the name of the regiment whose colors were so gallantly saved.

IPA

ˈsətʃ ˈɪnsədənts ˈhæv əˈkərd ˈɪn ˈbætəl ˈfrəm ˈtaɪm tu ˈtaɪm ˈsɪns [men] bɪˈgæn tu ˈvenəˌreɪt ðə ˈsɪmbəlz əv ðər ˈkɔz, ˈbət ˈðeɪ ˈɑr ˈnɑt kɑmənli rɪˈleɪtɪd ˈbaɪ ðiː ˈenəmiː. ˈɪf ˈdʒenrəl ˈdʒɑnstən ˈhæd ˈnoʊn ˈðæt (h)ɪz ˈvetərən dəˈvɪʒənz ˈwər ˈθroʊɪŋ ðər səkˈsesɪv ˈlaɪnz əˈgenst ˈfjuːər ðən ˌfɪfˈtiːn ˈhəndrəd [men] (h)ɪz ˈgloʊɪŋ ˈtrɪbjuːt tu (h)ɪz ɛnəmiz ˈvælər kəd ˈhɑrdliː ˈhæv ˈbɪn ˈmɔr [generously] ɪkˈsprest. ˈaɪ kən əˈtest ðə ˈtruːθ əv (h)ɪz [soldierly] ˈpreɪz: ˈaɪ ˈsɔ ðiː əˈkərəns ˈðæt ˈhiː rɪˈleɪts ənd rɪˈgret ˈðæt ˈaɪ əm ˌənˈeɪbəl tu rɪˈkɔl ˈiːvən ðə ˈneɪm əv ðə ˈredʒəmənt ˈhuːz ˈkələrz ˈwər ˈsoʊ gǽləntli ˈseɪvd.

Bierce

Early in my military experience I used to ask myself how it was that brave troops could retreat while still their courage was high. As long as a man is not disabled he can go forward; can it be anything but fear that makes him stop and finally retire? Are there signs by which he can infallibly know the struggle to be hopeless? In this engagement, as in others, my doubts were answered as to the fact; the explanation is still obscure. In many instances which have come under my observation, when hostile lines of infantry engage at close range and the assailants afterward retire, there was a “dead-line” beyond which no man advanced but to fall. Not a soul of them ever reached the enemy’s front to be bayoneted or captured. It was a matter of the difference of three or four paces—too small a distance to affect the accuracy of aim. In these affairs no aim is taken at individual antagonists; the soldier delivers his fire at the thickest mass in his front. The fire is, of course, as deadly at twenty paces as at fifteen; at fifteen as at ten. Nevertheless, there is the “dead-line,” with its well-defined edge of corpses—those of the bravest. Where both lines are fighting without cover—as in a charge met by a counter-charge—each has its “dead-line,” and between the two is a clear space—neutral ground, devoid of dead, for the living cannot reach it to fall there.

IPA

ˈərliː ˈɪn ˈmaɪ ˈmɪləˌteriː ɪkˈspɪriːəns ˈaɪ ˈjuːzd tu ˈæsk maɪˈself ˈhæʊ ˈɪt ˈwəz ˈðæt ˈbreɪv ˈtruːps kəd rɪˈtriːt ˈwaɪl ˈstɪl ðər ˈkərɪdʒ ˈwəz ˈhaɪ. əz ˈlɔŋ əz ə ˈmæn ˈɪz ˈnɑt dɪsˈeɪbəld ˈhiː kən ˈgoʊ ˈfɔrwərd; kən ˈɪt ˈbiː [anything] ˈbət ˈfɪr ˈðæt ˈmeɪks ɪm ˈstɑp ənd ˈfaɪnəliː rɪˈtaɪr? ˈɑr ˈðer ˈsaɪnz ˈbaɪ ˈwɪtʃ ˈhiː kən [infallibly] ˈnoʊ ðə ˈstrəgəl tu ˈbiː ˈhoʊpləs? ˈɪn ˈðɪs ɪnˈgeɪdʒmənt, əz ˈɪn ˈəðərz, ˈmaɪ ˈdæʊts ˈwər ˈænsərd əz tu ðə ˈfækt; ðiː ˌekspləˈneɪʃən ˈɪz ˈstɪl ɑbˈskjʊr. ˈɪn ˈmeniː ˈɪnstənsɪz ˈwɪtʃ ˈhæv ˈkəm ˈəndər ˈmaɪ ˌɑbsərˈveɪʃən, ˈwen ˈhɑstəl ˈlaɪnz əv ˈɪnfəntriː ɪnˈgeɪdʒ ət ˈkloʊz ˈreɪndʒ ənd ðiː əselənts ˈæftəwərd rɪˈtaɪr, ˈðer ˈwəz ə dɛd- lajn biːˈɑnd ˈwɪtʃ ˈnoʊ ˈmæn ədˈvænst ˈbət tu ˈfɔl. ˈnɑt ə ˈsoʊl əv (ð)əm ˈevər ˈriːtʃt ðiː ɛnəmiz ˈfrənt tu ˈbiː ˈbeɪənətɪd ˈɔr ˈkæptʃərd. ˈɪt ˈwəz ə ˈmætər əv ðə ˈdɪfərns əv ˈθriː ˈɔr fɔr pesəz tul ˈsmɔl ə ˈdɪstəns tu ˈæˌfekt ðiː ˈækjərəsiː əv ˈeɪm. ˈɪn ðiz əˈferz ˈnoʊ ˈeɪm ˈɪz ˈteɪkən ət ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒwəl æntægənəsts; ðə ˈsoʊldʒər dɪˈlɪvərz (h)ɪz ˈfɪr ət ðə θɪkəst ˈmæs ˈɪn (h)ɪz ˈfrənt. ðə ˈfɪr ˈɪz əv ˈkɔrs, əz ˈdedliː ət ˈtwentiː ˈpeɪsɪz əz ət ˌfɪfˈtiːn; ət ˌfɪfˈtiːn əz ət ˈten. ˌnevərðəˈles, ˈðer ˈɪz ðə dɛd- lajn, wɪθ ɪts wɛl- dəfajnd ɛdʒ əv kɔrpsəz ðoz əv ðə brevəst. wɛr boθ lajnz ɑr fajtɪŋ wɪθawt kəvər æz ɪn ə tʃɑrdʒ mɛt baj ə kawntər tʃɑrdʒ itʃ hæz ɪts dɛd- lajn, ænd bətwin ðə tu ɪz ə klɪr spes nutrəl grawnd, dɪvɔjd əv dɛd, fɔr ðə lɪvɪŋ kænat ritʃ ɪt tu fɑl ðɛr.

Bierce

I observed this phenomenon at Pickett’s Mill. Standing at the right of the line I had an unobstructed view of the narrow, open space across which the two lines fought. It was dim with smoke, but not greatly obscured: the smoke rose and spread in sheets among the branches of the trees. Most of our men fought kneeling as they fired, many of them behind trees, stones and whatever cover they could get, but there were considerable groups that stood. Occasionally one of these groups, which had endured the storm of missiles for moments without perceptible reduction, would push forward, moved by a common despair, and wholly detach itself from the line. In a second every man of the group would be down. There had been no visible movement of the enemy, no audible change in the awful, even roar of the firing—yet all were down. Frequently the dim figure of an individual soldier would be seen to spring away from his comrades, advancing alone toward that fateful interspace, with leveled bayonet. He got no farther than the farthest of his predecessors. Of the “hundreds of corpses within twenty paces of the Confederate line,” I venture to say that a third were within fifteen paces, and not one within ten.

IPA

ˈaɪ əbˈzərvd ˈðɪs fɪˈnɑməˌnɑn ət pɪkɛts ˈmɪl. ˈstændɪŋ ət ðə ˈraɪt əv ðə ˈlaɪn ˈaɪ ˈhæd ən [unobstructed] ˈvjuː əv ðə ˈneroʊ, ˈoʊpən ˈspeɪs əˈkrɔs ˈwɪtʃ ðə ˈtuː ˈlaɪnz ˈfɔt. ˈɪt ˈwəz ˈdɪm ˈwɪð ˈsmoʊk, ˈbət ˈnɑt ˈgreɪtliː ɑbˈskjʊrd: ðə ˈsmoʊk roʊˈzeɪ ənd ˈspred ˈɪn ˈʃiːts əˈməŋ ðə ˈbræntʃɪz əv ðə ˈtriːz. ˈmoʊst əv ɑr [men] ˈfɔt ˈniːlɪŋ əz ˈðeɪ ˈfɪrd, ˈmeniː əv (ð)əm bɪˈhaɪnd ˈtriːz, ˈstoʊnz ənd wɑtˈevər ˈkəvər ˈðeɪ kəd ˈget, ˈbət ˈðer ˈwər [considerable] ˈgruːps ˈðæt ˈstʊd. [Occasionally] ˈwən əv [these] ˈgruːps, ˈwɪtʃ ˈhæd ɪnˈdʊrd ðə ˈstɔrm əv ˈmɪsəlz fər ˈmoʊmənts wɪˈðæʊt pərˈseptəbəl rɪˈdəkʃən, wəd ˈpʊʃ ˈfɔrwərd, ˈmuːvd ˈbaɪ ə ˈkɑmən dɪˈsper, ənd ˈhoʊ(l)liː dɪˈtætʃ ɪtˈself ˈfrəm ðə ˈlaɪn. ˈɪn ə ˈsekənd ˈevriː ˈmæn əv ðə ˈgruːp wəd ˈbiː ˈdæʊn. ˈðer ˈhæd ˈbɪn ˈnoʊ ˈvɪzəbəl ˈmuːvmənt əv ðiː ˈenəmiː, ˈnoʊ ˈɔdəbəl ˈtʃeɪndʒ ˈɪn ðiː ˈɔfəl, ˈiːvən ˈrɔr əv ðə fajrɪŋ jɛt ˈɔl ˈwər ˈdæʊn. ˈfriːkwəntliː ðə ˈdɪm ˈfɪgjər əv ən ˌɪndəˈvɪdʒwəl ˈsoʊldʒər wəd ˈbiː ˈsiːn tu ˈsprɪŋ əˈweɪ ˈfrəm (h)ɪz ˈkɑmˌrædz, ədˈvænsɪŋ əˈloʊn ˈtoʊərd ˈðæt ˈfeɪtfəl ˈɪntərˌspeɪs, ˈwɪð ˈlevəld ˈbeɪənət. ˈhiː ˈgɑt ˈnoʊ ˈfɑrðər ðən ðə ˈfɑrðəst əv (h)ɪz ˈpredəˌsesərz. əv ðə ˈhəndrədz əv ˈkɔrpsɪz wɪˈðɪn ˈtwentiː ˈpeɪsɪz əv ðə kənˈfedrət ˈlaɪn, ˈaɪ ˈvenʃər tu ˈseɪ ˈðæt ə ˈθərd ˈwər wɪˈðɪn ˌfɪfˈtiːn ˈpeɪsɪz, ənd ˈnɑt ˈwən wɪˈðɪn ˈten.

Bierce

It is the perception—perhaps unconscious—of this inexplicable phenomenon that causes the still unharmed, still vigorous and still courageous soldier to retire without having come into actual contact with his foe. He sees, or feels, that he cannot. His bayonet is a useless weapon for slaughter; its purpose is a moral one. Its mandate exhausted, he sheathes it and trusts to the bullet. That failing, he retreats. He has done all that he could do with such appliances as he has.

IPA

ˈɪt ˈɪz ðə pərˈsepʃən–pərˈhæps ˌənˈkɑnʃəs–əv ˈðɪs ˌɪnɪkˈsplɪkəbəl fɪˈnɑməˌnɑn ˈðæt ˈkɔzɪz ðə ˈstɪl [unharmed], ˈstɪl ˈvɪgrəs ənd ˈstɪl kəˈreɪdʒəs ˈsoʊldʒər tu rɪˈtaɪr wɪˈðæʊt ˈhævɪŋ ˈkəm ˈɪntuː ˈæktʃ(əw)əl ˈkɑnˌtækt ˈwɪð (h)ɪz ˈfoʊ. ˈhiː ˈsiːz, ˈɔr ˈfiːlz, ˈðæt ˈhiː ˈkænɑt. (h)ɪz ˈbeɪənət ˈɪz ə ˈjuːsləs ˈwepən fər ˈslɔtər; ˈɪts ˈpərpəs ˈɪz ə ˈmɔrəl ˈwən. ˈɪts ˈmænˌdeɪt ɪgˈzɔstɪd, ˈhiː ˈʃiːðz ˈɪt ənd ˈtrəsts tu ðə ˈbʊlət. ˈðæt ˈfeɪlɪŋ, ˈhiː rɪˈtriːts. ˈhiː [has] ˈdən ˈɔl ˈðæt ˈhiː kəd ˈduː ˈwɪð ˈsətʃ əˈplaɪənsɪz əz ˈhiː [has].

Bierce

No command to fall back was given, none could have been heard. Man by man, the survivors withdrew at will, sifting through the trees into the cover of the ravines, among the wounded who could drag themselves back; among the skulkers whom nothing could have dragged forward. The left of our short line had fought at the corner of a cornfield, the fence along the right side of which was parallel to the direction of our retreat. As the disorganized groups fell back along this fence on the wooded side, they were attacked by a flanking force of the enemy moving through the field in a direction nearly parallel with what had been our front. This force, I infer from General Johnston’s account, consisted of the brigade of General Lowry, or two Arkansas regiments under Colonel Baucum. I had been sent by General Hazen to that point and arrived in time to witness this formidable movement. But already our retreating men, in obedience to their officers, their courage and their instinct of self-preservation, had formed along the fence and opened fire. The apparently slight advantage of the imperfect cover and the open range worked its customary miracle: the assault, a singularly spiritless one, considering the advantages it promised and that it was made by an organized and victorious force against a broken and retreating one, was checked. The assailants actually retired, and if they afterward renewed the movement they encountered none but our dead and wounded.

IPA

ˈnoʊ kəˈmænd tu ˈfɔl ˈbæk ˈwəz ˈgɪvən, ˈnən kəd ˈhæv ˈbɪn ˈhərd. ˈmæn ˈbaɪ ˈmæn, ðə [survivors] wɪðˈdruː ət wəl, ˈsɪftɪŋ ˈθruː ðə ˈtriːz ˈɪntuː ðə ˈkəvər əv ðə rəˈviːnz, əˈməŋ ðə ˈwuːndɪd ˈhuː kəd ˈdræg ðəmˈselvz ˈbæk; əˈməŋ ðə [skulkers] ˈhuːm ˈnəθɪŋ kəd ˈhæv ˈdrægd ˈfɔrwərd. ðə ˈleft əv ɑr ˈʃɔrt ˈlaɪn ˈhæd ˈfɔt ət ðə ˈkɔrnər əv ə [cornfield], ðə ˈfens əˈlɔŋ ðə ˈraɪt ˈsaɪd əv ˈwɪtʃ ˈwəz ˈperəˌlel tu ðə dəˈrekʃən əv ɑr rɪˈtriːt. əz ðə dɪsˈɔrgəˌnaɪzd ˈgruːps ˈfel ˈbæk əˈlɔŋ ˈðɪs ˈfens ˈɔn ðə ˈwʊdəd ˈsaɪd, ˈðeɪ ˈwər əˈtækt ˈbaɪ ə ˈflæŋkɪŋ ˈfɔrs əv ðiː ˈenəmiː ˈmuːvɪŋ ˈθruː ðə ˈfiːld ˈɪn ə dəˈrekʃən ˈnɪrliː ˈperəˌlel ˈwɪð ˈwɑt ˈhæd ˈbɪn ɑr ˈfrənt. ˈðɪs ˈfɔrs, ˈaɪ ɪnˈfər ˈfrəm ˈdʒenrəl dʒɑnstənz əˈkæʊnt, kənˈsɪstɪd əv ðə brɪˈgeɪd əv ˈdʒenrəl ˈlæʊriː, ˈɔr ˈtuː ˈɑrkənˌsɔ ˈredʒəmənts ˈəndər ˈkərnəl [Baucum]. ˈaɪ ˈhæd ˈbɪn ˈsent ˈbaɪ ˈdʒenrəl hezən tu ˈðæt ˈpɔɪnt ənd əˈraɪvd ˈɪn ˈtaɪm tu ˈwɪtnəs ˈðɪs ˈfɔrmədəbəl ˈmuːvmənt. ˈbət ɔlˈrediː ɑr rɪˈtriːtɪŋ [men], ˈɪn oʊˈbiːdiːəns tu ðər ˈɑfəsərz, ðər ˈkərɪdʒ ənd ðər ˈɪnˌstɪŋ(k)t əv [self-preservation], ˈhæd ˈfɔrmd əˈlɔŋ ðə ˈfens ənd ˈoʊpənd ˈfɪr. ðiː əpɛrəntli ˈslaɪt ədˈvæntɪdʒ əv ðiː ɪmˈpərfɪkt ˈkəvər ənd ðiː ˈoʊpən ˈreɪndʒ ˈwərkt ˈɪts ˈkəstəˌmeriː ˈmɪrɪkəl: ðiː əˈsɔlt, ə sɪŋgjələrli ˈspɪrətləs ˈwən, kənˈsɪdərɪŋ ðiː ədˈvæntɪdʒɪz ˈɪt ˈprɑməst ənd ˈðæt ˈɪt ˈwəz ˈmeɪd ˈbaɪ ən ˈɔrgəˌnaɪzd ənd vɪkˈtoʊriːəs ˈfɔrs əˈgenst ə ˈbroʊkən ənd rɪˈtriːtɪŋ ˈwən, ˈwəz ˈtʃekt. ðiː əselənts ˈæktʃ(əw)əliː rɪˈtaɪrd, ənd ˈɪf ˈðeɪ ˈæftəwərd rɪˈnuːd ðə ˈmuːvmənt ˈðeɪ ɪnˈkæʊntərd ˈnən ˈbət ɑr ˈded ənd ˈwuːndɪd.

Bierce

The battle, as a battle, was at an end, but there was still some slaughtering that it was possible to incur before nightfall; and as the wreck of our brigade drifted back through the forest we met the brigade (Gibson’s) which, had the attack been made in column, as it should have been, would have been but five minutes behind our heels, with another five minutes behind its own. As it was, just forty-five minutes had elapsed, during which the enemy had destroyed us and was now ready to perform the same kindly office for our successors. Neither Gibson nor the brigade which was sent to his “relief” as tardily as he to ours accomplished, or could have hoped to accomplish, anything whatever. I did not note their movements, having other duties, but Hazen in his “Narrative of Military Service” says:

IPA

ðə ˈbætəl, əz ə ˈbætəl, ˈwəz ət ən ˈend, ˈbət ˈðer ˈwəz ˈstɪl ˈsəm ˈslɔtərɪŋ ˈðæt ˈɪt ˈwəz ˈpɑsəbəl tu ɪnˈkər bɪˈfɔr ˈnaɪtˌfɔl; ənd əz ðə ˈrek əv ɑr brɪˈgeɪd ˈdrɪftɪd ˈbæk ˈθruː ðə ˈfɔrəst ˈwiː ˈmet ðə brɪˈgeɪd (gibsons) ˈwɪtʃ, ˈhæd ðiː əˈtæk ˈbɪn ˈmeɪd ˈɪn ˈkɑləm, əz ˈɪt ʃəd ˈhæv ˈbɪn, wəd ˈhæv ˈbɪn ˈbət ˈfaɪv ˈmɪnəts bɪˈhaɪnd ɑr ˈhiːlz, ˈwɪð əˈnəðər ˈfaɪv ˈmɪnəts bɪˈhaɪnd ˈɪts ˈoʊn. əz ˈɪt ˈwəz, ˈdʒəst ˌfɔrtiːˈfaɪv ˈmɪnəts ˈhæd ɪˈlæpst, ˈdʊrɪŋ ˈwɪtʃ ðiː ˈenəmiː ˈhæd dɪˈstrɔɪd ˈəs ənd ˈwəz ˈnæʊ ˈrediː tu pəˈfɔrm ðə ˈseɪm ˈkaɪnliː ˈɑfəs fər ɑr səkˈsesərz. ˈniːðər ˈgɪbsən ˈnɔr ðə brɪˈgeɪd ˈwɪtʃ ˈwəz ˈsent tu (h)ɪz rɪˈliːf əz ˈtɑrdəliː əz ˈhiː tu ˈæʊrz əˈkɑmplɪʃt, ˈɔr kəd ˈhæv ˈhoʊpt tu əˈkɑmplɪʃ, [anything] wɑtˈevər. ˈaɪ ˈdɪd ˈnɑt ˈnoʊt ðər ˈmuːvmənts, ˈhævɪŋ ˈəðər ˈduːtiːz, ˈbət [Hayzin] ˈɪn (h)ɪz ˈnerətɪv əv ˈmɪləˌteriː ˈsərvəs ˈseɪz:

Bierce

“I witnessed the attack of the two brigades following my own, and none of these (troops) advanced nearer than one hundred yards of the enemy’s works. They went in at a run, and as organizations were broken in less than a minute.”

Nevertheless their losses were considerable, including several hundred prisoners taken from a sheltered place whence they did not care to rise and run. The entire loss was about fourteen hundred men, of whom nearly one-half fell killed and wounded in Hazen’s brigade in less than thirty minutes of actual fighting.

IPA

“ˈaɪ ˈwɪtnəst ðiː əˈtæk əv ðə ˈtuː brɪˈgeɪdz ˈfɑloʊɪŋ ˈmaɪ ˈoʊn, ənd ˈnən əv ðiz ˈtruːps ədˈvænst ɛnəmi ðən ˈwən ˈhəndrəd ˈjɑrdz əv ðiː ɛnəmiz ˈwərks. ˈðeɪ ˈwent ˈɪn ət ə ˈrən, ənd əz ˌɔrgənəˈzeɪʃənz ˈwər ˈbroʊkən ˈɪn ˈles ðən ə ˈmɪnət.”

ˌnevərðəˈles ðər ˈlɔsɪz ˈwər kənsɪdərəbəl, ɪnˈkluːdɪŋ ˈsevrəl ˈhəndrəd ˈprɪznərz ˈteɪkən ˈfrəm ə ˈʃeltərd ˈpleɪs ˈwens ˈðeɪ ˈdɪd ˈnɑt ˈker tu ˈraɪz ənd ˈrən. ðiː ɪnˈtaɪr ˈlɔs ˈwəz əˈbæʊt fɔrˈtiːn ˈhəndrəd [men], əv ˈhuːm ˈnɪrliː wən-hæf ˈfel ˈkɪld ənd ˈwuːndɪd ˈɪn hazen|s brɪˈgeɪd ˈɪn ˈles ðən ˈθərtiː ˈmɪnəts əv ˈæktʃ(əw)əl ˈfaɪtɪŋ.

Bierce

General Johnston says:

“The Federal dead lying near our line were counted by many persons, officers and soldiers. According to these counts there were seven hundred of them.”

This is obviously erroneous, though I have not the means at hand to ascertain the true number. I remember that we were all astonished at the uncommonly large proportion of dead to wounded—a consequence of the uncommonly close range at which most of the fighting was done.

IPA

ˈdʒenrəl ˈdʒɑnstən ˈseɪz:

“ðə ˈfedrəl ˈded lajɪŋ ˈnɪr ɑr ˈlaɪn ˈwər ˈkæʊntɪd ˈbaɪ ˈmeniː ˈpərsənz, ˈɑfəsərz ənd ˈsoʊldʒərz. əˈkɔrdɪŋ tu ðiz ˈkæʊnts ˈðer ˈwər ˈsevən ˈhəndrəd əv ðəm.”

ˈðɪs ˈɪz ɑbviəsli ɪˈroʊniːəs, ˈðoʊ ˈaɪ ˈhæv ˈnɑt ðə ˈmiːnz ət ˈhænd tu ˌæsərˈteɪn ðə ˈtruː ˈnəmbər. ˈaɪ rɪˈmembər ˈðæt ˈwiː ˈwər ˈɔl əˈstɑnɪʃt ət ðiː ənkɑmənli ˈlɑrdʒ prəˈpɔrʃən əv ˈded tu wundəd - a ˈkɑnsəˌkwens əv ðiː ənkɑmənli ˈkloʊz ˈreɪndʒ ət ˈwɪtʃ ˈmoʊst əv ðə ˈfaɪtɪŋ ˈwəz ˈdən.

Bierce

The action took its name from a water-power mill near by. This was on a branch of a stream having, I am sorry to say, the prosaic name of Pumpkin Vine Creek. I have my own reasons for suggesting that the name of that water-course be altered to Sunday-School Run.

IPA

ðiː ˈækʃən ˈtʊk ˈɪts ˈneɪm ˈfrəm ə wɒtər- pawər ˈmɪl ˈnɪr ˈbaɪ. ˈðɪs ˈwəz ˈɔn ə ˈbræntʃ əv ə ˈstriːm ˈhævɪŋ, ˈaɪ əm ˈsɑriː tu ˈseɪ, ðə proʊˈzeɪɪk ˈneɪm əv ˈpəm(p)kən ˈvaɪn ˈkriːk. ˈaɪ ˈhæv ˈmaɪ ˈoʊn ˈriːzənz fər səgˈdʒestɪŋ ˈðæt ðə ˈneɪm əv ˈðæt wɒtər- kɔrs ˈbiː ˈɔltərd tu sənde- skul ˈrən.


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