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Philip Dru: Administrator

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<SPAN name="XXII"></SPAN> <h1 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Chapter XXII</h1> <h2 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">The Battle of Elma</h2> <p>General Dru had many spies in the enemies&#8217; camp, and some of these succeeded in crossing the lines each night in order to give him what information they had been able to gather.</p> <p>Some of these spies passed through the lines as late as eleven o&#8217;clock the night before the battle, and from them he learned that a general attack was to be made upon him the next day at six o&#8217;clock in the morning.</p> <p>As far as he could gather, and from his own knowledge of the situation, it was General Newton&#8217;s purpose to break his center. The reason Newton had this in mind was that he thought Dru&#8217;s line was far flung, and he believed that if he could drive through the center, he could then throw each wing into confusion and bring about a crushing defeat.</p> <p>As a matter of fact, Dru&#8217;s line was not far flung, but he had a few troops strung out for many miles in order to deceive Newton, because he wanted him to try and break his center.</p> <p>Up to this time, he had taken no one into his confidence, but at midnight, he called his division commanders to his headquarters and told them his plan of battle.</p> <p>They were instructed not to impart any information to the commanders of brigades until two o&#8217;clock. The men were then to be aroused and given a hasty breakfast, after which they were to be ready to march by three o&#8217;clock.</p> <p>Recent arrivals had augmented his army to approximately five hundred thousand men. General Newton had, as far as he could learn, approximately six hundred thousand, so there were more than a million of men facing one another.</p> <p>Dru had a two-fold purpose in preparing at three in the morning. First, he wanted to take no chances upon General Newton&#8217;s time of attack. His information as to six o&#8217;clock he thought reliable, but it might have been given out to deceive him and a much earlier engagement might be contemplated.</p> <p>His other reason was that he intended to flank Newton on both wings.</p> <p>It was his purpose to send, under cover of night, one hundred and twenty-five thousand men to the right of Newton and one hundred and twenty-five thousand to his left, and have them conceal themselves behind wooded hills until noon, and then to drive in on him from both sides.</p> <p>He was confident that with two hundred and fifty thousand determined men, protected by the fortifications he had been able to erect, and with the ground of his own choosing, which had a considerable elevation over the valley through which Newton would have to march, he could hold his position until noon. He did not count upon actual fighting before eight o&#8217;clock, or perhaps not before nine.</p> <p>Dru did not attempt to rest, but continued through the night to instruct his staff officers, and to arrange, as far as he could, for each contingency. Before two o&#8217;clock, he was satisfied with the situation and felt assured of victory.</p> <p>He was pleased to see the early morning hours develop a fog, for this would cover the march of his left and right wings, and they would not have to make so wide a detour in order that their movements might be concealed. It would also delay, he thought, Newton&#8217;s attack.</p> <p>His army was up and alert at three, and by four o&#8217;clock those that were to hold the center were in position, though he had them lie down again on their arms, so that they might get every moment of rest. Three o&#8217;clock saw the troops that were to flank the enemy already on the march.</p> <p>At six-thirty his outposts reported Newton&#8217;s army moving, but it was nine o&#8217;clock before they came within touch of his troops.</p> <p>In the meantime, his men were resting, and he had food served them again as late as seven o&#8217;clock.</p> <p>Newton attacked the center viciously at first, but making no headway and seeing that his men were being terribly decimated, he made a detour to the right, and, with cavalry, infantry and artillery, he drove Dru&#8217;s troops in from the position which they were holding.</p> <p>Dru recognized the threatened danger and sent heliograph messages to his right and left wings to begin their attack, though it was now only eleven o&#8217;clock. He then rode in person to the point of danger, and rallied his men to a firmer stand, upon which Newton could make no headway.</p> <p>In that hell storm of lead and steel Dru sat upon his horse unmoved. With bared head and eyes aflame, with face flushed and exultant, he looked the embodiment of the terrible God of War. His presence and his disregard of danger incited his soldiers to deeds of valor that would forever be an &#8220;inspiration and a benediction&#8221; to the race from which they sprung.</p> <p>Newton, seeing that his efforts were costing him too dearly, decided to withdraw his troops and rest until the next day, when he thought to attack Dru from the rear.</p> <p>The ground was more advantageous there, and he felt confident he could dislodge him. When he gave the command to retreat, he was surprised to find Dru massing his troops outside his entrenchments and preparing to follow him. He slowly retreated and Dru as slowly followed. Newton wanted to get him well away from his stronghold and in the open plain, and then wheel and crush him. Dru was merely keeping within striking distance, so that when his two divisions got in touch with Newton they would be able to attack him on three sides.</p> <p>Just as Newton was about to turn, Dru&#8217;s two divisions poured down the slopes of the hills on both sides and began to charge. And when Dru&#8217;s center began to charge, it was only a matter of moments before Newton&#8217;s army was in a panic.</p> <p>He tried to rally them and to face the on-coming enemy, but his efforts were in vain. His men threw down their guns, some surrendering, but most of them fleeing in the only way open, that towards the rear and the Lake.</p> <p>Dru&#8217;s soldiers saw that victory was theirs, and, maddened by the lust of war, they drove the Government forces back, killing and crushing the seething and helpless mass that was now in hopeless confusion.</p> <p>Orders were given by General Dru to push on and follow the enemy until nightfall, or until the Lake was reached, where they must surrender or drown.</p> <p>By six o&#8217;clock of that fateful day, the splendid army of Newton was a thing for pity, for Dru had determined to exhaust the last drop of strength of his men to make the victory complete, and the battle conclusive.</p> <p>At the same time, as far as he was able, he restrained his men from killing, for he saw that the enemy were without arms, and thinking only of escape. His order was only partially obeyed, for when man is in conflict with either beast or fellowman, the primitive lust for blood comes to the fore, and the gentlest and most humane are oftentimes the most bloodthirsty.</p> <p>Of the enemy forty thousand were dead and two hundred and ten thousand were wounded with seventy-five thousand missing. Of prisoners Dru had captured three hundred and seventy-five thousand.</p> <p>General Newton was killed in the early afternoon, soon after the rout began.</p> <p>Philip&#8217;s casualties were twenty-three thousand dead and one hundred and ten thousand wounded.</p> <p>It was a holocaust, but the war was indeed ended.</p>
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