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The jumbled rocks you see here sheltered the four Union regiments of Miller’s brigade during a hard two-hour-long fight. Rebel bullets whined and ricocheted, wounding many. Men in blue from Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania grimly held on tight inside this limestone labyrinth.
Then General Sheridans troops, who had been fighting on your right, ran out of bullets, broke ranks, and ran. General Negley called for a retreat as waves of gray-clad soldiers threatened to overwhelm his men on three sides. This stone stronghold turned into an ankle-twisting deathtrap.
Many of the men who fought here had seen the huge slaughter pens of Chicago’s meat packers. When they saw so many dead and wounded men stacked here, the soldiers called this place the Slaughter Pen.
James Negley, brigadier general, commanding 2nd Division, Center Wing
December 31st, 1862 mid-morning