The general absolution

In performing this ceremony I faced the army. My eye covered thousands of officers and men. I noticed that all, Catholic and non-Catholic, officers and private soldiers showed a profound respect, wishing at this fatal crisis to receive every benefit of divine grace that could be imparted through the instrumentality of the Church ministry. Even Maj.-Gen. Hancock removed his hat, and, as far as compatible with the situation, bowed in reverential devotion. That general absolution was intended for all — quantum possim — not only for our brigade, but for all. North or South, who were susceptible of it and who were about to appear before their Judge. Let us hope that many thousands of souls, purified by hardships, fasting, prayer, and blood, met a favorable sentence on the ever memorable battlefield of Gettysburg. The battle lasted three days and was the greatest of the war. A comparison between the battles of Gettysburg and Waterloo has frequently  been made by various writers; the greater of the two is, very likely, that at Gettysburg. – from Memoirs of a Chaplain Life