Even in the darkness, Sickles can track the retrograde movement of his battle-line by the sounds of combat and muzzle flashes. As the survivors of the fight north of the Wheat Field stream past him, he realizes that the long day's fight is over, and that he must now try to rescue the remaining brigades.
He orders his men to retreat but can't help wondering what else he could have done. He was everywhere on the field today...in the thick of the fighting, driving his men forward again and again. He'd never seen them fight like this. They were lions! They gave it everything, but the Rebs must have wanted it just a little more, because they were yipping and shouting and his men were legging it to the rear...again.