Test: LSAT Reading

"The Passing of the Armies" by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (1915) Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was a Brevet Major-General of U.S. Volunteers who was present at General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865. In the following paragraphs he describes a portion of one of the final battles of the Civil War.

The attack was impetuous; the musketry hot. Major Glenn with his six companies in skirmishing order dashed through the stream and struck the enemy's breastworks front and flank. In a moment everything started loose. The entire brigade forded the stream and rolled forward, closing upon Glenn right and left, and the whole command swept onward like a wave, carrying all before it a mile or more up the road, to the buildings of the Lewis Farm. The enemy now re-enforced made a decided stand, and the fight became sharp. But our enveloping line pressed them so severely that they fell back after each struggle to the edge of a thick wood, where a large body had gathered behind a substantial breastwork of logs and earth.

A withering volley breaks our line into groups. Courage and resolution are great, but some other sentiment mightier for the moment controls our men; a backward movement begins, but the men retire slowly, bearing their wounded with them, and even some of their dead. The enemy, seeing this recoil, pour out of their shelter and make a dash upon our broken groups, but only to be dashed back in turn hand to hand in eddying whirls. And seized by our desperate fellows, so many are dragged along as prisoners in the receding tide that it is not easy to tell which side is the winning one. Much of the enemy's aim is unsteady, for the flame and murk of their thickening fire in the heavy moist air are blown back into their eyes by the freshening south wind. But reinforcements are coming in, deepening and broadening their line beyond both our flanks. Now roar and tumult of motion for a fierce pulse of time, then again a quivering halt. At length one vigorous dash drives the assailants into the woods again with heavy loss. We had cleared the field, and thought it best to be content with that for the present. We reform our lines each side the buildings of the Lewis Farm, and take account of the situation.


Which of the following statements most accurately reflects the main idea of the passage?

Many troops on both sides fled the field due to cowardice

The battle went exactly according to the Union general's plans

Confederate troops showed a great deal more bravery in the battle than the Union troops

A fierce battle between Union and Confederate troops raged back and forth, eventually leaving Union troops in command of the field

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