Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/217
Storm'd ;it with shot and shell. Boldly they man lu-d and well. Into tin- jaws of death Into tin- mouth of hell,
Marched tin- six hundred."
And when the fire was so severe that the men could stand no longer, and knowing it was all the result of somebody's blunder, they lay on the ground and loaded and fired as fast as they could, waiting for orders to retire. But no order came.
Officers were falling so fast that no one knew who was in command. And just at this time T. R. B. Wright, who was then a private in the Essex Sharpshooters, seeing our flag fall, ran and seized it and carried it to the front, calling to the men to follow. Ah, Tom, Ser- geant Jasper did not perform as brave an act as that, but the men couldn't follow. Had they attempted it, without an interposition of Providence, not one would have been left to tell the tale, and God alone spared your life.
And, when Adjutant R. L. Williams could find no officer above his own rank to command the regiment, he took the responsibility upon himself, and ordered a retreat; and
" Then they came back, but Not the six hundred."
Casualties Colonel, dead; Lieutenant-Colonel, wounded; Major, dead. Every captain, except one,* either dead or wounded. Every first lieutenant either dead or wounded. Every second lieutenant, except four, either dead or wounded. One-third of the men either dead or wounded. And what is left of the 55th Virginia Regiment is commanded by the adjutant and four second lieutenants.
Cardigan, at Balaklava, left hundreds of prisoners behind. Pickett, at Gettysburg, left thousands; but every man of the 55th Virginia who could walk was brought off the field.
- Captain W. J. Davis and several of his men having got lost from his
regiment in the darkness after the wounding of General Jackson, called out for the 55th, and was answered, " Here we are ! " and, not knowing any bet- ter, walked right into the enemy's lines, and inquired for his company, when a boy, apparently about sixteen years old, stepped up close to him, and, looking on his collar, discovered his rank, and, patting him on his shoulder, said "Captain, this is the 55th Ohio, and you are my prisoner." u