Reminiscences of Cavalry Operations. 449
truer knic^ht ever flashed a blade or responded to bugle's note." A costly sacrifice to our army. And later in the evening, when we returned to the left, I learned that Colonel George S. Patton, my roommate for two years and classmate at the V. M. I., had also been killed. Like a chain in a family circle, a link falls out, others may come and take their seats ; the missing link can never be forged again ; that gap cannot be filled up.
On we move to join Lomax, near Abram's Creek, to the right of the Berryville pike. The enemy's battery welcomed us with shell, making our approach to Lomax in an open field very uncomfortable, and, as usual, some good men and horses went down under their fire. It is a grand sight to see masses of troops with glittering sabres or bayonets, and banners and guidons streaming ; but the crack- ing, screaming and bursting of shells from the enem3s guns, over the heads of cavalry, and occasionally dropping in their midst, is never agreeable. I dismounted all the men I could spare from the led horses. They quickly collected all of the loose rock and rails near by, and in an astonishingly short time my men were stretched behind them, willing to take the chances. (Rock piles were very effective against carbine balls, but when a cannon ball and shell hit a rock pile it generally cleared 02it all behind it.) Then, as it often happened, when we felt about fixed, another courier came, in great haste, for me to move the brigade back to the left, as Averill and Torbert were coming in on the Martinsburg road, and had overpow- ered our small force of cavalry, and were seriously threatening our infantry, who had to change front to rectify our lines. To withdraw in the face of the enemy is always fraught with difficulties and dan- gers. It is certain to draw their fire with greater energy from their batteries, and is very apt to make them advance at once. Orders must be obeyed ; the men would rather have remained and taken their chances, but back we must go. The men holding the horses were glad enough to see the command preparing to come and mount, for they had been shifting constantly to keep from the range of the enemy's artillery, who were constantly feeling for them. We had to get back slowly, allowing Lomax gradually to extend his old lines, and to relieve my men quietly, so as not to attract the enemy's attention. When everything was ready, back we went to mount, and soon had shell from the same battery shrieking after us. Out we moved, and met courier after courier, telling me to hurry up. Off we went at a trot, and when we reached the left things looked very ugly for us. General John C. Breckenridge and his staff were exert-