414 Southern Historical Society Papers.
cern some dark blue uniforms. Presently the presence of the enemy became unmistakable. I could distinctly see company after company march briskly down a sort of woods road, halt, and face towards us. Half a dozen fellows by me saw the same and raised their guns. I took a rest on a tree, and a long aim, and we fired together. With- out stopping to reload I peered forward through the smoke to dis- cern the effect of the shot. There seemed some slight commotion, but it may only have been the officers moving about, as in a moment, as if at the word of command, the whole line brought up their mus- kets. The long stretch of gHttering steel, with a head bent down at the end of each gun- barrel, was a thrilling sight. A huge cloud of smoke hid them from our view, and a tremendous report rang through the forest. Our whole line instantly replied, and the ball opened in dead earnest. As I half-faced to the left to reload I saw our junior second-lieutenant flat upon his back, his jaw convulsively working in the agonies of death. He had never been with us in action before, and his presentiment was realized that he would fall in his first battle. I had known him before we joined the army, and the sight of his death filled me with rage. Half mad with pain and anger I rammed the loads home with all my strength, but aimed carefully each time on the range of my first shot. Other troops were apparently brought up, right and left, on both sides, for the uproar swelled until it became deafening. The ground being impracticable for either cavalry or artillery, it was a fair and square stand-up infan- try fight at close range, and most stubbornly contested. The enemy hung staunchly to their work, and our own men fought like demons. For fully an hour the din kept up without cessation. Then the enemy's fire slackened, and we held up a little in turn. Then they reopened with fresh fury, and at it again we went, hammer and tongs. Those were the days, it will be remembered, of muzzle- loaders and the old-fashioned ball cartridge, the end of which you were obliged to tear off with your teeth. After heavy firing the guns would clog, and presently every piece began to foul. I had to stop, tear up my handkerchief and wipe her out. After awhile it clogged again, and finally the ramrod stuck fast. It would neither come up nor go down, and, in despair, I jammed it, full force, into a tree. That drove that charge home, but, on coming to reload, the rammer was so bent as to be almost useless. A few more loads were worried down, and then the gun became wholly unmangeable, and I threw it down and looked around for another. Behind me was one with a prostrate soldier by it. As I stooped to pick it up, the sup-