90 Southern Historical Society Papers.
Culpeper, they were attacked by Banks' s corps. After a short but desperate conflict, Banks fell back, and the fighting ceased. We had been posted in the woods, and did not see or participate in the fighting, at which our boy captain little Willie Pegram was very much chagrined. But his chance was soon to come. In a short time an order came to send Pegram's rifled guns to the front. Going forward, we soon came to the open country, where Jackson and our chief of artillery, General R. L. Walker, met us and pointed out the position we were to take and the work we were to do. In an old stubble-field on a little knoll we unlimbered, and Jackson in person directed Pegram to throw shells into a distant woods. We opened fire as directed, using i and 2-second shells no enemy in sight. Three hundred yards in front of us was a heavy growth of green corn, extending for a mile or more over beautifully undulating ground. To the left was the road by which we had come, and the only line of retreat in case such an emergency arose.
We had fired only a few shots, when over the hill and through the corn we saw at least a brigade of blue infantry coming straight for the guns. Changing from shell to shrapnel and canister, we turned our entire attention to this column, but they continued to come on without a waver. Finally we doubled the charges of canister, and then they broke and went back over the hill. Just then we noticed coming down the road at full speed, and in easy shell range, a body of blue cavalry. If they passed our flank we were lost. Changing front to the left, we raked the road, first with shell, then with canister. The cavalry came on almost past the danger point, then broke and went back.
Our attention was then called to our old friends, the infantry, who had been reinforced, and were coming through the corn as if to take our guns at all hazards. The situation looked desperate, as we had no support near by. Pegram ordered double charges of canister, and seizing the flag, he went from gun to gun, waving it in the very faces of the men, and begging: "Don't let the enemy have these guns or this flag; Jackson is looking at you. Go in, men; give it to them."
The column faltered and went back and reformed, only to come again. On they came, and were getting in good canister range, when an order came to fall back. The bugle blew, " Limber to the rear; cannoneers mount." Just as this order was executed, one of the gun horses was killed, and it looked as if the only prudent thing