Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 28.djvu/376

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370 Southern Historical Society Papers.

against an almost countless foe. Such was the condition of things when we received orders to march, and we soon found ourselves in the road hastening towards Petersburg, which we could not under- stand, as we passed troops hurrying, as it seemed to us, to the point, or rather in the direction from which we came. However, we pushed on and soon reached a position on the lines which had formerly been occupied by the

WASHINGTON ARTILLERY,

the two sections of the battery being separated by some two or three hundred yards or more. The section to which I was attached was placed up on a parapet with just sufficient space to work the two guns, and not space enough to work them advantageously or with safety, as we came near losing the No. i at our gun, owing to the nearness of the guns to each other, our No. i stepping in to sponge, as he thought the gun had been fired (the smoke from the other causing him to be misled), which was not the case, the No. 4 at that time being in the act of pulling the lanyard, and he would certainly have done so had not the No. 3, who was then a small boy, and who had remained upon the parapet when the gun was fired (not being able to get up and down in time), stepped over the trail of the gun and caught hold of the lanyard.

We had a good view here of the Yankees, who were some dis- tance from us. After remaining here about twenty-four hours the enemy opened upon us with their heavy guns, they having calculated the distance with accuracy, and soon dismounted one of our pieces and exploded several rounds of ammunition, which the men had ac- cumulated near the guns to prevent having to run to the limber- chest under fire every time the guns were fired. This was done in violation of positive orders to the contrary, but the men paid dearly for it, as two of them Hardgrove and Coleman lost their lives. The sufferings of these two men were terrible, and the explosion of the shells caused all of us to lie very low, which called forth loud cheering from the enemy, who could see the effect of their shots. But we were not destined to remain here long. After repairing the axle tree and remounting the gun, we received orders to march, and were soon hurrying towards Dinwiddie Courthouse. After march- ing all day and night we found ourselves on the Squirrel Level road, where, after passing the infantry, which proved to be General Pick- ett's troops the old