Men of Virginia at Ball's Bluff. 261
cannon after the first fire from the Eighth." In rear of the ridge the ground sloped down into the woods, affording cover from the enemy's fire, and thus enabling Hunton's men to play havoc with the foe, with comparatively slight loss to them. When Baker advanced as he did several times our men rallied to the ridge, and with steady aim depleted his ranks and drove him back to the woods skirting the river. For four hours, with no other aid than Jenkins' small command, Hunton had been fighting, repulsing and holding at bay Baker's largely superior force. His ammunition was nearly gone, and his men suffering excessive fatigue. If they had not been of the staunchest type the strain would have been too great. Against such heavy odds, with ammunition and men nearly exhausted, Hunton had done all that was possible at this time; and he sent Lieutenant-Colonel Norborne Berkeley White to Evans several times for reinforcements and ammunition, but got no response than "Tell Hunton to hold on."
As Gorman was making no aggressive movement from Edwards' Ferry, Evans concluded that he could safely spare a part of the force he had been holding at Fort Evans, and when Hunton's messengers came again, with a still more urgent message, "Evans, evidently mindful of Beauregard's instruction to make 'a desperate
stand/ said to them, 'Tell Hunton to hold on till every d n man
falls. I have sent him the Eighteenth, and will send him the Seventeenth.' When White joined Hunton, Colonel Burt had reached the field, and taken position about two hundred yards to the right of and in line with the Eighth Virginia. Therefore, Hunton sent word to Burt that the Eighth would charge the enemy in front, and asked him to attack with his regiment at the same time on the right. Burt waited no longer than was necessary to bring a detached company to his line, when the Mississippians moved forward in the most gallant style, but as White, who was with Burt at the time says, ' We had already heard the battle yell of the glorious old Eighth as it dashed forward on the enemy.' '
In his report of this charge Colonel Hunton says: " I gave the order to cease firing for a moment, distributed the few cartridges remaining so as to give all a round of ammunition, and ordered a charge upon the enemy. This charge was made in the most gallant and impetuous manner. Nothing could exceed or scarcely