Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 39.djvu/134
122 Southern Historical Society Papers.
ready throwing up and the ships now drawn within easy range in our rear. The shells from one end of their line could reach the other end of ours, and "raked us fore and aft," while the guns of the fleet could send their shells plump into our backs. Every day was full of incident, and it soon got so that we had no rest day nor night. The picket fights waxed hotter and hotter. Each side had little detached pits, facing each other, W'ith squads of four or five men in each, and constant was the effort of the one side to surprise and capture the other. We had two little "cohorn mortars" in our battery (about fifteen inches long), and Corporal Charlie Fox, especially, became so expert w-ith them that he emptied the pits of the enemy re- peatedly with his shell.
slaughter of the innocent.
The "boy militia" referred to, mere lads many of them, from thirteen to seventeen or eighteen years of age, excited the mingled grief and admiration of us veterans. In vain did we tell them when going to the skirmish line to shelter themselves as much as possible. They thought it was "not soldierly," and they stood up and were shot down like sheep. A spring just inside of our works became a point of thrilling interest. It soon became so that we could not leave our works and run back to the rear to the usual place for water, and it was either use that spring or famish. Yet it was in full sight of the enemy. It occupied a depression in the hillside and was commanded by sharpshooters. There was but one recourse — ^^we must go there by night. Men, strung around with the canteens of their com- rades, would steal down to the ravine in the darkness. Some- times numbers would be gathered there waiting hours for their turn to fill and leave. Alas, that spring became baptized in blood. The enemy had the range and kept up a fire, though they could not see, and many a poor fellow fell at that spring.
deeds of daring.
Artillerv duels became of dailv occurrence, our "head logs"