Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/211

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201
Detailed Minutiæ of Soldier Life.

simplest articles of food could be prepared, the order to march was given, and the battalion took the road once more.

A short while after passing Deatonsville, the column was formed in line of battle—Cutshaw's battalion near the road and in an old field with woods in front and rear. The officers, anticipating an immediate attack, ordered the men to do what they could for their protection. They immediately scattered along the fence on the roadside, and taking down the rails stalked back to their position in line, laid the rails on the ground and returned for another load. This they continued to do until the whole of the fence was removed. Behind this slim defence they silently awaited the advance of the enemy.

Soon it was decided that this was not the place to make a stand. The first detachment of the Second company of Richmond Howitzers, and twenty men each from Garber and Fry, under the command of Lieutenant Henry Jones, were left behind the fence-rail work, with orders to resist and retard the advance of the enemy while the column continued its march.

This little band was composed of true spirits—the best material in the battalion. Right well did they do their duty. Left alone to face the advance of the immense host eagerly pursuing the worn remnant of the invincible army, they waited until the enemy's skirmishers appeared in the field, when, with perfect deliberation, they commenced their fire. Though greatly outnumbered and flanked right and left, they stubbornly held on till the line of battle following the skirmishers broke from the woods and advancing rapidly, poured into them a murderous volley. And yet, so unused were they to running, they moved not till the infantry skirmishers had retired and the word of command was heard. Then stubbornly contesting the ground, they fought their way back through the woods. The gallant Lieutenant Jones fell mortally wounded, having held control of his little band to the moment he fell. His friend K—— refused to leave him, and they were captured together, but immediately separated by the enemy. P—— was pierced through and through by a musket ball as he was hurrying through the woods, and fell heavily to the ground. B—— was severely wounded, but managed to escape. H—— was killed outright.

The battalion had left this point but a short time, marching in column of fours with the division, and had reached the brow of a gently sloping hill, perfectly open for perhaps a mile, with a broad