Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 12.djvu/458

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

448 Southern Historical Society Papers.

but a few well-directed shots from our horse artillery cleared our immediate front — General Fitz. Lee taking command of the whole line, Wickham of the division, I had the brigade. Our battery was moved up to the edge of a piece of timber ; to our front and right was an open plateau extending for several miles. Our battery was sheltered by timber on our left. The enemy's batteries were firing obliquely to our right at our infantry and their batteries (Carter's and Braxton's). A little more than a quarter of a mile to our right was "Ash Hollow," a water shed, a deep ravine in which the enemy had formed, and Rickett's division of the Sixth corps, and Grover's division of the Nineteenth corps, were debouching to attack — this was about 12 o'clock. General Fitz. Lee turned his artillery's guns upon this body of the enemy. The handling of our six guns of horse artillery was simply magnificent Strange enough, the enemy's guns did not respond to these. Our cannoniers made their battery roar, sending their death-dealing messengers with a precision and constancy that made the earth around them seem to tremble, while their shot and shell made lanes in this mass of the enemy moving obliquely to their right to attack Evans' brigade.

General Early says in his narrative : " When they had appeared within musket range of Braxton and Carter's artillery, and were repulsed by the cannister from their batteries. Battle's brigade, of Rodes' division, moved forward and forced the enemy back." As they went back over the same ground over which they had marched to attack in great disorder, having been badly broken up, our battery, if possible, excelled itself, and a more murderous fire I never wit- nessed than was plunged into this heterogeneous mass as they rushed back. We could see the track of the shot and shell as they would scatter the men, but the lanes closed up for another to follow. The field was strewn with their dead and wounded before they got back from whence they started.

There was a little lull, and while we knew only a part of their army had been engaged, yet everything looked well for us ; this was about I P. M. A courier dashed up with orders for me to move the brigade quickly over to the right to reinforce Lomax. Wilson's division of cavalry had massed in his front and was threatening. We hurried along, passing in rear of our infantry line of battle, where hundreds of our wounded and dead were being taken to Win- chester, E71 route a friend told me General R. E. Rodes had been killed. Dear friend of my youth, I had known him well and inti- mately at the Virginia Military Institute "in days lang syne." " No