Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/296

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290 Southern Historical Society Papers.

tion known as Fisher's Hill, with its right resting on or near the Massanutta mountains, while the extreme left of his infantry line reached no further than the termination of the ridge of Fisher's Hill, in the direction of North mountain. The interval was pro- tected only by a small body of cavalry.

There may be some inaccuracies in the above description, but' that was the situation as it appeared to me a private soldier occu- pying the humble position of "No. 6," or fuse-cutter, in Captain Massey's battery of artillery. While a private soldier's opportunity for knowing the general arrangement or disposition of the whole army at the commencement of or during an engagement is very limited, yet it must be confessed that the veterans of the Confederate army had all become generals in experience at the time of which I write.

The battery to which I belonged was placed in position on the top of a high hill at the extreme left of the infantry line. The army having arrived on the ground and been placed in position the day before, the men had fortified to the best of their ability with the poor tools they had to work with. General Ramseur had been put in command of the division of the heroic and invincible Rodes, who had fallen two days before at Winchester. This division occupied the breastworks to the right and left of our battery. That General Ramseur was as brave a man as ever drew a sword in defence of the South no one can deny, but that he was wanting in those qualities which could estimate the numbers or penetrate the designs of the enemy had been but too apparent on several previous occasions.*


All having been done that the time and means at our disposal would enable us to do to strengthen our position we waited for the coming of the enemy, knowing then that he outnumbered us at least four to one. With the defeat of two days before still fresh in our minds, with our ranks thinned by the absence of so many of our brave boys whose bodies were left on the field at Winchester, is it any wonder that the private soldiers began to look around and to examine with a critical eye our means, or rather our want of means, of defence? The gap left open between us and the North moun- tain was seen at once, and the men, experienced as they were, came to the conclusion that the real attack would not be made in our

  • The editor should not be held for this criticism, whiclThe^oes not