Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/301

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The Battle of Fishers Hill 295

to see these brave men again that evening under circumstances that made my heart warm towards them and caused me to think if our whole army had been composed of such men, then it might truly be said that "we might all be killed, but never could be conquered."

I hurried on in the direction of the turnpike, where I hoped to fall in with some of our troops, who might have spirit enough left to make some sort of stand against the victorious enemy, and at least try to prevent our demoralized army from being entirely destroyed. Nor was I disappointed. As I approached the pike the sun was set- ting. I could see two pieces of artillery coming up the road. These proved to be of Captain Kirkpatrick's battery, from Amherst county. I again met with two members of my own company at that point, and we hurried on to get with the section of artillery which had halted and commenced to unlimber just as we arrived on the ground. Five or six hundred yards distant a heavy mass of the enemy's cav- alry was drawn up as if preparing to make a charge, and if that charge had been made, a large portion of our army must have been made prisoners, scattered and demoralized as the men were.

The two pieces of artillery having been unlimbered and pointed to the front, I and the two men spoken of joined the cannoneers and took our places at the guns. It did seem to be the most extreme folly for two pieces of artillery alone to attempt to stop the advance of thousands of men flushed with victory; but circumstances favored us, and proved that the " battle is not always to the strong." Dark- ness was rapidly approaching. We opened fire, and never were the "iron messengers of death" hurled in quicker succession from the throats of two guns.

THE SONG THAT SAVED THE ARMY.

Darkness was fast coming on, and objects at a distance were grow- ing indistinct. Our numbers were few, but our lung-power was good, and we made the hills ring with the regular old hair-raising "rebel yell," which was answered with a cheer just behind us, and my heart grew to double its usual size when I looked and saw the glorious old Louisianians coming to our support at a double-quick. They divided as they came up, and taking position on each side of the guns they made their muskets sing the sweetest little song (to us) that ever fell on mortal ears, being a fit accompaniment to the bass notes of our two twelve-pounder Napoleons. The enemy made no charge that night, and our little army was saved.

JOHN H. LANE.