Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/97

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History of the First Battle of Manassas, &c. 9 1

we retreated into the pines, only to be killed, for I do not think any of them went back alive. The green pines were filled with the Seventy- ninth Highlanders and the red-breeched Brooklyn Zouaves, but the only men who were killed twenty or thirty yards behind, and in the rear of our line, were the United States Marines. Many of these I had sailed with, and they called on me by name to help them as they lay wounded in the undergrowth. " Water, water !" "Turn me over! " "Raise my head, and remove me out of this fire ! " were their cries. I then saw what was afterwards too often the case men with wounded legs, una- ble to move out of the fire, mortally wounded while lying helpless Our entire brigade thus fought unaided and alone for at least an hour charging, capturing, retreating, and retaking this battery, resisting the charges of each fresh regiment as it came forward at quick-step up the slope of the hill, across the table-land, on its top and into the pine thickets where we were, until we were as completely broken up into fragments and as hard pressed as men ever were. It had gotten down to mere hand-to-hand fighting of small squads, out in the open and in the pines. There was no relief, no reinforcements, no fresh troops to come, or to fall back on. Luckily the enemy were in the same disorganized condition as we were. General Johnston seized the colors of a regiment, and on horseback, led a charge, excusing it afterwards as necessary at that moment to make a personal example. Our Colonel Jackson, with only two aids, Colonels Jones and Mar- shall, both subsequently killed, rode slowly, and without the slightest hurrah, frequently along our front, encouraging us by his quiet pre- sence. He held aloft his left or bridle hand, looking as if he was invoking a blessing, as many supposed, but in fact to ease the intense pain, for a bullet had badly shattered two of his fingers, to which he never alluded, and it has been forgotten, for it was the only time he was ever wounded, until his fall in action in 1 863. Thus the fate of the field hung in a balance at 2:30 P. M. At this moment President Davis and his staff made their appearance on the field, but not being known, attracted no attention. Both sides were exhausted and willing to say "enough !" The critical moment, which comes in all actions, had arrived, when we saw to our left a cloud of dust, and out of it emerged a straggling line of men with guns held at a trail. Slowly they came on to the field, not from want of spirit, but tired out from double-quicking in the heat and dust. As they passed by and through our squads there were hurried inquiries ; the enemy was pointed out to them, and when seen, from out of their dusty and parched throats, came the first " Rebel yell." It was a fierce, wild