Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 29.djvu/369

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U7/A Archer'4 Bri<i<l<. 353

That scared me up. The thought of being captured and lying in a northern prison in my condition was horrible. I could not stand the thought of such a fate. So I did not remain in the deep gully but a minute or so. Sergeant George Williams, who was afterward killed at Gettysburg, assisted me out of the gully. I had now about six hundred yards to go before I could reach the deep-cut road near the mill. I knew if I could make it there that I would be pretty safe. My route was strewn with the dead and wounded. They lay so thick that it was with great difficulty, under the wither- ing fire of grape and canister, that I made it back to the deep-cut road. Over this entire route I dragged my hapless leg. I took shelter behind a large oak tree that stood by the roadside, in sight of Gaines's Mill. I lay down and felt pretty safe, although the shells were bursting all around me. I lay here an hour or more, watching the great number of reinforcements that were passing by, going into the battle that was raging furiously. Another charge was being made. I could hear them yelling. The wounded were carried back to the mill along this road. I kept a steady watch for our litter-bearers. I was anxious to be removed further to the rear, and I was now in a helpless condition, and it seemed I was dying, dying of thirst.

I would have freely given the whole world for a drink of water. Finally four of our litter-bearers came along, making their way back to the field. I halted them. They had lost their litter in the charge, and were using as a makeshift a big United States blanket. They spread the blanket down and placed me on it. About this time Sergeant Mattison, of Company B, came along, wounded in the foot by a piece of shell. He gave them orders to carry me clear out of all danger. They did so. In the darkness of the night they missed their way, and I was carried to a North Carolina battle-field hos- pital, and on that account failed to receive the attention that I should have had.

I remained at this battle-field hospital from Friday evening, June 27, 1862. until about 4 o'clock Sunday evening, when I was placed in an ambulance, with a Dutchman, who had his leg cut off. He died that night. We arrived in Richmond about midnight. The hospitals in the city were all full. We were hauled around the city from hospital to hospital, and, failing to find any room, we were then carried out to Chimborazo, a suburban hospital. Here I found a resting place in ward No. 32. It was now about 2 o'clock A. M.