Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/120

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116 Southern Historical Society Papers.

immediate vicinity of Malvern Hill, arriving there at 10 A. M. Tuesday, July ist, 1862. On arrival our regiment was detached from the brigade to guard a strategic point and did not rejoin it until after the battle. From 10 A. M. to 5 P. M. we lay exposed to the shells of the enemy. At this hour we were sent for and con- ducted to a deep wooded ravine which ran along the very edge of the open field on which the enemy had made a stand, and where they had planted many batteries and massed a great body of infan- try. When we took our position in the ravine we found that Gen- eral Magruder was there in command with a considerable force, all lying down in successive lines on the steep sloping side of the ravine. Nearest its brow was Cobb's Legion; next to them and almost in touching distance was Wright's brigade; next below them was our own gallant regiment forming a line by itself; below us was Mahone's brigade and other forces near us were Generals Magruder, Cobb, Wright and Armistead. The day was fast de- clining. The deep shade of the majestic trees with which the valley was filled and the smoke of the enemy's guns brought on twilight dimness before the close of day. As we lay in close rank, we marked the flash of exploding shells that kissed the brow of the ravine and lit it up with a weird light, while the incessant firing of the massed batteries filled the air with constant roar and deafening crash. At one time, as the sun approached the horizon, the air seemed to change; it gained a new elasticity a clear ring, so that from the sound of the enemy's artillery you would have thought that they were approaching nearer to us. General Magruder must have also thought so, for he gave direction that some men should ascend the brow of the hill and see if the enemy were advancing. The enemy had not and were not advancing, but from an elevation in the open field they poured from their batteries a living fire and a constant flow of shells.

The scene was solemn and grandly inspiring. We felt that the very genius of battle was astir, and the martial spirit was thor- oughly aroused. All waited with impatience for the order to charge that order which whenever given either fires the heart or pales the face of the soldier. At last Magruder gives the order. It is first repeated by General Cobb, and his brave Legion with a shout that for the moment drowned the roar of the artillery, arose and rushed forward. Then Wright repeats the order to his brigade, and as quick as thought his men spring forward. Then