Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 35.djvu/55

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
Botetourt Battery.

then had been for me; felt he wanted to take care of me; worried because I was neglected. On account of his courage when shot, the Yankee officers were very courteous to him and often brought someone to show the bravest man they had ever seen. The man who shot Norgrove was from Illinois. Doubtless he, too, was a noble soldier, for his words and acts, at the time and afterwards, so impressed me. It was he that helped to take Nor-grove from where he fell to the old church-yard. Norgrove told the men to take me first. They promised to come back for me, which they did."

So Gunner No. 8, who wouldn't die, but still lives, I believe, in Kentucky. War is cruel, and not infrequently it is mean; but from the earliest days, the red light that plays above the battle field has shown us the generous and the high. That light, I think, dwells upon Lieutenant Norgrove!

While this detachment did its duty upon the left, the remainder of the battery, fighting upon the right, stood to its guns under a most withering fire. The men fought with dogged pertinacity and devotion against overwhelming odds. A shell exploded and killed Lieutenant Peters, a very gallant officer, "the coolest man I have ever seen under fire." Lieutenant Douthatt fell mortally wounded. Orderly-Sergeant David Leips was shot through the head, and, rammer in hand, died beside his gun. Many were killed, and many wounded. The ammunition was exhausted. Above the roar and rattle rose the scream of the war horse. The horses were shot, the gun carriages cut down, and the two Napoleons lost. As with Norgrove's men, so with Johnston's. They tried to drag the piece off the field by hand. Fresh troops were hurled against them, and they went down. Late in the day, Captain Johnston was disabled and borne from the field. Second Sergeant Francis B. Obenchain, afterwards made lieutenant for "valor and skill," took command as ranking officer of the Botetourt Artillery, brought off the two six-pounders, and covered the retreat to the other side of Bayou Pierre. In the battle of Port Gibson the total loss of the Botetourt Artillery, killed, wounded and captured, was forty-five officers and men, fifty-three horses, and four guns. "The bloody encounter in front of Port Gibson," says General Pemberton's report, "nobly illustrated the valour and constancy of our troops, and shed additional lustre