Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/280

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

on a little eminence with some artillery was General Lee, the guns firing over the heads of the army. The wagons, with their canvas covers, had been set on fire. The cracking of rifles and shriek of shells and braying of mules and shouting of men made such a pandemonium as I had never before witnessed. Several ineffectual attempts to rally the men and restore some order out of the confusion were made, but nothing could be done. These were soldiers—veterans of Manassas, Cold Harbor, and Gettysburg—panic stricken, and there was no help.


What must General Lee's feelings have been as he witnessed such a sight. The cavalry retired, we crossed the river, and continued our weary and hungry march. That morning, early, I was riding along the road, when I heard my name called out. I saw a general officer I knew approaching, and he cried our. "Here, Captain, come and take breakfast with us." I cheerfully assented, as I had eaten almost nothing for over or about three days. Riding up to the fire, he handed me some breakfast, which consisted of parched corn, which had been obtained for the horses, so I had to go without anything to eat, except corn, parched in a frying-pan. I think it was about Friday night before the last day that an amusing thing happened, which I must relate. The artillery had been resting awhile, when the Union cavalry made a dash, and we lost a few men and two or three pieces of artillery. After the flurry I rode up to rejoin the rest, 1 heard some one laughing in a most stentorian voice, I rode up and said: "B, what do you mean in acting thus, and making so much noise?" He broke out in a loud laugh, and said: "Oh, Captain, I am so d—d glad I am alive I must laugh," and then resumed his yells. It seemed a very ludicrous thing.

Well, Saturday night about midnight we bivouacked while in sight of and nearby the Union camp-fires. With about a dozen we went into camp in a gorge. As we had been firing all day, trying to cheer the advancing troops, and had been using the artillery "advancing" or firing over the heads of our army, we had not a single round of ammunition left in our chests. About day-