some respects, the figure of Lord Cardigan, at Balaklava
, chewing his moustache, and cursing the luck of “Scarlett
and the heavies.”
was invited to go in with us, and would probably have accepted — for battle had a powerful fascination for the calm, spectacled, studious, devout boy-colonel-but that he had been peremptorily ordered to remain with his guns and await developments.
The sharpshooters moving in, found that the left of the road was clear; and Ewell
, swinging laterally, soon filled up the gap which they had held, leaving them free to rejoin their command, which was actively engaged on the right-hand side of the road.
The battalion moved less by sight than by faith in obeying this order; following the supposed line of the brigade's advance, and principally guided by the fire from the front, which grew in intensity and effect.
Too much has been written in regard to the scenes of war, and too many living men actually witnessed these horrors and were part of the same, to render necessary any description of the advance through wounded men falling to the rear, through mounted men moving in haste and excitement, and through straggling parties who never failed to have urgent business somewhere in the rear, as soon as the business of these bloody days became critical.
One little thing may be noted; the road was literally strewed with packs of playing-cards, thrown away by superstitious soldiers as they went into the fiery focus.
It was a noticeable fact among the Confederate
soldiers, that many who were regular gamblers, who would play “poker” or anything else all night if permitted, and who would carefully deposit the cards in their haversacks when the game was over, were very careful to throw them away as soon as firing began; after which they would load their guns and be ready to go in coolly.
One figure that the command passed on its way forward will receive in time a more prominent and picturesque position than has yet been given it in the constellation of Confederate commanders — the calm, courteous, unselfish, gallant, patriotic A. P. Hill
Surrounded by his staff, this beloved general, whose custom it ever was to feel in person the pulse of battle, and who always stationed himself just behind his men in action, sat, a stately presence, anxiously awaiting the issue of events and sending up troops to support General Heth
, who was sorely pressed.
“Face the fire and go in where it is hottest!”
were the brief words in which the lieutenant general assigned the sharpshooters to their place in the battle.
They were obeyed with a will; and the battalion soon found itself on the left of Lane
's Brigade, where it fought on its own account till night put an end to the bloody contest.