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[157]

Two days later we were still lying behind these fortifications, the evenings in the interim being enlivened by interchange of brief, brisk musketry fire; and just after dusk, a comrade who was. beside Comrade David S. Morse in a little shelter which they had pitched, heard the latter groan; striking a match, he perceived that comrade Morse had been shot through the head, his brain protruding from the skull. Our unfortunate companion was borne to the artillery brigade hospital, mortally wounded. We were assured at the hospital that in his condition, in the nature of things, he was insensible to pain; but it was horrible to hear the death-rattle through the night, for such a fund of vitality had he that life became extinct only a little before dawn. ‘What a powerful man he has been,’ said the steward, as he touched the large, broad thumb, that was no more to cover the vent of his gun.

A grave was dug beneath a mulberry tree in a little vale south of the hospital, and not far from the spot whence his company departed to move to the front on the 1st. As his comrades were about to deposit the remains in their last resting-place, a chaplain was seen riding into the little glen; the messmate of the departed comrade, saluting the clergyman, besought his services, and the chaplain, responding, officiated in a manner that won the hearts of the boys who stood around him.

Comrade Morse was killed June 5; just one week later, the two armies in their fortifications having been grimly confronting each other the while, the Army of the Potomac moved by the left flank rapidly down the Chickahominy, and passed over by its lower crossings, speedily through Charles City County to the James.

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