The officer rose in his stirrups, and in a tone in which was no palaver, said: ‘Don't belong——! Put down your gun and lay hold of that carriage, or I'll shoot you.’
Six muskets or more were instantly passed to other men by their owners, who lifted the carriage with the aid of the other drivers, and the officer who had dismounted, leading his horse, came to put his shoulder to the wheel.
We saw and recognized his features; it was Gen. Slocum
Our march was unimpeded for the rest of the way through the woods, although it was dark for some time longer.
The road was slightly ascending, as though we were gradually making progress toward the summit of a hill, or to a table-land, where the army would be again at bay to-morrow.
Just after daybreak, we drove out of the woods, to find ourselves on the brow of a ridge with a vale stretching along its front and winding among the ridges down to the James
Across the mead was the elongated superior elevation called Malvern Hill
; up there we saw the troops that had preceded us during the night,—artillery, their guns in position frowning from the height; infantry, some in line resting upon their arms, some being moved to positions they were destined to occupy; aids and orderlies riding to and fro; cavalry moving toward the lower end of the hill.
The whole array seemed invested with an air of weary expectation.
We moved across the valley, then obliquely up the hill, then along the crest through batteries and companies of infantry.
When we had halted and unhitched, we rode our horses back again down to a brook in the vale, to water them.
A drove of cattle, probably intended for slaughter that morning, was being driven around the foot of the hill.
We had just climbed the side of the hill on our return, and were riding along its crest, toward our carriages, when lo!
looking to the left, from which direction we had just come, there on the brow of the ridge we had crossed a half-hour since, was the van of the Confederates
They too, must have made the best use of the night, from their standpoint.
To attack the Union
force holding such a position with sufficient artillery, and with all these advantages, palpably threefold in its favor,—this, to a casual, unprofessional observer, standing in the vale or upon the lesser ridge occupied by the Confederates
, would seem to be an enterprise costly beyond all comparison, to the army acting on the offensive.
Perhaps the Confederate