on the other side to a hill which half-way up was covered with woods. The edge of the woods was not more than a quarter of a mile from the hill where General Pope stood. Very suddenly, while the fire was every where still, a volley of musketry came out of these woods, and a battalion of rebel cavalry dashed from the cover and charged down the hill at a gallop, discharging their carbines as they came. Generals, staffs, and escorts mounted and started without much delay, riding straight for our own lines, but scattering to avoid the rebel fire. But the moment the rebel cavalry came in sight, the nearest infantry, ignorant or careless of their generals' position, opened with a volley along the whole line. It checked the rebels and did not kill many friends; but for four or five minutes the cross-fire under which generals and all were compelled to pass was rapid and hot. The sight of a sheet of flame from the line whose protection we sought and the whiz of friendly bullets was a little startling; but there was nothing to do but keep on, for the fire continued, and the longer we waited the worse it would be. Two of General Pope's body-guard were killed and one wounded. General Banks was severely injured by a runaway cavalry horse, which struck him on the side, but he kept his seat and remained in the field all last night and this morning. Colonel Ruggles, General Pope's Chief of Staff, had his horse shot under him. Colonel Morgan, Aid-de-Camp to Gen. Pope, and Major Perkins, General Banks's Chief of Staff, both had bullets through their hats. It was destined to be a night of adventure. General Sigel had been sent for to report to Gen. Pope, but as his position had been thus suddenly changed, the aid who carried the order could not find his General. While they were in search of him, the cannonade, stimulated by the infantry fire, had again become general. Some enterprising artillery captain who was stationed to the left and rear, began shelling without orders, and firing directly over General Sigel's head, was endangering him and his officers by the premature explosion of shells, and seemed to be aiming in mistake at the advanced lines of our own troops. His performances were stopped quickly, Captain Ball, of General McDowell's staff, riding gallantly up to the battery in face of its fire and arresting the captain in command. By twelve o'clock at night the field was quiet. General Pope, General Banks, and General Sigel were in conference together on a hill which seemed to have been chosen as quarters for the night, for of course every body was to sleep on the field. Notwithstanding his recent experience, General Pope was again near the front of his lines, having only one battery beyond him on the right and nothing at all to the left. I had given my horse to an orderly, and was nearly asleep, when half a dozen rifle-bullets brought the whole party to their feet and into their saddles, headquarters were moved half a mile further to the rear, and General Pope gave over doing picket-duty in person for the rest of the night. There was no more fighting till morning. The General mounted again at four o'clock, and since then has been riding over the ground. There seems little prospect of a battle to-day. The men are excessively tired by fighting and marching and the intense heat, and unless an attack is made from the other side, there will be none on ours. The troops are all in position, many of them on the open hill-side and fields, exposed to the sun, and of course uncomfortable. But they are all in good spirits, have enough to eat, though coffee is scarce, and wherever I have been this morning — and that is all over the ground — there is not a regiment that is not eager for the expected battle.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.