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[416] forcing strategic points. No mother's fearful visions as she bids her son “Go, and God be with thee I” No youthful brow flushed with dreaming hopes of wielding his naked blade in our holy cause, 'mid pomp of waving banners and martial music; thrilling the blood of brave men as they stand shoulder to shoulder in long, glittering lines of battle. As wide the difference was the earnest reality from such a picture as that between the Alps' fierce storm raging with avalanche and thunderbolt, and the moonlight peacefully resting on Como's lake.

The moving forward and sleeping on arms in readiness the night before, the picket-firing during the darkness, and when the sun rose and the gray dawn was lost in the gorgeous day, the hurrying of dark columns forward to where the cannons' blazing throats were sending shell and shot upon the foe, where the distant flashes of smoke as well as the screaming shells, crashing through trees and bursting around, told that their batteries were answering back. Crackling shots increasing to one tremendous roar, till shouted commands were scarcely heard, men falling on all sides dead and wounded, throwing up their hands, as struck, blinded with a shriek of hopeless agony, they fell. A battle where seven thousand undisciplined men fought sixteen thousand a whole day, overwhelmed, surrounded, slaughtered. Still they fought desperately for twelve miles, through woods, corn-fields, and meadows; hand to hand they met in lonely glens; like huge waves breaking on rocks came the shock of regiments. Still backward swept the tide of battle, through gardens, among trimmed yards filled with beautiful flowers, around houses, through streets and cemeteries, places the most holy and the most profane were alike strewn with bleeding corpses. Such forms the dark reality of the battle of Richmond.

When we saw how better men were lost, when we saw the loved and honored go down in death's darkening tide, to Him who ruleth over all, are some who rode all day amidst the awful conflict, compelled to return our heart's humble thankfulness for our safe keeping. No one man can write the history of a battle. Different ones can tell what they saw, and from such narrations, making due allowance for errors, and reconciling discrepancies, can a faithful account be compiled.

Such an account I shall endeavor to give, simply telling what I saw as nearly correct as possible, expecting that ample mercy will be shown to errors.

Thursday night our relieved pickets reported their being fired on by the enemy. Going to bed at midnight I was awakened by Col. Lucas with orders to have rations drawn and cooked, canteens filled, and the regiment in line by daylight. Friday morning rumors of the rebels advancing were flying thicker, while fugitive citizens, wounded cavalrymen, and wagons kept pouring in till two o'clock, when the Sixteenth received orders to march. Gen. Manson rode along the lines, speaking cheering words to the boys. Going two or three miles up the turnpike, we heard the cannons in front, and soon came to where several regiments were drawn up in line of battle supporting a battery. It was but a slight skirmish, which was soon over. The rebels allowed a gun to be captured as a bait. Being sent back to bring up the pickets, we rejoined the regiment about eleven o'clock, when they were lying on their arms near a little town called Rogersville.

Soon after sunrise, Saturday, August thirtieth, once more the cannon opened. It was the prompter's bell ringing for the curtain to rise for the performance of a tragedy, in which batteries and battalions were to act their parts, the opening prelude to the grand orchestra of battle. Forward we hurried up the road through town. Just as we caught a glimpse of the cannons' smoke through the woods and green fields, I was sent back for the ammunition-wagons. Coming up again I found our regiment with the Fifty-fifth behind the battery in an open wood. General Manson with his staff was here. With most of those engaged, as well as myself, it was our first battle. As we stood here under the trees I could notice a stillness, an unwonted stillness, among such numbers of men only broken by the thunders of Lieutenant Landrum's guns, or as the rebel shells with fiend-like scream came crashing through the trees. One exploded to the right of the road, another before us; one would miss a hundred yards, the next, perhaps, come very near. Low-toned commands were given as thicker and faster came the shells. A grand and solemn awe overshadowed the men, till you might have deemed them a worshipping throng in some vast cathedral.

Earnest thoughts were thronging in each man's brain. Perhaps our blood flowed a little faster. Who shall dare sneer if we confess that for a moment the real scene before us might have faded away and we gazed upon one which memory alone supplied? But the charm was soon broken. The Fifty-fifth were deployed forward as skirmishers, the Sixty-sixth sent to the right, and the Sixteenth to the left. Our line was thus formed behind a fence at the edge of the woods. Before us spread an open meadow, trees to the left, with a house half a mile distant, where was planted a rebel battery. Companies A and I were deployed as skirmishers to the left. The Colonel ordered the boys to lie down so as not to be unnecessarily exposed. The scattering shots along the extreme right and left became more frequent. The firing for a few minutes would be very severe, and then almost die. The better they got our range and nearer came the shells. At this time Dr. Preston, surgeon of the Fifty-fifth, subsequently informed me that while hoisting a hospital flag on the cupola of the brick church, he had a good view of the enemy's position, and could see their flanking columns pushing forward to gain our right and left. We could see the gleaming arms where a body of men were partly concealed in the dry bed of a creek in front. By order of Col. Lucas I rode to Gen. Manson, who had established himself three hundred yards in our rear, where the Seventy-first was lying down, with word that the rebels were flanking

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