An incident at Chattanooga
.--At one point there was a lull in the battle.
At least, it had gone scattering and thundering down the line, and the boys were as much “at ease” as boys can be on whom, at any moment, the storm may roll back again.
To be sure, occasional shots, and now and then a cometary shell, kept them alive; but one of the boys ran down to a little spring, and to the woods where the enemy lay, for water.
He had just stopped and swung down his canteen--“tick,” and a Minie ball struck it at an angle and bounded away.
He looked around an instant, discovered nobody, thought it was a chance shot — a piece of lead, you know, that goes at a killing rate without malice prepense; and so, nowise infirm of purpose, he bent to get the water.
Ping! a second bullet cut the cord of his canteen, and the boy “got the idea;” a sharp-shooter was after him, and he went on the right — about on the double-quick to the ranks.
A soldier from another part of the line made a pilgrimage to the spring, was struck, and fell by its brink.
But where was the marksman?
Two or three boys ran out to draw his fire while others watched.
Crack went the unseen piece again, and some keeneyed fellow spied the smoke roll out from a little cedar.
This was the spot, then; the reb had made him a hawk's nest — in choice Indian, a Chattanooga in the tree — and, drawing the green covert around him, was taking a quiet hand at “steeple-shooting” at long-range.
A big, blue-eyed German
, tall enough to look into the third generation, and a sharp-shooter withal, volunteered to dislodge him. Dropping into a little runway that neared the tree diagonally, he turned upon his back and worked himself cautiously along; reaching a point perilously close, he whipped over, took aim as he lay, and God and his true right hand “gave him good deliverance.”
Away flew the bullet, a minute elapsed, the volume of the cedar parted; and, “like a big frog,” as the boys described it, out leaped a grayback — the hawk's nest was empty, and a dead rebel lay under the tree.
It was neatly done by the German.
May he live to tell the story a thousand times to his moon-faced grandchildren!