This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 without waiting for this explanation. Some dozen, however, were not willing to do duty, would not desert, and preferred going to the guard-house. On the morning of the 24th the regiment started on the march sullen and unhappy. Many men were greatly mortified at what had occurred, so injurious to the reputation of the “First Maryland,” which had always been without a blemish, and many were uncertain whether they were right or wrong. Thus they plodded along, silent, lifeless, and without spirits. Mile after mile they trudged, round and round the mountain road, until a courier rode up to Colonel Johnson. He brought an order for the First Maryland to come immediately to the front and attack the enemy. Ewell was there and had sent for us. The Colonel halted the command instantly. He told the men, in few and stirring words, that they had been selected to open the fight. They were placed in the post of honor, but that he would not lead dissatisfied men. He would not risk the honor of Maryland with men who could not sustain it if discontented and spiritless. Every man who felt aggrieved he demanded should lay down his arms and go to the rear with the guard, but he invoked them to beware how they did so. They should recollect that a woman had given them those very arms which they would thus throw down in the presence of the enemy, and their duty to their friends at home would restrain them. They had a heavy debt to pay for the dungeons of the Northern tyranny. After the battle he promised them he would forward any complaints to the Secretary of War. The mountain sides then rang with cheers, and “We won t leave you;” “we will not disgrace the State;” “we don't want to dodge,” came from all sides. The dozen prisoners in charge of the guard begged to be allowed to come in; the Colonel consented, released them, and sent them back to the wagon, seven miles off, for their rifles. They ran all the way back, and got up in time for the fight at Front Royal. All were up that night. New life was infused into the mass, and the men sprang forward with that quick elastic step for which they were noted, and which Kirby Smith and Whiting used to say was more like the French than anything they had ever seen. The whole column halted to let us pass. The Louisiana brigade presented arms, and the men seemed to tread on air as they swung along. The glorious old Fourth, and “Blucher,” the whole army, cheered enthusiastically. “There they go I look at them,” was the universal cry, as, not two hundred and fifty strong, they tramped at quick time through column after and took the front. General Steuart, who had also been assigned a cavalry brigade, was
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.