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[85]

I happened to be near General Early when Captain A. S. Pendleton, a gallant officer of Jackson's staff, rode up, gave the military salute, and said: “General Jackson sends his compliments to General Early, and says that he must advance on the enemy, and he will be supported by General Winder.” The prompt reply, drawled out in earnest tones, was: “Give my compliments to General Jackson, and tell him I will do it.”

The situation at this moment was as follows: The other two brigades of Ewell's division were supporting batteries splendidly posted on Slaughter's Mountain; Winder, commanding Jackson's old division, was moving in column along the main road to support Early, and A. P. Hill was coming on to Winder's support. General Banks commanded the Federal forces, which consisted of his own corps, and Rickett's division of McDowell's corps, actually engaged, and numbering about seventeen thousand men, with large reinforcements rapidly approaching. Jackson's entire force numbered 18,623 men, but they were veterans, flushed with victory, and eager to meet their old friends of the Valley campaign, and to give their new friend, General Pope, an opportunity of seeing something else save the backs of the enemy.

As soon as General Early received Jackson's order, he called for eight picked men of the Thirteenth Virginia, whom he sent forward as scouts, threw that splendid regiment into skirmish line, and advanced his brigade (consisting of the Forty-ninth Virginia, Fifty-second Virginia, Fifty-eighth Virginia, Thirty-first Virginia, Twenty-fifth Virginia, Thirteenth Virginia and Twelfth Georgia) across a field to the left of the road to the cover of a small body of woods, behind which he very carefully formed his line of battle, while the Thirteenth Virginia advanced as skirmishers a little way into the woods. Presently Colonel Walker, of the Thirteenth, called back in his ringing voice: “General Early, are you ready?” “Yes; go on,” was the reply, and soon after there was sharp skirmishing, which presently gave place to the roar of battle.

Soon after the opening of the fight some one suggested to the surgeons, chaplains, &c., of the brigade that by riding up on the hill to the right we would have a better view of the field, and could also see when our services were needed by the wounded.

Accordingly we rode up and had a splendid panoramic view of the whole scene. Banks's line of battle, his artillery in position, and his splendidly appointed cavalry seemingly preparing for a charge; Ewell's two brigades on the mountain and his batteries superbly served; Early's brigade moving in line of battle on the enemy with the precision of

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