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[104] his whole disaster. As soon as Ashby chased the remnants of the Yankees back he returned, and reported to General Ewell that he had discovered an infantry force coming rapidly on us, and showed him that by a quick detour through the woods he could strike them in flank. Ewell, delighted at the prospect, ordered Steuart's command back at once. The regiment in the order of march in the morning had been last. In thus reversing the direction it should have been first, but having been placed to support a battery, two Virginia regiments got ahead of us. The Colonel however soon managed to cut in and got up next to the Fifty-eighth Virginia. Ewell and Ashby rode at the head of the column — the latter explaining to the former the nature of the ground, the position of the roads, and the direction of the enemy. Though too far off to hear what he said, his dark face was lit up in a blaze of enthusiasm, and his eloquent gesticulation indicated his meaning as intelligibly as words. “Look at Ashby,” said the Colonel to the Adjutant, “see how happy he is!” In a few moments we entered a thick wood, then changed direction in line of battle. Companies D and G of the regiment out as skirmishers under Ashby's immediate command. Moving cautiously along, in the quiet woods, every sound was exaggerated in the stillness, and at last without a moment's warning the Fifty-eighth gave way and ran back. “Steady there men, steady First Maryland,” shouted our Colonel as pistol in hand he headed the broken mass. “Form behind there!” pointing to our solid ranks. The panic was only momentary, one of those strange accidents which occur in battle, and almost immediately the Fifty-eighth re-formed and went on. In a minute the sputter of the skirmishers was heard immediately followed by the volley of the Fifty-eighth. “Charge, Colonel,” cried General Ewell, who was just by us--“charge men,” said Colonel Johnson, and down the hill we went with a cheer, in a run. But we found no enemy. The fire on our right was excessive — we were made to lie down, but balls began exploding and smacking among the men on the rocks. “Those Virginians are killing our men.” Off galloped General Ewell and the Colonel, both to stop the firing, but directly returned finding out they were Yankee bullets. “I see one, Colonel can I kill him,” cried Southoron of Company H. Assent was given, and he pulled away, but his cap snapped. Coolly putting on another he fired. “There I've killed you,” said he. “Let us charge them, let us charge them, Colonel,” came from several. “Very well,” said he. “Up men, forward, file right, march” --and as soon as the colors came into line, “By the right flank charge!!!” in a voice that could be heard far

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R. S. Ewell (5)
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