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[151] waiting events, or every now and then exchanging a word or two in a low tone with a General officer, or one of their staff. Ranged along the side of the road fronting Gaines's Mill was Elzey's brigade; the rest beyond his right. Each man, from the General commanding the corps to the soldier in the ranks, seemed thoroughly impressed with the belief that everything depended on the impending battle; all were grave and quiet, convinced that if that battle was lost, life had no attraction, and that death were preferable to the hated Yankee rule.

After awhile General Hill rode off and soon the crashing musketry told that the battle had begun. One General after another moved to take his command into its appointed place. Then Stuart's cavalry on the left surged on in a gallop. General Jackson went to the front; we were left with our battery and the Twelfth Georgia. The crash of battle rose higher and higher, swelling on the right, then rolling toward our left. Colonel Johnson, preferring to go in rather than wait in support of a battery, rode off to attract General Jackson's attention, hoping for orders. He found him with a half a dozen of his staff in front, on a rise of ground to the right of the road. “Good evening, General!” said he; “Good evening, Colonel,” was the curt reply. “If you want me, I am there;” “Very good, sir.” His teeth were clenched, his lips clamped closer than ever, and the blaze of his eye alone betrayed excitement. Straight in the saddle, straighter than usual, for he stooped forward in riding, he sat, his head raised up, catching every sound. Now the roll and crash of small arms would break out at once, as the surf breaks on the shore, and then retire in a gradually receding roar, and then it could be heard far in the distance, swelling and surging and roaring towards us, like an advancing torrent, as if it were about to sweep over everything in its course. Over and over again it went back, and we felt the battle was won. Time and again it rolled towards us, and we feared the victory was lost. Then half a dozen horsemen appeared in a field, a quarter of a mile off, galloping wildly to and fro. Suddenly Jackson threw his horse's head toward them, jerked bolt upright in his saddle, and raised his right arm, horizontal to the elbow, thence perpendicular. “I'll bring them to you,” said Colonel Johnson quickly, thinking he was beckoning the horsemen. There was no reply, and looking round at his face, he saw the soldier was praying, abstracted, dead to the strife, and blind to all around, his soul communed alone with his God. Every one observed a dead silence, until turning, he said in his calm, quick tone, “Colonel, send all the infantry in except a hundred to each battery; you cover them I” “All right, sir,” said the Colonel, and galloped off to make the circuit of the batteries.

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