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[374] nearly completed my work, when hearing a disturbance at the head of the column, I walked rapidly up the line to hear what was the matter. Nearing the head of the column, I heard Lieutenant-Colonel Ewell, in his impetuous way, say to one of the men (Davidson), “What, sir, do you dispute my authority?” To which the young man, in a very proper manner replied, “I do sir, until I know you have a right to exercise it.” Taking in the situation, and aware that The Rifles and this officer were strangers to each other, I at once said, “Men, this is Lieutenant-Colonel Ewell, your commanding officer, a gallant soldier, in whom you may place every confidence.” Of course this ended the trouble. The men might well be excused for doubting Colonel Ewell, for when he came up, he was bare and bald-headed, in his shirt sleeves and bleeding. Fearful that the enemy might be on his return through town before we were prepared to intercept him, Colonel Ewell again hurried to the column to complete its formation, which was soon accomplished. We put ourselves at the head, and gave the command “march,” having two hundred yards to go before we could reach the turnpike, running by the hotel and over which the enemy must pass on his return. It was during this march that Colonel Ewell told me how he came to be in his then condition, that he had undertaken to run across the street from the hotel, just ahead of the enemy's column, which he supposed he could do under cover of the darkness, that the commanding officer of the enemy discovering that some one was crossing the street in front of him, had fired upon him, and struck him in the fleshy part of the shoulder, that as he ran, he jerked off his uniform, and pitched it into a lot, his fear being that the enemy might discover he was an officer, and might make a special effort to capture him. The coat was found next morning in Powell's porch below Gunnell's, and accounts for Ewell's tardiness in reaching The Rifles. He then said to me, that as soon as we reached the hotel he would have to leave me to get a courier to send off to Fairfax Station for some calvary camped at that place, and added that as I seemed to have a turn for this sort of thing, I must take charge of the boys and manage them to the best advantage until he rejoined me.

I will here collate the incidents which had occurred up to this time. I think it was a little before 3 A. M., and very dark, when the enemy struck our pickets, and entering town, and near the hotel, as described, wounded Colonel Ewell--commenced firing to the right and left, clearly with no other object than to alarm — killing Captain Marr by a chance shot at a distance of three hundred yards, never pausing for a moment, but driving the Prince William cavalry before them, and stopping at


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R. S. Ewell (7)
H. L. Powell (1)
Fannie H. Marr (1)
Joshua Gunnell (1)
William Lee Davidson (1)
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