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[436] few more guns, would guard the front and flanks of the column, which would be about 17 miles long. A brigade of Stuart's cavalry, with a battery, would guard the rear. Lee's medical director was charged to see that all the wounded who could bear the journey were carried in the empty wagons and ambulances.

What this journey was to mean to the wounded, none seem to have imagined before starting, or they would have greatly preferred to become prisoners. Every vehicle appeared to be loaded to its capacity.

It was about 4 P. M. on the 4th before the head of the train was put in motion from Cashtown. Meanwhile, what would have seemed a visitation of the wrath of God had come upon us, had we not preferred the theory which has been previously referred to, that storms may be generated by heavy firings. Now there came suddenly, out of the clear sky of the day before, one of the heaviest rainfalls I have ever seen. Probably four inches of water fell within 12 hours, and it was sure to make the Potomac unfordable for a week. Imboden, in Battles and leaders, gives the following description: —

‘Shortly after noon on the 4th, the very windows of heaven seemed to have opened. The rain fell in blinding sheets, the meadows were soon overflowed, and fences gave way before the raging streams. During the storm, wagons, ambulances, and artillery carriages by hundreds — nay, by thousands —were assembling in the fields along the road from Gettysburg to Cashtown in one confused and apparently inextricable mass. As the afternoon wore on, there was no abatement of the storm. Canvas was no protection against its fury, and the wounded men, lying upon the naked boards of the wagon-bodies were drenched, horses and mules were blinded and maddened by the wind and water, and became almost unmanageable.’

My personal recollections of the occasion are vivid. About 5 P. M., my somewhat battered battalion drew into a meadow adjoining the Fairfield Pike with orders to watch the passing column of troops and take its place in the column immediately behind the 3d corps, when it passed. This might be, we were told, in an hour or two. There was good grass in the meadow and the horses needed food, but the need to move promptly when the time came prevented unhitching. By good fortune, four of us got possession of an old door, upon which we could sit,

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