gallops furiously past the front of Webb
's Brigade toward the clump of trees, intent upon recovering the abandoned guns.
Just at the line his horse falls dead and Hunt
bounds to his feet, firing his pistols in the very faces of the yelling foe.
Meanwhile, Col. Mallon
has sprung forward to his men and instantly the Nineteenth Massachusetts and the Forty-Second New York are moving side by side at a run.
The Nineteenth Massachusetts, trained from its inception in a discipline as stern as that of Cromwell
's ‘Ironsides,’ is material upon which reliance in such an emergency can be placed.
With it is the Forty-Second New York which has served by its side in the same brigade, in the camp, on the march and on the battle field from Ball's Bluff to the present moment.
Like a bolt of flame the little line is launched upon the enemy on the south side of the ‘Clump of Trees.’
The first line is struck and broken through.
The heroic regiment pauses an instant to gather breath and then, with a furious bound, goes on to the second line.
As the men break through the first line, Maj. Rice
is in front.
With a cry ‘Follow me, boys!’
he dashes forward and is the first man to come into contact with the second line.
He is severely wounded through the thigh and falls inside the enemy's lines.
The two lines come together with a shock which stops them both and causes a slight rebound.
For several minutes they face and fired into each other at a distance of fifteen paces, (as measured after the battle). Everything seems trembling in the balance.
The side that can get in forward motion first will surely win.
The men in blue are jammed in, five and six deep.
Sometimes there are groups which are even deeper and every time a man stoops to load, others crowd in ahead of him so that he will have to elbow his way through in order to get another chance to fire.
All can not be in the front rank, and the men in the rear are dodging around, firing through openings made by the changing crowd, no matter how small.
There is little doubt that many are wounded in this manner, because of the rapid changes being made as the entire mass forges ahead.
Muskets are exploding