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[401] given by Rev. Mr. Twichell, Chaplain of the Second Excelsior:—

As nearly as I can recall the words of Colonel Wells, they were as follows. Hooker's division, to which they both then belonged, led the attack, and became hotly engaged in the woods directly in front of Fort Magruder, the principal work of the enemy at Williamsburg. There for several hours Hooker held his own against large odds, expecting help every minute, till a full third of his command was killed or wounded, and his ammunition began to give out. The enemy perceiving our fire slacken, made a sudden onset that broke our line and forced it back in confusion. The troops were new; this was their first battle to most of them, and for a little while it looked as badly as could be for our side. No reinforcements were at hand; Kearney's division was coming, but not yet near enough to do any good. The Rebels seemed bent on pushing their advantage to the utmost; they came on yelling and shouting “Bull Run,” and it was the general feeling that for that day and field it was all up with us. To crown all, it now appeared that our artillery—three batteries, I think–was so sunk in the mud as to be almost inextricable, especially as a great many of the horses had been shot, and that it must be lost unless the enemy could be checked and considerable time gained. A few of the most experienced and bravest officers determined to accomplish this if possible, and so set about rallying the men and forming a new line,—a most difficult and perilous undertaking, for the fire was very hot, and the men discouraged by a long, fruitless fight. It was while engaged in making this attempt that Colonel Wells first noticed Lieutenant Stevens. “ I saw a fine-looking young fellow,” so his narration ran, “standing with his face the right way, the very picture of pluck and resolution, his whole manner showing that he utterly disdained to give it up so; and it was an inspiring thing to see and hear him stopping the retreat.” Then the Colonel would jump up from his seat, and with much voice and action show how the Lieutenant did it. For some time they worked side by side together, too intensely occupied to exchange even a salutation, but the Colonel's admiration of the brave youth increased every minute. When, at length, however, the new line was formed, he went up to him and said, “ Excuse me, but I would like to know who you are!” “Stevens,” he answered, “ of the First Excelsior; don't you think we can hold them here?” Just then, while speaking with him, the Colonel noticed that one of his legs was drenched with blood, and exclaimed,

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