“You are wounded!
Why don't you go and find a surgeon?”
“That's nothing,” he answered, as if impatient that it should be mentioned.
“Any how, I shall not leave here till this artillery is safe.”
Nor did he. A fierce fight followed, but they succeeded in checking the enemy and saved both the artillery and the day; for Kearney came up at last, and who could stand before the “onearmed Jerseyman,” as he called himself on that occasion, and Joe Hooker, at once? . . . .
If I remember rightly, Colonel Wells went to see the Lieutenant when the battle was over, and assured him still further of his pride and interest in him; but I am quite sure that he saw him no more than two or three times afterward, for his (the Lieutenant's) wound kept him several weeks from the field, and he returned to the army on the James after the seven days battles had gloriously ended the inglorious first siege of Richmond, only to sicken and die; and sad enough it was that he should thus fall, who had so well deserved a soldier's death.
But the Colonel did not forget him, and, as I have said, often paid the tribute to his memory of telling how splendidly he did at Williamsburg; and I have no doubt he continued to do so till he met his own fate, two years and more afterwards.
never gave to his family any description of the remarkable part played by him in the battle of Williamsburg
; but while confined by his wound, he had a visit from a schoolmate,—Mr. E. M. Boynton
, now of Grand Rapids, Michigan
,—and described the affair to him. The narrative was afterward written down by this friend, and the following extracts are taken from it:—
Wherever I saw a squad of men without command, or unemployed, I went to them.
Some of them would reply, when asked to help save the cannon, “ It's no use; to go in there is only murder.”
“I have used forty rounds, and have n't a cartridge left.”
“ But,” said I, “we must not let the Rebs get the battery.
They don't like cold steel.
Fix bayonets and follow me.” . . . .
The enemy surrounded our forest covert on three sides and sought in vain to penetrate.
By frequently changing the position and moving of the little army of the defence, we frequently captured skirmishers from the enemy, and deceived them as to our numbers, by their apparent renewal as well as by stubbornness in resistance, or apparent boldness to attack.
The Rebel fire was frequently