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[427] Double-quick, and we were soon ahead of this piece of ground. It was very hard travelling over ploughed ground, and that, together with the exertion of keeping in line, tired me very much. The shells continued to follow us, and it was very evident that the Rebs could see all our movements from where they stood. We passed by a stone house and barn which were used as a hospital, and entered the woods. Here the broken guns, the dead and dying of our men, showed plainly that the battle had raged but a short time before.

In front of these woods was an open field where the Rebels had formed their line of battle. In this lot the enemy lay thickly. It seemed as though every third man must have fallen before the aim of our men. We passed over this line, and I suppose my heart was hardened by the excitement; for I could look upon them with the utmost indifference. We obliqued to the right, and soon saw a body of our troops lying in the edge of the woods, who received a volley as we came in sight. We marched into the woods in great disorder; and before we had time to form a line of battle, the bullets flew like hailstones, and many a brave comrade laid down his arms and went to a soldier's reward. I saw Murphy as he died; Hayden lay beside him, and a third was at my feet. I loaded and fired as fast as I could, but aimed at something every time; for I was not so excited but that I knew all that was going on, and realized my situation. We were on a rise in the ground, on a ledge of rocks, in full view of the enemy, who lay below us in a cornfield. They fired in deadly volleys, and the bullets flew thick and fast. Georgy [his cousin, George Fletcher, mentioned above] was struck and slightly wounded in the first fire, in the lip; another ball passed through his breast-coat-pocket. One ball struck my gun and tore the wood as I was putting on a cap, but passed by without touching me. We remained in this place for three quarters of an hour, the officers said, though certainly it did not seem more than fifteen minutes, when we had orders to cease firing. Just at this time a ball passed through Jimmy [his cousin, James Fletcher], just between the eyes, killing him instantly. He had stood there, bearing up bravely and doing his duty nobly during the whole fight; and then, just as he had almost finished his work, he died. Sam and Georgy stepped up to him, but seeing that he was gone they left him. I saw him just before he fell and just after, but did not see him fall. I stood the third from him back and to the left of Ed Tanner; Sam Batcheler fell near by, and Ike Marshall was also left there. The Rebels flanked us, and made it absolutely necessary for

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Ed Tanner (1)
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