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[79] deployed in front of the two columns, Virginians on the right, Marylanders on the left, and the whole pressed on into the darkening wood. Soon the dropping fire of the skirmishers on the right showed that they had found the enemy, and Ashby moved the Virginians in line straight to the firing. Ewell remained with the Marylanders and threw them into line and marched them straight forward, Ewell and Johnson riding on the right. All at once the skirmish fire deepened, a volley roared out, and in a second the Virginians on the right were thrown into confusion. The dusk, the surprise, the sudden death to so many shocked them into momentary panic. They were as brave men as were in that army and proved their valor on every battlefield of the army of Northern Virginia but the shock had unnerved them for a moment. Colonel Johnson, springing in front of his regiment, ordered, ‘Halt! Steady battalion! Stand fast, First Maryland!’ and swinging his saber in a circle round his head, ‘Rally, Virginians! Rally! Form behind that wall!’ pointing to the staunch ranks of the First Maryland. This recalled every one to his duty, and when Ewell gave the order to charge, the men moved forward as if in review. They reached the edge of the wood and found on the farther side of a field a six-gun battery and a regiment, apparently of cavalry.

At this time the fire on the right, where Ashby was, had become hot—and growing every second. Ewell dashed up—‘Charge, colonel!’ he cried. ‘Attention battalion,’ was the order, ‘by the right flank, march.’ The regiment moved by the flank towards the fire. As soon as it arrived at the top of the hill, the head of the column was turned to the right, and when the colors came in ‘by the left flank, charge!’ was the order. The right battalion swung into line and charged in a run. The left battalion jumped into place and went along. There is no such movement or order in any tactics, but it was sufficient. The enemy, thirty yards off, was lying behind

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Richard S. Ewell (4)
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Bradley T. Johnson (2)
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