It may be that a sudden blindness struck five of the group.
That moment, while the mad charge was still sweeping by in pursuit, five of the Federals
, picking up their guns, aimed straight at the heroic figure which had, by a signal, given them back their own unworthy lives.
, without one look or word or sign, fell from his saddle, dead.
In the wild rush of battle some there were of his men who saw the dastard deed.
With the yells of battle was mingled yet another yell; wilder, fiercer, more curdling, a yell for vengeance!
Before their officers could check the savage impulse thirty guiltless Federals had paid with their lives for the cowardly act of five.
As they lay around Mouton
, one might have fancied them a guard of honor drawn from the foe to show him reverence.
In this charge through the ravine, to end the story, Mouton
carried 2,200 men. Out of this number 762 died with him. He had said to Polignac
just before the attack: ‘Let us charge them right in the face and throw them into the valley.’
That valley was the ravine, in which Mouton
's noble life was offered up in the sacred name of mercy.
had been his life.
In his death his fame was to be rounded sans reproche
. In the broad battle annals of our Confederacy I can think of no loftier exit from its bloody stage recorded of any of its actors than that of Alfred Mouton
, of Louisiana
's report gives the bald truth.
It is told in an adjective qualifying the charge.
A list of the dead among the officers who led the charge emphasizes the same thrilling story, a story in which mention deigns, in passing, to glorify the color-bearers of one of the attacking regiments.
‘The charge made by Mouton
across the open was magnificent.
With his little division, consisting of his own and Polignac
's brigade, the field was crossed under a murderous fire of artillery and musketry, the wood was reached and our little line sprang with a yell upon the foe. In this charge, General Mouton
, commanding ’