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[324]

Next morning found us upon the mountain, more jaded and and wearied than I ever saw men before; but with our train safe and the enemy considerably behind us. This day we marched all day, expecting all the time to be attacked on the flank by Yankee cavalry. About 12 o'clock M. we reached the pickets of our army. This ought to have been a source of profound relief and gratification, but was not, for our army was then engaged furiously in the great battle of Gettysburg, and we well knew, that tired as we were, there was to be no rest for us, till it was over. We marched straight into position, and commenced the fight about dark, which soon ended for the night. We were ordered to remain mounted ready to drive the enemy back should he attempt to move that way that night; but General Stuart being informed by the proper officer, that there was a limit to human endurance, replied ‘yes,’ and as he noticed that one of our brigade in attempting to get over a fence fell to sleep on it, he said that we might rest that night; accordingly we went back one-quarter of a mile, fed our horses, and spent the night in peace. Next morning commenced early the hard day's fighting at Gettysburg. The appearance of the sun was welcomed by the roar of a cannon; as he rose higher and higher in the heavens, louder and louder became the roar of heavy guns and at breakfast time, the thunder sound of artillery was truly deafening. Then the roar became less loud, and, until perhaps half-past 10 o'clock, the firing was not regarded as very heavy, meanwhile the cavalry was carried far down on the left of our line, almost in rear of the enemy and far away from the scene of carnage at Gettysburg. The guns there were audible to us though, and so furiously did they seem to fire that we knew a terrible scene of death and slaughter was being enacted there. Though we were all day expecting to fight we did not become engaged until about 12 o'clock, when the Yankee cavalry made a powerful assault upon us. The combat did not last long, not more than three or four hours, but was the fiercest I ever saw waged by cavalry. The enemy fought well; and our men evinced no disposition to yield an inch of ground. The fight occurred on an extensive plain. The enemy in vain endeavored to force our sharpshooters back to the woods. Drove them back in several places, and at a moment when our men were hard pressed, their cavalry dashed forward in a charge to clean the field. This regiment and the Thirteenth, numbering in the charge no more than 150 men, dashed forward to meet the Yankee charge. We met them at a fence over which neither party could readily get; they outnumbered


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J. E. B. Stuart (1)
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