his pale face, seen in the light of the moon, told the truth more emphatically than his voice.
I thought of that boy's mother, away off in the hills of Alabama
, that perhaps at that moment was praying for the life of her child, whose right foot edged the grave, and that was awaiting the order to forward march from the King
of the shadowland.
I had a hard biscuit in my pocket that had lain there for the coming hour, when we were to cut our way out. I placed it in his hand.
He looked at it, and at me, then burst into a flood of tears, and whispered faintly, ‘Is this for me?’
I never saw him more, but I hope that fair-faced boy reached home to give the warm gratitude of his heart to the mother he spoke so lovingly about.
Before we got through raising the battery a round of shots from artillery drove us to the protection of the fortification we had been strengthening, and then for hours the connonading was terrific in its energy.
Over the work we were in, shell burst in rapid succession, with a horrid din and concussion of the air that seemed to tear the breath out of the hearers.
It did not prevent some of the men, who had been working, from going to sleep.
They lay back on the hard plank floor, on which the gun carriage traversed, and, with a great look of ‘ennui
,’ closed their eyes, heedless of danger, glory, or any other sentiment other than that of repose.
The fusilade of the heavy guns could be traced all around the fire-environed force of the south, and by an odd association of ideas in the rise and fall of sound, brought to mind the regular chimes of the church bells of a city.
Old Bones, a steed that I had tied to a six-pound enfilading field-piece, shook his tail at the splintering of the shells as Tam O'Shanter's mare did at the Wharlocks.
After an hour's waiting for the fire to cease, I cut his cogitations short by mounting him and defying sharp-shooters and shells, making for camp, to save my share of mule soup and pea-bread.
My camp was in the grounds of a castlelated building on the south side of the city, a real place of security from all the cannonading going on. Under the shelter of a raised earth terrace my tent was an ark of refuge.
A pallet and blanket, a piece of mulesteak, a drink of molasses beer, sour as vinegar, some pea-meal, flour bread, that could easily have been palmed off as first-class bird lime, and five or six hours of dreamless sleep, ‘tired nature's sweet restorer;’ a report in person made to engineer headquarters in the afternoon, a report to Major-General Smith
, commanding the line at 5 o'clock P. M., an active duty laying out and rebuilding earthworks destroyed during the day by the enemy, and it will be a fair representation of the