position on the top of Little Sewell Mountain
reported to General Lee
, who was in command of that department, but many miles away, the insubordination of General Wise
; meanwhile Rosecrans
had reached the top of Big Sewell and also stopping, began to strengthen his position, and with his largely superior force was threatening the annihiliation of the Wise Legion
, divining at once the serious position of affairs, hurried with his staff rapidly across the country, ordering his other troops to follow.
Coming first to Floyd
's position, he hastily reconnoitered that and then galloped on twelve miles further to Wise
, who stood like a bulldog on the top of Little Sewell, with his 3,000 men, growling at Big Rosecrans not more than half a mile off in an air-line on the opposite mountain.
, with his practiced eye, took in at once the superiority of Wise
's position, assumed command, ordered up Floyd
and rapidly prepared for the offensive.
His troops soon began to come up, and as regiment after regiment, during the next few days, arrived and took position; we saw gathered the largest army we western boys had yet seen in the field.
Earthworks were thrown up, batteries placed in position, stringent orders issued against furloughing, and the troops ordered to supply themselves at once with fresh ammunition—(the protracted rain had damaged a great deal of that in the soldiers' cartridge-boxes.)
The writer was directed to take a detachment and go to the ordnance train and secure what was needed for his company.
But where to find the ordnance train, was the question.
However, impressed with the importance of his mission, he started down the mountain with his men, none of whom had ever yet smelt battle powder.
Soon getting down among the strange troops and the long lines of wagons and parks of artillery, the party was completely lost and could only ask every one they met, ‘Where is the ordnance train?’
‘Who is the ordnance officer?’ &c. At last a soldier passing said, ‘Yonder is General Lee
, he can tell you.’
The green Lieutenant
looked in the direction indicated and saw, not far off, a martial figure, standing in the rain by a log fire before a small tent, with his breeches tucked in his high cavalry boots, his hands behind his back, a high, broad-brimmed black hat, with a gilt cord around it, on his head, which was bowed as if in deep thought.
With this idea in his little head, hardly concealed from the observer, ‘here are two military men well met,’ the Lieutenant
stepped boldly up, saluted, introduced himself, and asked the General