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[556] regard to company or battalion order. There was much confusion, and I had received no especial orders, but I knew something was wrong. In the scramble, my gun (four-inch) occupied the third place from the head of the battalion. We moved rapidly; I was ahead of and separated from the balance of my company, and no commissioned officer was with me. Finally an officer from the Salem artillery rode by, and as he did so, remarked:

‘You had better keep your eye upon a good horse; you will need him presently.’

I replied, ‘I expect as much.’

We were moving to the right of Farmville, a short distance in Cumberland county, and through a densely wooded swamp. Two guns belonging to the Salem artillery were in my front, and, though at the head of the battalion, neither field nor company officers were with them. I stopped to get a drink of water, and in so doing, noticed that no other guns were following me; an Orderly rode up to me and said:

Colonel Hardaway says you have taken the wrong road; get back into the other road as speedily as possible.’

I looked back and that which I had been expecting for some time was at its height—a stampede had taken place. Men and horses were dashing furiously through the woods. Instead of obeying Colonel Hardaway's order, it flashed across my mind that if I would move on the by-road, the enemy, if any there be near at hand, would follow the main column, and I might easily escape with my gun. So I gave the drivers orders to ‘trot, march,’ and away we went at a swinging rate. However, there was a wagon train in our front (Captain R. L. Christian's) and that brought us to a halt—the panic was spreading amongst his drivers, who had halted, unhitched, and were preparing to spike their mules, I reckon. I prevailed upon them not to desert their train, but to move along, at least until some of us had seen the enemy, or had heard a shot fired, neither of which had been done as yet. We moved on as rapidly as we could, and every now and then men from our main column would come up, telling us of the stampede, but not one of them had seen a single sign of a Yankee, or had heard a shot fired. I was fully convinced now that the whole affair was caused by improper information, and that the enemy were not in two miles of us. The drivers having, according to orders, cut their traces, and, being ordered to take care of themselves, were doing some John Gilpin horsemanship

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