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[429] my men coming on with a splendid squadron front; looking forward I saw the enemy in column of fours, turning to retreat. The ground was down hill towards the enemy, and I had never seen a better opportunity for a sabre charge, and, as the squadron neared me, I shouted, ‘Come on, boys, they are running!’ and, jumping my horse over the low barricade, dashed in among the Rebels, only to find myself making the attack single-handed. I had ridden past a dozen of the enemy before I discovered my desperate situation. They were retreating in a loose column of fours, and, as I rode in among them, there were three files on my left hand and one on my right. I felt that death was certain, and, like a lightning flash, my whole life seemed to pass in review before me, closing with the thought, ‘and this is the end.’

There was but one chance; fifty men behind me were shouting, ‘Kill that Yankee!’ To turn among them and retrace my steps was impossible; my horse was swift, and I thought if I could keep on until I came to a side street, I might dash into that, and, by making a circle, again reach our lines. As I rode, I kept my sabre swinging, striking six blows right and left. Two of the enemy escaped by quickly dodging their heads, but I succeeded in wounding four of them-Captain William A. Moss, Hugh S. Hamilton, colorbearer of the Fourth Virginia cavalry, and two others unknown to me. The first side street reached was on the left. Keeping my head close to my horse's neck, I then broke through the three files on my left, and reached the side street in safety, fully twenty yards from the nearest horseman. For a moment, I thought I was safe, when suddenly a bullet, doubtless intended for me, struck my gallant steed and he staggered under the shock. With rein and spur I urged him on, but it was in vain; he fell with a plunge that left me lying on the ground. Before I could rise two of the enemy reined in their horses by me, and, leaning over in their saddles, struck at me, one with a carbine, the other with a sabre. I could parry but one, and with my sabre stopped the crushing blow from the carbine at the same instant that the sabre gave me a cut across the forehead. I at once rose to my feet and said to the soldier who had wounded me, ‘For God's sake do not kill a prisoner.’ ‘Surrender, then,’ he said; to which I replied, ‘I do surrender.’ He demanded my sword and pistol, which I gave to him, and had scarcely done so when I was struck in the back with such force as to thrust me two steps forward. Upon turning to discover the cause of this assault, I found that a soldier had ridden up on the trot, and stabbed me with his

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William A. Moss (1)
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