knowing that many of us who did sleep were sleeping their last sleep on earth, and that others were watching for the rising of the sun, whose setting beams would fall upon their lifeless bodies; and yet, on that summer night, the moon shone sweetly, and the stars came out quietly, as if there was nought but peace and good-will upon earth, as if no fierce men were lying waiting but the end of their vigils to commence again their murderous strife.
The night passed on, and the day, the long day for those who should survive it, commenced—Friday, the 29th August—during which over six hundred of our little band of fifteen hundred were to fall.
The first dawn was greeted by the shells of the enemy, who had been preparing during the night to throw their main force upon our left, and to overwhelm us before Lee
's corps came to our assistance.
Some of these shells fell in our ranks, and thus, early in the day, was the bloody work begun.
About seven o'clock the brigade was put in motion in the following order: the Twelfth, Thirteenth, First, Orr
's Rifles, and Fourteenth, and we were marched back again to our first position of the evening before, the extreme left of Jackson
On our approach to the spot we were to occupy we were halted, and a company from each regiment was detailed as skirmishers, to cover our front and flanks.
The skirmishers crossed the railroad cut, and pushed into the woods opposite, while General Gregg
posted our regiments upon the hill on which the left of our line of battle was to rest, and which he was instructed that he was to hold at any and every cost.
Our position upon this hill or rocky knoll was slightly in advance of Jackson
's general line; here, the ground rising to some extent, the grade of the railroad bed, in our immediate front, rendered the depth of the cut about six feet, but sloping away to our right and left, reduced it to one or two feet on our flanks, while further on to our right, in front of Thomas
' brigade, it rose to an embankment.
The ground upon our side of the road-bed was almost entirely bare, while, on the other side, it was covered by a thick growth of brush.
On our right, too, this growth extended to about fifty yards of our flank, while on our left, at about the same distance, was a field inclosed by a worm fence.
The portion of this field, nearest our position, was cleared and open, but on the side of the field, furthest from us, there was a stand of corn closely covering it. This position was important, not only because it was our extreme left, but because of the Sudley ford
which it commanded.
On arriving at this spot, our skirmishers having preceded us and