order in their advance I walked across the road to the front and waving my cap to attract the attention of all, officers and men, ordered the line forward.
Rising from the road in which they had been lying they advanced deliberately, steadily and firmly, closing gaps promptly until the enemy broke, when they poured in their volley and rushed on them, sweeping them from the field.
This was perhaps the fairest fight we had that day; there was no great disparity of numbers between their regiment and ours; they seemed to be about equal; but we had the advantage of the immediate presence of the Sharpshooters.
Our disadvantages were our battered condition, loss of officers and men in previous fights, our lying so long under their fire, a part of the time not returning it, that they recovered from the excitement of the first onset and directed their fire with a better aim. Most of their balls were on a line with us, fewer of them passed over our heads than in any previous attack.
We met this line of fire when we rose up in the road, and it continued without abatement, aided by the shot and shell plunging into and about us from the battery on the right, until we were within twenty-five yards of them, when I was shot.
So steady was their fire and unshaken their line that the result even then was doubtful; and those near me, who naturally came to my assistance, were peremptorily ordered to the front where every bayonet was needed.
My eyesight failed, a premonition of the fainting that followed, and I could not see you my comrades, but I heard the volley which you delivered as you passed over me, and the ‘yell,’ receding from me as you advanced, relieved the anxiety which was intensified by my condition, and gave assurance that you had again swept the field.
When my sight returned you were seen in line with the Sharpshooters in the edge of the woods on the left, fronting down the road.
When last seen by me the whole line seemed to be moving by the left flank across the road.
And here the story of your movements and conduct on this field, as seen and known by me, necessarily ends.
I learn from others that the regiment, led by its Lieutenant-Colonel
, the truly good and brave Steadman
, had still another engagement with the enemy before the battle closed, with the result to which it was now becoming accustomed, and, crippled and torn as it was, added new laurels to those already won that day.
By the movement to the left alluded to a moment ago the field of my last conflict was left uncovered in our front and in the direction taken by the five regiments of the enemy that I had seen retiring rapidly but in good order across the Williamsburg
road, and it was still