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[59] supporting infantry; to follow up any successes they might obtain, and, if unable to drive the enemy from his strong position, to continue the fight in front by pouring in fresh troops; and in case they were repulsed to hold strongly the line of battle where I stood, to prevent serious disaster to our own arms. This plan was substantially carried out, producing the favorable results which followed.

About four in the afternoon our brigade (Mahone's), which had been slowly marching along the Quaker or Willis Church road in the direction of Malvern Hill, is halted. A few paces ahead of us is a dashing-looking general officer, mounted and splendidly uniformed, with a large retinue of staff officers and couriers. General Mahone rides up to this officer to receive his orders. Just at this time a solid shot fired from a gun of a Federal battery near Crew's house, now concealed from our view by an intervening body of woods, comes skipping along, nearly spent, narrowly missing the group of officers and couriers and passing through our ranks, opened for the purpose, as we saw it bounding slowly towards us — a reminder that the enemy was near at hand. All around the open field through which this shot came bounding towards us were pieces of artillery. In the road in which we halted were long lines of troops, and the dashing-looking officer was no other than General Magruder. His orders to General Mahone to charge the enemy's batteries along with General Wright were then given. The men in the ranks understood this order to be to charge the battery that fired the shot, which, like a gauntlet thrown down, seemed to challenge our assault.

In a few moments we are in motion, forming a line of battle with our faces in the direction of the Federal artillery, whose fire seems now to increase. Between us and the enemy intervenes the body of woods referred to, and we see nothing of them as we move forward. A hundred or two yards of forward movement brings us into these woods—a body of large chestnuts and oaks. Through the tops of these tall trees, far above our heads, the shot and shell of the now vigorously-used Federal artillery howl and crash, putting us in constant danger of injury from falling fragments of huge limbs of trees. But on we go, until we reach a ravine, or gully, along the bottom of which ran a small branch. Here we halt. In the ravine is a brigade of troops, all sitting with their backs to the wall of the gully next to the enemy, seemingly secure from danger, ensconced, as they were, in what appeared to be comparatively a bomb-proof, and looking far more comfortable than we felt under an order to charge a battery and on our way to execute this order. The occasion of our temporary


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