previous next


I have always thought that the mounted officer whom I saw and particularly noticed, his gallant bearing attracting my attention was Colonel Sorrel, and still so believe. I noticed this officer just as the line was ascending the slope north of the marshy flat. He was, I think, less than fifty yards to the left of our company.

The move through the woods in pursuit of the retreating Federals was highly exciting, the men seeming to have lost all sense of danger, although hostile bullets were doing some deadly work. The rapid charge soon brought our regiment to the southern edge of the Orange plank-road, arrived at which, we were so close upon the enemy that two—I think three—of us fired simultaneously at one retreating Federal on the north side of the plank-road, and not forty yards distant. As we fired, the Federal soldier fell. Leroy Edwards,1 who was at my side, and one of those who fired, exclaimed, “I hit him!” I am not sure that I also did not so exclaim— I know I thought I hit him and that it was under my fire he fell. In a few seconds we were at his side, and to our surprise he did not appear to be badly hurt. Leroy Edwards, as tenderhearted as he was courageous, first spoke to him, and offering to help, or helping him to get on his feet, said in the most sympathetic way, “I hope you are not hurt.” This striking incident, illustrating the feeling of a true and chivalrous soldier towards his fallen enemy, impressed me very much.

Just after this, our line—I mean the part of it composed of the Twelfth regiment—being in a flat about fifty yards north of the plank-road, and depressed about five or six feet below the level of the roadway, was reformed, and facing southward moved back towards the plank-road, ascending a gentle slope as we neared it, when suddenly we were startled by a sharp volley of musketry coming from a line of troops about forty or fifty yards south of the plank-road, the bullets from which volley fiercely whizzed over our heads. I well remember my own thoughts—The enemy are in our rear, and we are in a bad box. This flashed through my mind. Immediately the men fell upon their faces, and would doubtless have at once begun to return this fire, but several cried out, ‘You are firing into your friends.2’ “Show your colors!” “Show your colors!!” It immediately became apparent to us and to the men on the south side of the plank-road that a mistake had been made, and the firing ceased,

I am sketching this off to you hastily and entirely from memory, and while there may be some omissions, or inaccuracies as to detail, I think the account is not far wrong. With best wishes, I am yours very truly and sincerely,

1 Leroy S. Edwards, of Richmond, Virginia.

2 [Gap in the source text that was scanned.]

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Richmond (Virginia, United States) (1)
Orange River (Maine, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
G. M. Sorrel (2)
Leroy Edwards (2)
Leroy S. Edwards (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: