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[85] allow, but did not go very far, when, coming to a slight opening about forty yards wide and seventy long, which looked as if it were the site of an old pond, I saw the enemy's line of battle on the opposite or eastern side of this opening, moving to their right in column of fours at a double quick. Seeing this, I gave the order to the sharpshooters to commence firing, which order was repeated in a loud tone by all of the commissioned and non commissioned officers of the battalion, which I saw attracted the attention of the enemy. I saw four men just at this time step out of line and prepare to fire, and thinking it the part of a good skirmisher to seek protection when possible, and seeing a dead tree about the size of my body about three feet from me, I stepped quickly behind it, but not in time to escape a bullet which passed through my clothes, grazing my spine slightly, giving me great pain at the time and causing paralysis of my lower limbs that evening, so that I could scarcely use them. I came near leaving the field, thinking that I had been shot through, but was obliged to smile after finding the extent of my injury, and thought how I, who had been selected to command the picked men of Mahone's brigade, would have been laughed at had I left the field for so slight an injury. A sergeant of the Sixty-First regiment, just as I was struck, fell at my feet, shot through the brain.

The enemy's line at this place was somewhat broken by our fire, but a much larger number than composed my force of sharpshooters halted and returned our fire. While this was going on I could hear our brigade behind us advancing, and judging from the sound made by the canteens of the men striking against the bushes that the brigade was in easy supporting distance of us, I gave the order to the sharpshooters to charge, which order being repeated by all the officers of my command, was, I thought, mistaken by the brigade for an order for them to charge, as they immediately came forward very rapidly.

I had gotten nearly across the opening, above referred to, when our brigade reached it, and as the men in our rear opened fire on the enemy before us without regard of the sharpshooters being in their front, I quickly withdrew to the rear with my men, and in that position went forward with the brigade until we reached the plank-road. Before we moved forward, and whilst we were about this opening, I was particularly struck by the coolness and gallantry of General Mahone. Our brigade had about reached the point at which we

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William Mahone (2)
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