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[30]

You who witnessed the spring-burst of battle at Chancellorsville or the Wilderness, or red battle's high and splendid noon at Manassas or Gettysburg—tell me! what have you felt or looked on since, that is not pitifully small in comparison. If, on such a field, you chanced to see Robert Lee ride, with uncovered head, along the front of one of his old fighting divisions, to you surely I need not enlarge upon the thrilling inspirations in the life of the Confederate soldier.

A single scene from this room of memory's picture gallery.

We had been ordered out of Fredericksburg. Burnside's great siege guns were belching forth death and ruin upon the old town, from the Stafford heights. Barksdale's Mississippians had been hospitably received by the inhabitants, and their blood was up in their defense. The Twenty-first Mississippi was the last regiment to leave the city. The last detachment was under the command of Lane Brandon, my quondum classmate at Yale. In skirmishing with the head of the Federal column—led, I think, by the Twentieth Massachusetts—Brandon captured a few prisoners, and learned that the advance company was commanded by Abbott, who had been his chum at Harvard Law School, when the war began.

He lost his head completely. He refused to retire before Abbott. He fought him fiercely, and was actually driving him back. In this he was violating orders, and breaking our plan of battle. He was put under arrest, and his subaltern brought the command out of town.

Buck Denman, a Mississippi bear hunter and a superb specimen of manhood, was color-sergeant of the Twenty-first and a member of Brandon's company. He was tall and straight, broad-shouldered and deep-chested, had an eye like an eagle and a voice like a bull of Bashan, and was full of pluck and power as a panther. He was rough as a bear in manner, but withal, a noble, tender-hearted fellow, and a splendid soldier.

The enemy finding the way now clear, were coming up the street, full company front, with flags flying and bands playing, while the great shells from the siege guns were bursting over their heads and dashing their hurtling fragments after our retreating skirmishers.

Buck was behind the corner of a house, taking sight for a last shot. Just as his finger trembled on the trigger, a little three-year-old, fair-haired baby-girl toddled out of an alley, accompanied by a Newfoundland dog, and gave chase to a big shell that was rolling lazily along the pavement, she clapping her little hands and the dog snapping

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