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[116] that it is alone; it knows that ‘some one has blundered,’ and marvels that the supports are nowhere seen, and that the Major-General, with his part of the brigade, does not appear. Still none falter or cast a look behind. They are pressing the enemy well back, though receiving deadly wounds meantime, for his attention is engrossed by this attack, and the Virginians are drawing his whole fire. Gray-haired old Coltrane, of Carroll, that gallant, staunch old soldier, is well in front, his colors already pierced with many a bullet, and men and officers press quickly on, unchecked by the murderous fire directed upon them. The ground is soft and yielding; the wheat half-knee high, drenched with rain, clings heavily to the legs, and many trip and stumble and sometimes fall. The flag-staff is shattered, but Coltrane grasps the broken staff and cheerily waves the silken folds in front. Away to the right is seen the gallant Fifth North Carolina, coming up at the double-quick to our aid, led by that preux chevalier, Colonel Duncan McRae, his horse briskly trotting in advance. A cheer bursts forth, and all take heart and still press forward. But the Virginians are much nearer the redoubt, and the enemy, regardless of the approaching supports, still concentrated all their fire upon this devoted band, and with terrible effect. Early's horse has been shot, and in another moment he himself receives a wound, the effect of which his bended form showed to his death. Terry, too, that gallant leader, ever in the van of many an after battle, has gotten the first of frequent shots full in the face, and the dauntless Hairston also goes down desperately wounded; so the writer, then but a youth, finds himself, for the first time, in command of his regiment, and the only mounted officer there. His cap has been shot off, and he leads his command, bareheaded and waving a sword just taken from a Federal captain.

But no pause is made. Ten minutes—fifteen—have passed while they cross that field of blood, and every other man is down. But support approaches; not all the rest of the brigade, as was expected—or a part of the division, fresh and in order—but only a single regiment, the gallant Fifth North Carolina, who, seeing what odds the Virginians were fighting, had, as soon as it emerged into the field and found no enemy confronting them, sought leave to march towards the firing, and were now hastening to an awful destruction, in their zeal to share that glorious field. The enemy, too, fall back more quickly as they see reinforcements coming up, and run into and behind the redoubt, to which they have all retreated now. Confusion has seized upon them there, for the Virginians are within twenty


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Coltrane (2)
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