Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they marched and well,
Into the jaws of death
Into the mouth of hell,
Marched the six hundred.
And when the fire was so severe that the men could stand no longer, and knowing it was all the result of somebody's blunder, they lay on the ground and loaded and fired as fast as they could, waiting for orders to retire. But no order came. Officers were falling so fast that no one knew who was in command. And just at this time T. R. B. Wright, who was then a private in the Essex Sharpshooters, seeing our flag fall, ran and seized it and carried it to the front, calling to the men to follow. Ah, Tom, Sergeant Jasper did not perform as brave an act as that, but the men couldn't follow. Had they attempted it, without an interposition of Providence, not one would have been left to tell the tale, and God alone spared your life. And, when Adjutant R. L. Williams could find no officer above his own rank to command the regiment, he took the responsibility upon himself, and ordered a retreat; and
Then they came back, butCasualties—Colonel, dead; Lieutenant-Colonel, wounded; Major, dead. Every captain, except one,1 either dead or wounded. Every first lieutenant either dead or wounded. Every second lieutenant, except four, either dead or wounded. One-third of the men either dead or wounded. And what is left of the 55th Virginia Regiment is commanded by the adjutant and four second lieutenants. Cardigan, at Balaklava, left hundreds of prisoners behind. Pickett, at Gettysburg, left thousands; but every man of the 55th Virginia who could walk was brought off the field.
Not the six hundred.