‘These are Virginians.’
General Gordon then rode up, and said: ‘General Lee, these are Virginians; they have never failed to do their duty and they never will, but they don't want you to uselessly expose your life. You go to the rear, and they will follow me; won't you, boys?’ All echoed ‘Yes,’ when Sergeant Wm. A. Compton, who had volunteered at the age of seventeen (he is now sheriff of Warren county, Va.), took hold of the bridle of General Lee's horse, and led him back through the ranks of my company and regiment. General Gordon immediately spurred his horse into the thicket, saying: ‘Charge! Men, follow me!’ and, in the language of John R. Thompson, the poet,Like the waves of the seaTheir ranks were torn, and their columns riven, the breastworks retaken, and the day was ours. General Lee was reported to have said: ‘The crisis had come. The army was cut in twain, and I was willing to risk all on the one issue.’ And he won.
That burst the dykes in the overflow,
Madly the veterans burst on the foe.