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[306]

A recollection of Pelham.

How two of his guns held out against six of the enemy.


One day in the latter part of August, 1863 (I write from memory only), General Pleasanton, with a large force of cavalry, had been feeling for General Lee's army, which lay near Orange Court House, and ‘Our Fitz,’ even then a boy general, had been gallantly fighting every inch of the ground to prevent Pleasanton from crossing the Rapidan, and successfully; for, so far as I know, none of his troops had crossed the river. I, with a party of nine, had flanked the right of Pleasanton's line, and was pushing through the woods to gain the rear, when I ran into and was captured by the 6th New York Cavalry. I had on a pair of new boots and two beautiful blisters on each heel. As long as I could move, under excitement, I did not feel the pain; but when captured and made to stand still a while, I found I could not walk. Fortunately I had been turned over to a good fellow, a sergeant in the 6th New York, who, seeing my inability to walk, gave me the privilege of riding behind him, though but a few minutes before he had his six-shooter at my head and was about to see how much of a hole a 40-calibre bullet would make in a man's skull at a close distance.

As we rode to the rear we emerged from the woods and to our left was a large open field, in which was a six gun battery having a picnic. I said: ‘Sergeant, that is my branch of the service. As we are not under any special orders, please ride over and let us watch the guns.’ When we arrived we found a six gun battery of 3-inch steel rifles—then the best gun known for field use. The guns were new, the harness, men and horses were spick and span, but they were doing some very poor shooting.

On the opposite side of the river, probably three quarters of a mile or so, there was a formation of the hills, by which the road was concealed, except for what I guess was about 200 yards. A train of wagons was attempting to pass this open space. They would come in view one at a time, evidently each driver would take a good start and by the time he opened up on the road his mules were going at a gallop. I would see him standing up in his stirrups, cracking his whip and could imagine the oaths and curses he uttered. I even thought I could hear some of them as some loud-mouthed fellow


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