was lying, and which I now keep as a memorial, with a bullet hole through it, I made the best time I could, following my companions, and coming to a high fence in the woods, we climbed over that, and put it, as well as the black jack, between us and the enemy's horse.
There was, immediately after, some pretty smart firing over our heads of carbines and of artillery, a rebel yell, and a hurried retreat of troopers.
Then there was another charge and another irregular discharge of field pieces, and a general scattering, as far as we could tell.
Darkness, however, had come on, and making a bed of leaves in the corner of our fence, we concluded that, ignorant as we were of the topography of the country, and the relative position of the contending forces, we had better remain still until daylight.
The next day, after we had fallen into the hands of the enemy, and had had an opportunity of shaking the hands of a few fellow prisoners, we got a good account of the skirmish of the night before.
It seems that the Yankee
cavalry, made bold and careless by almost constant and unresisted raid upon our wagon trains and stragglers, had charged down the road where they passed us, in column, and that some of our broken artillery, getting the wind of what was coming, had loaded up to the muzzle with what relics of ammunition, grape and cannister they had, and had opened fire on the column at short range.
An eye witness, Sergeant
D——, of the Howitzers of Richmond
, himself in charge of one of the guns, informed me that the havoc was fearful.
were repelled, but formed again, and seeing, I suppose, the fewness and insignificance of the force arrayed against them, came almost as audaciously and in column again, led by a bronzed old major, on a gray charger, who, with many others, met his death with a reckless courage, worthy of a better cause.
The second charge, however, was successful; our men had no more ammunition, and were run down by the cavalry some surrendering, and some escaping into the woods.
The casualties on our side were few—I do not know that any were killed.
N——, of Norfolk
, who was then surgeon of one of the artillery companies engaged in the fracas, got a pistol bullet in his face, I remember.
But to return to our fortunes.
Rising up in the morning, as soon as it was daylight, we began to cast about for our moorings.
There was before us a large open field, and thinking that lay in the direction of Lee
's lines we commenced to cross it, in hopes of rejoining our men. We were strengthened in our opinion by seeing, a few hundred yards to our right, a vidette sitting quietly on his horse, as