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[340] ascension, which we as distant spectators enjoyed very much, but which was sure to be followed by the belching forth of innumerable number of cannon as gentle reminders that the young Napoleon was still in the ring, and was monarch of all he surveyed. We remained here some two or three weeks, during which time we received many visits from our parents, friends and others, bringing boxes of food, clothing, &c. Minus the artillery duel, we were doing pretty well. But there is an end to all things temporal, and soon we received orders to cook three days rations and take up the line of march, and after a short time we reached the road which leads to
Mechanicsville,
where, after crossing the Chickahominy, we followed behind the troops of General Field—all Virginians—the Purcell Battery at that time being engaged heavily—the boys getting in their work with deadly destruction to the enemy. We laid under the fire of the enemy all that evening receiving it, but unable as yet to reply. There is nothing so demoralizing to troops as being compelled to remain quiet under the fire of an enemy, receiving his severe thrusts, and seeing their own men being killed and wounded. Such was the case at Mechanicsville. But we were to have our fire with our guns on to-morrow.

Next morning the battery pulled out of the field and started out in advance, passing through Mechanicsville, the cannoneers being mounted on their caissons and limbers, all eyes turned in the direction of
Gaines' Mill,
at which point was to be another struggle. And right here again we experienced another withering fire without being able to reply. Soon, however, we started forward in a gallop, the minie balls rattling through the trees, the woods on fire, and large stores (commissary) being scattered all over the road, and the air, the whole atmosphere, seemed filled with the odor of burning flesh, until we reached
Cold Harbor
where we were to contend for the mastery of the field. Our battery consisted of six guns. Such was the number of guns and a sufficiency of men to properly man them. Just before we reached the field I saw General Lee. What a picture he was! I heard the command, fix bayonet, and with it the word, forward! unlimber!

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