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[334] ‘Captain, is there a road near our present position leading to the Rappahannock?’ I replied that not far from where we stood there was a road which led into the woods in the direction of the Rappahannock river.

“This road must be found, then, at once,” he said. He had hardly uttered these words when a few scattering random shots were heard in the woods to our right. The men in line on our left, excited apparently by this fire, commenced firing across the road into the woods beyond, not in regular volleys, but in a desultory way, without order, here and there along the line.

General Jackson turned to me and said: ‘Order those men to stop that fire, and tell the officers not to allow another shot fired without orders.’

I rode up and down the line and gave the order to both men and officers, telling them also that they were endangering the lives of General Jackson and his escort, but in vain. Those immediately in my front would cease as I gave the order, but the firing would break out above or below me, and instead of decreasing the shots increased in frequency, I rode back to Jackson and said: ‘General, it is impossible to stop these men. I think we had best pass through their line and get into the woods behind them.’ ‘Very well said,’ was the reply. So, making a half whirl to the left, thus presenting a front of, say, sixty yards, our little company commenced the movement to pass through the line, and thus put ourselves beyond the range of the fire.

A few more seconds would have placed us in safety, for we were not over three yards from the line, but as we turned, looking up and down as far as my eye could reach, I saw that long line of shining bayonets rise and concentrate upon us. I felt what was coming, and driving spurs into my horse's flanks, a powerful animal and full of spirit, he rose high in the air, and as we passed over the line the thunder crash from hundreds of rifles burst in full in our very faces. I looked back as my horse made the leap, and everything had gone down like leaves before the blast of a hurricane. The only living thing besides myself that passed through that stream of fire was Boswell's black stallion, my attention being called to him by the rattle of a chain-halter that swung loose from his neck, as he passed out of sight in the darkness of the wood. But his saddle was empty. Boswell, too, an old comrade of many a perilous scout, had gone down with all the rest before that inexcusable and unwarranted fire. My own horse was wounded in several places, my clothes and saddle

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Rappahannock (Virginia, United States) (1)

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Stonewall Jackson (3)
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