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[142] under the immediate command of General Fitzhugh Lee, and originated with him, it was said at the time, to drive some negro soldiers off Virginia soil.

We left Hanover Junction about 6 P. M. on the 23d, and rode all night and much of the time at a gallop. Early on the morning of the 24th we were near the fort, but for some inexplicable reason the attack was delayed. A flag of truce was sent in to General Wild, commanding the post, demanding immediate surrender, and saying that, if not complied with, General Lee would not be responsible for the action of his men when the fort was taken. Wild answered: ‘We will try that.’ It was 11 o'clock before we began to get into position. In the mean time, the gunboats Dawn, Pequot, and the Atlanta (ironclad) were shelling us fiercely and the fort was filling with reinforcements. The enemy also had a small vessel named the Mayflower. Some of our force wounded the captain and pilot of this boat. I never heard of any injury that we inflicted on the ironclad. We had no artillery with us.

The shells were chiefly 100-pounders. We could see them plainly coming at and over us; great black masses, as big as nail-kegs, hurling in the air and making the earth tremble under us and the atmosphere jar and quake around us when they burst. They certainly were terrifying. And under their effect I compared the ‘details’ from the First and Fifth. The former was dismounted, each in column of fours near together under those awful missiles. As one came towards and burst over us, I saw those veterans of the First look up at it with horror and lean back slightly out of line. Just such a look and backward incline of their bodies as I imagine the immortal sentinel at Pompeii made, momentarily, when that dark, ashen death fixed him erect at his post for the admiration of future ages. Captain N. P. Foard saw their movement, and, under the bursting, crashing sound and mass, he said: ‘Steady, men; steady!’ Possibly before the words were uttered they were erect as statues. At the same second I glanced along the Fifth in the same line of my vision with the First, and every man sat in his saddle absolutely motionless. It was no discredit to the First, but the contrast was glorious for the Fifth.

We were soon put in line of battle around that fort, the Fifth on the extreme left, the enemy's right. We were to charge at the firing of a signal gun on our left. We lay there for an hour or more waiting that signal, eating strawberries in the fence corners and quietly talking of the scene in front of us; and all the while we could

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