This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 morning report, and if I felt alarmed at the smallness of the battalions before, the infallible logic of figures did not reassure me. A quarter to 10 I rode over to a cornfield in the rear of the lines and threw a few ears of corn to my horse—a lean, stubborn colt—stubborn to lack of bridle knowledge rather than any inherent vice. A funny animal was that colt. Indeed, army correspondents seem to get an eccentric beast through some fatality. My colt had a very confident way of selecting a tree at any stage of a journey, and siding up to it to be tied, and it required all the pointed eloquence of my heels to stir him. But he was green rather than vicious, for he would take my companion's clucks as soon as my own, and increase his gait accordingly. While he was munching his corn a sharp scrimmage broke out on the left; a battery followed with four rapid discharges, the musket fire rekindled, and in a moment there was a crash—a heavy volley of musketry, such a one as no line of skirmishers ever fired. I say by my watch that it lacked five minutes of ten. The enemy opened a battery, and a grapeshot, wide of its destination, struck within a few feet of me and glanced off up the hill. I tried a knob further along, but an occasional minie whistled by vehemently. It seemed as if there was no place within sight of the battle-field that was absolutely safe. The thunder of battle deepened, and for an hour there was no pause. The musketry was furious, drowning the thunderous throbbing of a half dozen of our batteries in fierce action. For two miles I could see the gray-blue smoke arise from the trees, tufted here and there by whirling spheres of vapor, as they vomited from the hot and cavernous artillery. There came a rife of stragglers to the rear—negroes leading officers' horses, wounded men, and some, I thought, only feigning to be wounded; they drifted slowly up the hill where I stood, their pace accelerated occasionally by the chance vagrant minies. These are the legitimate refuse of the fight, I thought. Every battle is the same thing—and I was thankful that there were no more of them. The stream stopped, and the battle grew more and more noisily terrible. Suddenly, a frightful cheer broke out along our entire left. Not a round, manly cheer—not a Federal cheer—but a frantic prolonged yell, pitched almost to a childish treble. It grew plainer and plainer, and I felt that the enemy was making the grand charge, for which he had been gathering himself during the morning. I could see
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.