During the long-continued firing, while lying in the enemy's abattis, Lieutenant Kincheloe
, of Company C, was wounded at my side by a shell which came apparently from our rear, and Private Embrey
, the younger of two brothers in Company C, was killed just in front of me by a bullet through the head.
At the request of the officers I went back to the second line, where we had killed so many of the enemy, and robbed their cartridge boxes of ammunition, which I brought to our line.
I would not choose such a job again.
I was again sent to the rear to find, if possible, our ammunition wagons and to get supplies of ammunition brought to the front.
While hunting them our line was ordered to withdraw to the trenches.
Not to be out of a job while waiting its return, I volunteered to assist in firing a three-inch rifle gun that was in our trench, the rest of the battery having been put out of action, and this piece remaining with a lieutenant and a squad of men without horses.
It was the only piece of our artillery in sight, while the enemy, with what seemed about twenty guns, were shelling the region miscellaneously without definite target.
The lieutenant and myself ran some two hundred yards to the caisons, which remained abandoned on the field, and brought our arms full of shells for the gun. Sighting carefully at one of the enemy's batteries we made a pretty fair shot with our first shell, and reloaded as quickly as possible for
a second attempt.
Before it could be made a hurtling volley of a dozen shells showed that the enemy was glad to get a target.
Our second shell burst splendidly in the midst of a battery, and, elated by the shot, we loaded again.
This shell, however, never left the gun, for before we could pull the lanyard one of the enemy's second dozen shells struck our gun on the mouth, breaking off about a foot and a half of the piece and ending my experience as an artillerist.
My cousin, Lieutenant David Smith
, after the battle told me the following incidents of the close fighting at the trenches:
One of our men having an empty gun, which he was in the act of reloading as he arrived at the trench, in an emergency found he had no time either to finish reloading or to club his gun, but felled his opponent by a vigorous swipe across the head with his handy ramrod.
One of our officers ordered a Yankee just across the trench to surrender; whereupon our officer, not being a swordsman, leaped the breastworks, grabbed his man by the collar and proceeded to pummel him a la Jeffreys, until he gave in.
My cousin himself wore a sword, which, being rather loose in the scabbard, had frequently given him trouble by falling out when the end was tipped by any accident.
To prevent this worry he had tied the handle to one of the thills of the scabbard, thinking that he could easily remove the cord for the next dress parade.
On this occasion, however, when he rushed up to the trench, a big Yankee crouched in the grass raised his gun right at his breast.
Two or three vigorous jerks failed to extricate the sword.
Neither stick nor stone was in sight to furnish a weapon for the emergency; and so with fierce and commanding look the lieutenant drew back his stalwart foot and thundered: ‘Throw down that gun or will kick you over;’ an order which the private promptly obeyed.