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[241] wound from an artillery shell. Running diagonally across our front was a railroad cut, in which were a number of infantry, perhaps as many as a regiment, which were annoying us with their minie balls. Colonel Pegram ordered two guns of the Letcher battery to fire obliquely to the right in this cut. (We were too far to the right to fire into the mouth of this cut.) Two or three shots from the Letcher battery brought the infantry out in ‘roughrolland-tum-ble’ fashion. It was amusing to watch Martin Douglas, a great big Galway Irishman, a member of the Letcher battery, fire his gun. He was number four at the gun, whose duty it is to pull the lanyard which fires the charge. Before pulling his lanyard he would, every time, cross himself and mutter, ‘Lord, be marsiful to their poor souls.’

The Federal infantry driven from the cut fell back into the turnpike, slightly depressed at this point, its side bank thus forming a fair breastwork. By some oversight, or hurry, or misunderstanding two flags were left standing in their front some twenty or thirty yards. These flags led to a gallant little hand-to-hand fight between three Confederates and as many Federal soldiers, who had sprung from their respective sides and rushed forward, the one to capture and the other to save the flags. Two on each side were killed or wounded, the one Confederate left carrying off triumphantly the regimental flag, while the remaining ‘boy in blue’ bore away the ‘Stars and Stripes.’ General Lee came on that part of the field later in the afternoon, and, being told of the gallant act, called up the young solder, and the writer heard him thank him in his dignified and courteous way for his zeal and courage and promised to report it to President Davis. How we bystanders envied that young fellow those words of thanks from our great leader.

To resume the record of our battery: While in this position we ceased firing after an hour or two as Rodes's division came sweeping across the field from our left, bearing for the first time the new Confederate flag, with the white field and the beloved battle flag for a union. How we yelled as we saw this splendid body of men swing into perfect line and rush forward to the charge! And with what anxiety of heart did we watch that new flag in its onset, praying that it might not fall, but continue its onward course to wave in triumph over our enemies! It went onward in its proud course as that gallant division swept everything before it, and we trusted it was an omen of victory.

After this onset there was comparatively little fighting the balance

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Letcher (South Dakota, United States) (3)

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