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[267] Quickly the 17th and 21st boys went crazy, running helter-skelter, falling over rocks and tumbling over each other. Soon the vision flashed on the 18th regiment. It was a red fox, running for his life; but headed off at every turn, he jumped from place to place, dodging his pursuers.

A. P. Hill's Division, four miles away, while going into camp, aroused the fox and the chase began. He passed through the ranks of 30,000 soldiers successfully, but when he reached the 18th Mississippi his tail was dragging. He was suffering, doubtless, from the blows of numerous missiles, his tongue was hanging out and he was the picture of defeat and despair. He was killed by a member of Company G, called the ‘Haymar Rifles,’ from Yazoo county. Colonel Haymar, for whom the company was named, was at the time visiting the regiment. He was presented with the skin, which he took back to Mississippi and had it made into a cap, and afterwards wore it on a second visit to the company the following spring. In all likelihood, it was the most exciting fox chase in the annals of such sports.

About the 13th of November we received orders to march, and hurried with all speed towards Rapidan station. Burnside had moved from Warrenton, destined for Richmond. Then began a race between the two great armies which ended at Fredericksburg. McLaws' Division, composed of Kershaw's South Carolina, Semmes' Georgia, Cobb's Georgia and Barksdale's Mississippi Brigades, was under Jackson at that time. It was not a question if could we reach Fredericksburg ahead of Burnside. We were obliged to do so. The weather was very severe. Before reaching Rapidan we crossed two rivers, the North Anna and South Anna, which formed a junction about a mile below where we crossed. Arriving at the North Anna, the men removed their shoes and stripped off their trousers. We were told that the south fork was but a short distance ahead, therefore all decided to carry shoes and pants under their arms until they had forded the South Anna.

The 18th Regiment was leading.

Soon after crossing the first river, the road wound around a hill; through a skirt of woods we entered a cut in the hill and the road changed directions to the right, when suddenly the head of the column came running back, the men in fits of laughter, but seeking places to hide.

The colonel and his staff were left without followers. They rode back also, their faces wreathed in smiles.

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A. E. Burnside (2)
Paul J. Semmes (1)
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