The first shot or two flew harmlessly over our heads; but soon they began to get the range, and then came—well, what General Gibbon
, on the other side, called ‘pandemonium.’
First there was an explosion in the top of our friendly tree, sending a shower of limbs upon us. In a second there was another, followed by a piercing shriek, which caused Patton
to spring up and run to see what was the matter.
Two killed outright and three frightfully wounded, he said on his return.
Immediately after a like cry came from another apple tree close by in the midst of the Third. Company F had suffered terribly; First Lieutenant A. P. Gomer
, legs shattered below the knee; of the Arthur
brothers, second and third lieutenants, one killed and the other badly hit; Orderly Sergeant Murray
mortally wounded, and of the privates, one killed and three wounded. Then, for more than an hour it went on. Nearly every minute the cry of mortal agony was heard above the roar and rumble of the guns.
In his modest book, ‘Four Years a Soldier,’ one who was left for dead under that apple tree describes it in these feeling words: ‘Turn you where you would, there were to be seen at almost every moment of time guns, swords, haversacks, human flesh and bones flying and dangling in the air or bouncing above the earth, which now trembled beneath us as shaken by an earthquake.
Over us, in front of us, behind us, in our midst and through our ranks, poured solid shot and bursting shell dealing out death on every hand; yet the men stood bravely at their post in an open field with a blistering July sun beating upon their unprotected heads.’
Doubtless there would have been some consolation to know, as we afterwards learned, that our blue-coated friends over the way were in the same, if not in a worse predicament.
who with Hancock
's Corps held the position we were about to storm says of the execution done by our batteries that it exceeded anything he had dreamed of in artillery warfare; and I believe it is now an admitted historical fact that from the time that the ‘nimble gunner with limstock the devilish cannon touched,’ that awful din at Gettysburg
was the most fearful sound that ever pealed from the ‘red throat of roaring war.’