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[123] were trees as large as a telegraph pole cut almost in two by musket balls. On debouching into the meadow General Semmes' coat was cut by a fragment of a shell and our colonel (Thos. P. August) was severely wounded in his leg, but the colonel was plucky. When the stretcher-bearers were about to bear him from the field he made them halt, and amidst the storm of lead and the shriek of shells, delivered this impassioned address: ‘Boys, remember you belong to the old 15th Virginia, remember you are fighting for your homes and your firesides. Give them h—l, d—n 'em.’ The words were scarcely out of the colonel's mouth before the stretcher-bearers were struck down and the colonel, still bleeding, was tumbled ingloriously into a ditch.

We continued to move obliquely until we reached the base of the hill upon which was concentrated probably fifty or sixty of the enemy's guns, belching grape and canister from their livid mouths into our very faces, it being not over two hundred yards from the base to the crest of the hill. The sun was nearly down. Had the Rev. John Jasper been present at this point, his celebrated sermon ‘the sun do move’ would never have been preached, for, notwithstanding we prayed most fervently that it would set, it hung in the heavens and seemed perfectly stationary for what appeared under the circumstances and excitement of the occasion to be hours. About one hundred and fifty of our regiment reached the base of the hill, in command of Major John Stewart Walker, formerly captain of the Virginia Life Guard, of Richmond (Company B), who assumed command as soon as Colonel August was placed hors de combat. Here we rested, under severe and continuous fire that did not admit of our raising our heads from the ground. As twilight was deepening into the shades of night, the word was passed down the line to prepare to charge the crest of the hill. Major Walker stood up with drawn sword and flashing eye and gave the command, ‘Forward, charge!’ It was the last word this gallant officer ever uttered. He fell, and was dragged into the little branch which flowed at the foot of the hill and expired in the arms of his brother, Captain Norman Walker. Thus perished as brave a soldier as ever flashed his sword in any cause!

It was now quite dark, the sky clouded by the coming storm,

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John Stewart Walker (2)
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