In this same spirit of devotion there fell Prentis
and others dear in the memory of us all.
Let us recall the part which our own regiment, the Ninth Virginia, took in this memorable charge.
's Brigade, to which our regiment belonged, were the first troops to reach the immediate vicinity of Malvern Hill
, arriving there at 10 A. M. Tuesday, July I, 1862.
On arriving our regiment was detached from the Brigade to guard a strategic point and did not rejoin it until after the battle.
From 10 A. M. to 5 P. M. we lay exposed to the shells of the enemy.
At this hour we were sent for and conducted to a deep wooded ravine which ran along the very edge of the open field on which the enemy had made a stand, and where they had planted many batteries and massed a great body of infantry.
When we took our position in the ravine we found that Gen. Magruder
was there in command with a considerable force, all lying down in successive lines on the steep sloping side of the ravine.
Nearest its brow was Cobb
's Legion; next to them and almost in touching distance was Wright
's brigade; next below them was our own gallant regiment forming a line by itself; below us was Mahone
's brigade and other forces-near us were Gens. Magruder
The day was fast declining.
The deep shade of the majestic trees with which the valley was filled and the smoke of the enemy's guns brought on twilight dimness before the close of the day. As we lay in close rank, we marked the flash of exploding shells that kissed the brow of the ravine and lit it up with a wierd light, while the incessant firing of the massed batteries filled the air with constant roar and deafening crash.
At one time, as the sun approached the horizon, the air seemed to change; it gained a new elasticity—a clearer ring, so that from the sound of the enemy's artillery you would have thought that they were approaching nearer to us. Gen. Magruder
must have also thought so, for he gave direction that some men should ascend the brow of the hill and see if the enemy were advancing.
The enemy had not and were not advancing, but from an elevation in the open field they poured from their batteries a living fire and a constant flow of shells.