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[262]

The scene was solemn and grandly inspiring. We felt that the very genius of battle was astir, and the martial spirit was thoroughly aroused. All waited with impatience for the order to charge—that order which whenever given either fires the heart or pales the face of the soldier. At last Magruder gives the order. It is first repeated by Gen. Cobb, and his brave Legion with a shout that for the moment drowned the roar of the artillery, arose and rushed forward. Then Wright repeats the order to his brigade, and as quick as thought his men spring forward. Then came from Gen. Armistead: ‘Ninth Virginia, charge!’ The men arose with a shout — a joyous shout that rose above the din of battle and with a passionate enthusiasm we rushed forward. Danger seemed to be banished from every bosom. Victory and glory absorbed every other feeling. We rushed on and forward to within a short distance of the crown of the hill on which the enemy was massed. On us was concentrated the shell and cannister of many cannon and the fire of compact masses of infantry. It was murderous and a useless waste of life to go further. Our regiment was halted and it took position in line with other troops which had preceeded us in the charge along and under the slope of the field, and here held its ground until the morning disclosed that the enemy had left. This gallant charge immortalized the Ninth Virginia and gave it a fame which it was its pride ever after to maintain in all the great battles in which it was engaged.

On this charge there came to me a new experience—a common experience on the battlefield—that of being wounded. When our regiment had taken its position just described by moving to the right, I found myself on its extreme left standing up on an open field in the face of the enemy a short distance off with a storm of shot and shell literally filling the air. I remember as I stood there I looked upon the enemy with great admiration. They were enveloped in the smoke of their guns and had a shadowy appearance, yet I could easily discern their cross belts, and I watched them go through the regular process of loading and firing. They seemed to be firing with as much steadiness and regularity as if on dress parade. It was a grand

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A. R. Wright (1)
Magruder (1)
Howell Cobb (1)
Lewis A. Armistead (1)
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