and down in front of his troops, encouraging them in every way,’ for the shock of arms so soon to follow.
‘Remember, men, what you are fighting for. Remember your homes and your firesides, your mothers and wives and sisters and your sweethearts.’
When the signal guns were fired, he promptly called ‘attention,’ and instantly every man was on his feet.
Coming then right to the front of the Fifty-third Virginia, which was that day the battalion of direction, he said to Color-Sergeant Blackburn
, are you going to plant those colors on the enemy's works over yonder?’
‘Yes, General,’ was the firm reply, ‘if mortal man can do it, I will.’
Then the chief exhorted his men to follow their colors and to remember the brave words of Sergeant Blackburn
, and giving the command, ‘Battalion, forward; guide-centre, march,’ he placed himself in front of the Fifty-third Virginia, and, marching on foot, twenty yards ahead of his brigade, watched and directed our advance.
It was not long before the battle was raging in all its fury.
The brigades of Garnett
were in our front, and as we drew near the advance lines Kemper
rode back to Armistead
, who marched on foot, and said: ‘Armistead
, hurry up; I am going to charge those heights and carry them, and I want you to support me.’
‘I'll do it,’ he replied.
Then, glorying in the conduct of his men, he said to Kemper
: ‘Look at my line; it never looked better on dress parade.’
And now came the supreme test.
He quietly gave the order, ‘Colonel
And putting his black felt hat on the point of his sword, he led the advance, all the time in front of his line of battle, marching straight ahead through a hail of bullets, ‘the very embodiment of a heroic commander.’
The sword pierced through the hat, and more than once it slipped down to the hilt, and we saw above it the naked steel.
As often as the hat slipped down the old hero would hoist it again to the sword's point.
And so, borne aloft with matchless courage, it caught the eye, it nerved the hearts of his devoted men, a standard as glorious, as worthy to be sung, as the plume that floated at Ivry above the helmet of Navarre.
And now the battle raged with redoubled fury.
‘As we got ’