Next moment I heard an outcry-“There, Brookin is killed!” --and saw one of the men writhing on the ground.
I went tc him. He seemed to be partially paralyzed below the waist, but said he was shot through the neck.
I saw no blood anywhere.
He had on his roll of blankets and, sure enough, a ball had gone through them and also through his jacket and flannel shirt; but there it was, sticking in the back of his neck, having barely broken the skin.
I took it out and said: “0, you are not a dead man by a good deal.
Here,” --handing the ball to him,--“take that home and give it to your sweetheart.
It'll fix you all right.”
Brookin caught at the ball and held it tightly clasped in his hand, smiling faintly, and the men about him laughed.
Just then I heard a shell whizzing over us, coming from across the creek, and we were hurried into line facing in that direction, that is, to the rear
. I inferred, of course, that we were surrounded, but could not tell how strong the force was upon which we were turning our backs.
I remember, in all the discomfort and wretchedness of the retreat, we had been no little amused by the Naval Battalion, under that old hero, Admiral Tucker
The soldiers called them the “Aye, Ayes,” because they responded “aye, aye” to every order, sometimes repeating the order itself, and adding, “Aye, aye, it is, sir!”
As this battalion, which followed immediately after ours, was getting into position, and seamen's and landsmen's jargon and movements were getting a good deal mixed in the orders and evolutions,--all being harmonized, however, and licked into shape by the “aye, aye,” --a young officer of the division staff rode up, saluted Admiral Tucker
, and said: “Admiral
, I may possibly be of assistance to you in getting your command into line.”
replied: “Young man, I understand how to talk to my people ;” and thereupon followed “a grand moral combination” of “right flank” and “left flank,” “starboard” and “larboard,” “aye, aye” and “aye, aye” --until the battalion gradually settled down into place.
By this time a large Federal force had deployed into line on the other slope beyond the creek, which we had left not long since; two or three lines of battle, and a heavy