Road, and only then a few miles distant.
The camp was immediately in commotion, and by the orders of our commandant, Colonel Fletcher H. Archer
, the men quickly fell into their places.
As they were forming, Captain Jas. E. Wolfe
handed me a list of the members of my company who were absent, and directed me to proceed with all possible expedition into the town and summons them to report at once to the front.
As I left the camp on my mission there was an ominous note in the beating of the long roll sounding in my ears, which told me that earnest work was on hand.
The crisis had arrived, and our mettle was to be put to the crucial test.
Proceeding into the town by the shortest route known through the fields and woods, I passed up the Delectable Heights
, where I met Mr. Charles F. Collier
, Mr. Robert A. Martin
and Mr. James Boisseau
returning to the camp, to whom I announced the news.
I passed on down Sycamore Street. The news had reached the city ahead of me; the bells had just ceased ringing the tocsin of alarm and the city was being thoroughly aroused, but as we had often been deceived by false reports, some were disposed to treat the matter lightly, and while some believed and hastened to put their armor on, others believed not. It was then about eleven o'clock.
Among the first I summoned was Mr. Charles Campbell
, well known as the author of the History of Virginia
He was at that time principal of the Anderson Seminary
, on Washington Street. Mr. Campbell
was an ardent patriot, and although exempt by reason of age and profession from military duty, at the first news of Butler
's landing he shouldered his musket with the alacrity of youth and fell into ranks with those who were rushing to the defence of the city.
For several weeks he and his youthful assistant, Mr. Branch T. Archer
(late of Richmond
), had done faithful duty on the lines.
In common with many others, they had returned to their professional duties, ready to be called upon at a moment's notice.
School was in session, and as I approached the house, I heard the sound of busy voices within, and when the next moment I stood at the open door, gun in hand, reciting the news, every boy and girl was hushed into silence as they craned their necks