In front of the left wing of our regiment, a little over a hundred yards from us, was a battery of artillery, which played on us with shell, grape, canister, and shrapnel.
After we had fought for a considerable time I saw Imboden
's men giving way, and also saw that the cadet boys were confused and giving way. I had been noticing the cadet boys (and boys they were at that time) on the right of our regiment, right out of school, and we were old veterans.
I was curious to see how they would stand fire, and I saw them stand and fight like regulars.
I never saw soldiers fight better than they did. They stood up and took it in military style, while we, who had been there three years in many battles and knew the danger of Yankee lead, lay as flat on the ground as we could get.
When the cadets gave way, Lieutenant-Colonel Wolfe
, commanding our regiment, standing behind me, said: ‘Captain
, what had we better do?’
I answered, ‘You are the colonel,’ meaning that he was my superior and it was his place to command the regiment.
I did not think our regiment would run, as I had never seen it driven off a field in three years. I didn't see Colonel Wolfe
any more in the battle; suppose he went to the head of the regiment.
My company was doing fine work.
It was made up of boys out of the mountains of Wise county, Va.
—all good shots and not excitable.
I could see the Yankees
in front of us falling right and left.
I said to the boys: ‘Draw low and fire at their knees; don't overshoot; keep steady; we will whip them.’
I seemed to feel that we would whip them.