Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/152

This page needs to be proofread.

148 Southern Historical Society Papers.


Although in nearly all the engagements from Yorktown, around Richmond, Manassas and on the march into Maryland, it was at Burkitsville, September 13, 1862, "The Cobb Legion, Georgia Cav- alry," first asserted its individuality.

With nine skeleton companies, reduced by the casualties of months of hard fighting and marching to less than one-fourth we had started with, Young was ordered and led the sabre charge against McClel- lan's advance guard on that road, hurrying to the relief of " Har- per's Ferry," hurling back two of their crack regiments, the 8th Illinois and 3d Indiana cavalry, upon the infantry of the "Army of the Potomac." The picture can never be forgotten by those who witnessed it. We had to charge down a steep, rocky lane by twos between stone fences, from whose shelter their dismounted men were firing on us, over a narrow plateau, where we deployed into a com- pany front at the run. The Dougherty Hussars of Albany (who were cut to pieces), leading the Fulton Dragoons, of Atlanta, next, then the Richmond Hussars, his favorites always, and as we passed Colonel Young, he was lying, surrounded by dead and wounded men and horses, in front of a little country church, his dead horse pin- ning him to the ground. As we came by at full speed, his clarion voice rang "out clear and distinct above our yells, "Give 'em hell! boys, give 'em hell!" waving his plumed hat over that handsome face illumined by the fierce excitement of the charge. We crossed the ditch where lay First Lieutenant Marshall and the brave eighty- year-old Sergeant Barksdale, with his snowy beard almost to his waist, his sabre at the guard, the ball through his forehead, then up the steep hill to the stone fences on the crest, from whence the dis- mounted sharp-shooters vied with the mounted men in seeking the protection of their infantry line of battle. So P. M. B. Young's and the "Cobb's Legion's" reputation was established. So exciting was the charge, that General Hampton, who was always well up in front, snatched off his overcoat and throwing it to his son, with, "Take care of my overcoat, Preston," drew his sabre and dashed into the fray, followed by that brave boy, who pitched the overcoat into a fence corner, as he "had come to Maryland to fight Yankees, and not to carry his father's overcoat."


At Brandy Station the gth of June, 1863, did Colonel Young re-