Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/159

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by tin- j.vl n-^iment, the writer was on duty in the rifle pits as ser- ut in command, some 200 yards in front of our breastworks. \\V11 is remembered the Munition" produced by the first shell that tanned the cheeks of ye innocent braves who occupied those rifle-pits, and particularly the moving effect wrought upon a certain tongue-tied individual whose deportment now, as contrasted with previous pretensions, presented a striking consistency with the spirit of the ancient ballad:

" Naught to him possesses greater charms

Upon a Sunday or a holiday, Than a snug chat of war and war's alarms, While people fight in Turkey, far away,"

for, with a precipitate bound, the tongue-tied warrior made tracks for the breastworks, exclaiming, in answer to remonstrances and threats of court-martial: "Dam 'fi come 'ere to be hulled out this way when I can't see who's a shoolin' at me " using the term hulled instead of shelled as synonomous, though he hardly thought of it at the time. At a period a little later in the service such conduct would have been most severely punished, but it is not remembered if " Dam 'fi " got more than a sharp reprimand and orders for an immediate return to his post. If he ever afterwards flinched, we were not in- formed of it. He was killed at Gettysburg. The term of service at Yorktown was not at all irksome, nor was it unmarked by occasional diversion from the tread-mill routine of duty. About the quaint old town were many points of interest that awakened patriotic contem- plation. Soldiers would, as relaxation from duty permitted, repair to the spot, marked by a marble slab and a half mile from the town, where Cornwallis gave up his sword to Washington; and, standing on the consecrated ground, they would breathe the prayer that here may America's second revolution, as did the first, have an ending. But, alas! even then, as if in derision of prophecy and hope, there hung upon the horizon a cloud not yet comparatively bigger than a man's hand, but which was destined to increase in proportions and intensity, and ere long to burst and scatter destruction and death over all the land.

On the night of the 3d of May Yorktown was evacuated. Twelve miles out in the suburbs of the ancient town of Williamsburg the battle of the 5th of May occurred, rendered necessary by the too eager pursuit of the enemy. From a point on the road several miles beyond the town towards Richmond, Early's Brigade now com-