Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/232

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228 Sotitl't rn llislnrn-iil Sm-iety Papers.

railroad, I would peep up to see how near the Federals were. Cap- tain Jones, on the other side of the railroad, was doing the same thing. Closer and closer would the Federals come, and I would think to myself, "Will he never say fire?" At length they came within ten or fifteen yards, as Mr. Alley says, and the Major straight- ened himself, " Rear rank, ready! aim, fire!" Then, " Front rank, ready! aim, fire!" I extended the orders to Captain Jones, and 250 Enfield rifles of each rank spoke at each command with one voice. The air was thick in front of us with the smoke; but when we ceased firing, and the air cleared, we could see the retreating and scattered Federals, and the dead they had left in our front.

In one of these charges, while the shells were flying, I peeped up to see the approaching Federals. Just in front of me there suddenly appeared something like a black buzzing bee. It was a shell. I knew what it was, and down I ducked behind the breastwork. The shell burst in the breastwork, right in front of me, and covered me with dirt all to my protruding legs. I was pulled out, and my head bandaged where a piece of the shell had struck me. It was my duty to report th'e casualties. I did not report myself. " How is this?" asked Major Rion. I told it was slight, and I did not want my wife to be unnecessarily alarmed. "Wounds, sir, are honorable to a soldier and his command. A wound is any blood letting. Don't let this occur again." I told him " I hoped it would not."

But all things must come to an end. General Hoke had been pre- paring an interior line for us, while we were fighting the forts. South of Hare's Race Course was the old Colonial Canal, leading from near Colquitt's salient down to the Appomattox, and it made splendid breastworks. On the morning of the iQth the interior line was ready. At daylight Major Rion directed me to make a detail of skirmishers for him. When I reported with the detail he directed me to take the rest of the battalion back to the canal and report to General Hagood. This I did, looking back at Major Rion to see what he was going to do with his skirmishers. They were all lying flat and within ten or fifteen yards of the breastworks. The Fed- erals saw us withdraw, and came on to the forts with a great rejoic- ing. The Major let them crowd the breastworks, and then poured in a volley from his skirmishers. Both sides retreated.

I had reported to General Hagood in the road, and he directed me to take his horse and recall Major Rion. The campaign had made him bony, yet I mounted, but did not get twenty yards before he fell with me. The shells were flying, and they thought I was