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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/189

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New Market Day at V. M. I. 181


Wharton's men seemed to have melted away under the terrific fire, leaving a gap in the line and producing some disorder, falling back they reformed behind the cadets. Captain Wise ordered the cadet battalion to advance to fill this gap. and a brilliant dash for- ward, gallantly seconded by the 62d Virginia, and the battery was captured. During the progress of the events just related, Imboden had discovered General Stahl with 2,500 cavalry massed in squad- ron-front close order. He asked permission of General Breckin- ridge to allow him to uncover his right flank for a short time, in an effort to turn Sigel's left, which he thought he could accomplish. Receiving the desired order, in less than fifteen minutes he had gained a position behind a low hill unobserved by the enemy; six guns were ordered at a gallop to the crest of the hill, unlimbered and fired as fast as possible into the massed cavalry. The effect was immediate and terrific. The Federal guns, captured by the cadets a little later, turned their fire in that direction to silence Imboden' s guns, an enfilading fire from which aided materially the cadets and the 62d in the capture of the Federal guns. Meanwhile the 34th Massachusetts, which was composed of seasoned veterans, and which had been immediately to the left of the cadets, falling back into a clump of cedars, was hotly engaged with Edgar's battalion, when Captain Wise moved the cadets on their flank, and they broke and ran. Breckinridge halted his line to replenish ammunition before advancing on Rude's hill, about two miles below New Market, where Siegel made a final stand, and from which point he was using his guns. But he did not await the Confederate coming, but hastily re- treated across the Shenandoah, burning the bridge after him, and the battle was won.


In an address on Breckinridge, General Echols said : " Earth has never witnessed a more impressive scene than pre- sented by those boys as they moved unflinchingly forward under fire. The most interesting recollections of that day centre around the part borne in the struggle by that battalion of boys, who so promptly responded to the call made on them for service, and who by their noble bearing contributed so greatly to the victory that was won. With a spirit of patriotism, bright and strong with youthful