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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/22

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14 Southern Historical Society Papers.

erers were so close around them, or that they would soon be awak- ened by the boom of Confederate guns, and hear the joyful sound of Confederate horsemen dashing over their streets. I was with my section on the Berryville pike, and my orders from the General were that as soon as the pickets were driven in we should make a dash for the courthouse, where he said the enemy was quartered, and open on it promptly, as there was no time to lose.

My boys were enthusiastic when they heard the order and were eager for the command to move. The General sent Captain McNeil and his adjutant, Captain F. B. Berkeley, in with a flag of truce to demand an immediate and unconditional surrender. Colonel Simp- son, the officer in command, gallantly repliedĀ : " Come and take us if you can." We met them just before we got to the courthouse and they said: " Hurry up, Lieutenant, they have refused to sur- render. The building is loopholed and you will have to be quick or they will kill your men before you can unlimber. "

As we entered the town a small boy came out of a house and I called him to show me the way to the courthouse. His eyes sparkled with excitement and he said: " Take me up behind you, and I will show you." When we got near the courthouse he said: "As soon as you turn that corner you can see it." I said to the youngster: " Now, you get off, for they will fire on us as soon as they see us and you might be killed." He replied: "Oh! please let me go along with you; lam not afraid." I had to pull him off my horse and, as he struck the ground, he called after me: " I am going, anyhow." And he did, sure enough.

As we turned the corner I saw the Yankees standing at the big windows with their guns in their hands. The courtroom was in the second floor. Just as we got unlimbered I heard the Yankee officer give the command to fire, and as I gave the same command, they poured a volley into us, but, strange to say, did not kill a single man. We fired several times rapidly, and soon the courthouse was obscured by the smoke. I discovered that they had stopped firing and gave the command to my men to cease firing. When the smoke cleared away I saw that the enemy had gone. We were so close and the room was so high that our shots had gone under them and I found that we had only wounded one man, a field officer. Poor fellow! he was lying, horribly wounded, on the courthouse steps. He had on a beautiful sword, which he said had been presented to him, and which he asked to be allowed to retain. We fixed him as comfortably as we could and laid the sword by his side. The enemy