102 Southern Historical Society Papers.
Behold Sharpsburg, now the historical, as the Federals put it, the "Antietam " battlefield. Up to that moment I do not believe we knew the battle was on in our immediate front. The field that we fought over was enclosed by a chestnut rail fence, and near its corner a gate, and near the gate a small but beautiful tree. The head of the regiment filed through the gate on the run, rapidly swung into position as best we could, forming on the regiment to our right and firing as we came into line. As we got close to them, one hundred to two hundred yards, I should say, we could see individual men, officers, I suppose, running backward and forward through the smoke.
IN LINE. GENERAL PAUL SEMMES ON A PILE OF ROCKS CHEERING
As we got into line and commenced firing with much precision, I heard the greatest cheering a little to my right, and recognized General Semmes (gallant old Paul Semmes, brother of Raphael, both born fighters) standing on a pile of rocks, swinging his hat and cheering " to beat the band." I rushed up to him. (t General, are they retreating?" says I. "No," says he. I rushed back, naming myself a fool, but that brave old man and two officers or orderlies witTi him kept making so much fuss, I was compelled to see what was the matter. Just here I must digress only briefly to say a word for General Paul Semmes, our gallant old brigadier. General M. D. Corse became our brigadier when General George E. Pickett's division was formed. Paul Semmes was the brother of Raphael Semmes, the Confederacy's great sea fighter. All sur- vivors of the ' 'Old Fifteenth' ' well remember General Paul Semmes, our first brigadier. He fell at Gettysburg, and, like Marmion
" With dying hand above his head, He shook the fragments of his blade,"
and died like the bravest of the brave for his beloved Southland.
BEAUTIFUL LOADING AND FIRING AND <( THE REBEL YELL."
My men were behaving beautifully, loading and firing as deliber- ately as if on a drill, but the "old rebel yell" they were putting up in their intense excitement.
Men never battled in a nobler cause in all the "tide of time."