Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/121

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Personal Experiences of Malvern Hill. 117

came from General Armistead: ' 'Ninth Virginia, charge!" The men arose with a shout a joyous shout that rose above the din of battle and with a passionate enthusiasm we rushed forward. Dan- ger seemed to be banished from every bosom. Victory and glory absorbed every other feeling. We rushed on and forward to within a short distance of the crown of the hill on which the enemy was massed. On us was concentrated the shell and cannister of many cannon and the fire of compact masses of infantry. It was murderous and a useless waste of life to go further. Our regi- ment was halted and it took position in line with other troops which had preceded us in the charge along and under the slope of the field, and here held its ground until the morning disclosed that the enemy had left. This gallant charge immortalized the Ninth Virginia and gave it a fame which it was its pride ever after to maintain in all the great battles in which it was engaged.

On this charge there came to me a new experience a common experience on the battlefield that of being wounded. When our regiment had taken its position just described by moving to the right, I found myself on its extreme left standing up on an open field in the face of the enemy a short distance off with a storm of shot and .shell literally filling the air. I remember as I stood there I looked upon the enemy with great admiration. They were enveloped in the smoke of their guns and had a shadowy appearance, yet I could easily discern their cross belts, and I watched them go through the regular process of loading and firing. They seemed to be firing with as much steadiness and regularity as if on dress parade. It was a grand sight and I was impressed with their courage and discipline. I had not then learned the wisdom and duty of a soldier to seek all allowable protection from danger. I had a foolish pride to be and to appear fearless as if it were a shame to seem to do anything to avoid danger. I re- member that immediately on my right a soldier had sheltered him- self behind a low stump. While silently approving his conduct in this respect yet apprehending he might only shelter himself, I said to him, "Do not fail to fire on the enemy." I had scarcely uttered these words when I heard and felt that sounding thud of the minie ball which became so familiar to our soldiers. My left arm fell to my side and the blood streamed from my throat. I stag- gered and would have fallen had not two members of the Old Dominion Guard stepped quickly up and caught me and bore me