Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 33.djvu/133

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Gettysburg Picket? s Charge. 129

division moved in rear of Heth, but not in touch nor in line with Armistead. As the lines cleared the woods that skirted the brow of the ridge and passed through our batteries, with their flags proudly held aloft, waving in the air, with polished muskets and swords gleaming and flashing in the sunlight, they presented an inexpressibly grand and inspiring sight. It is said that when our troops were first seen there ran along the line of the Federals, as from men who had waited long in expectancy, the cry: There they come! There they come! The first impression made by the magnificent array of our lines as they moved forward, was to in- spire the involuntary admiration of the enemy. Then they real- ized that they came, terrible as an army with banners. Our men moved with quick step as calmly and orderly as if they were on parade. No sooner than our lines came in full view, the enemy's batteries in front, on the right and on the left, from Cemetery Hill to Round Top, opened on them with a concentrated, accurate and fearful fire of shell and solid shot. These plowed through or exploded in our ranks, making great havoc. Yet they made no disturbance. As to the orderly conduct and steady march of our men, they were as if they had not been. As the killed and wounded dropped out, our lines closed and dressed up, as if nothing had happened, and went on with steady march. I remember I saw a shell explode amidst the ranks of the left com- pany of the regiment on our right. Men fell like ten-pins in a ten-strike. Without a pause and without losing step, the sur- vivors dressed themselves to their line and our regiment to the diminished regiment, and all went on as serenely and as unfalter- ingly as before. My God ! it was magnificent this march of our men. What was the inspiration that gave them this stout cour- age this gallant bearing this fearlessness this steadiness this collective and individual heroism? It was home and country. It was the fervor of patriotism the high sense of individual duty. It was blood and pride of state the inherited quality of a brave and honorable ancestry.

On they go down* the sloping sides of the ridge across the valley over the double fences up the slope that rises to the heights crowned with stone walls and entrenchments, studded with batteries, and defended by multiple lines of protected infantry. The skirmish line is driven in. And now there bursts upon our ranks in front and on flank, like sheeted hail, a new storm of