Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/237

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Desperate Picket Fight.

the pike, where we met thirty or more members of the First Maryland Confederate Regiment, brave men, who volunteered to help us.

When all were lined up ready for orders, we had, all told, 226 men, and here, from our elevated position, we could distinctly see two full regiments and a battalion of cavalry, composed of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Regiments Pennsylvania Cavalry (Cole's Battalion); four full regiments of infantry, Elliott's Brigade, and a battery of four guns. I write full, as it was early spring, and the regiment had recruited to the full during the winter, and reported that morning nearly 5,000 men.

The orders given, concise yet clear, revealed to the veterans the plan which every man approved, and knowing their commander, were thoroughly enthused for the work. Two-thirds of the men were dismounted and marched off one-third of the way down the hill, but on the bank on the upper side of the road, where they would stand full breast-high with the enemy's cavalry down on the road and be not more than fifteen yards from them in the heavy brush and woodland.

Here they were placed, with orders not to fire until the mounted men at the top had opened fire. The rest were formed across the road at the top. Then Captain John E. Meyers rode out in front, and asked for a few volunteers to go down into the bottom below. Seven of us rode out with Captain Meyers and Lieutenant Philpot down into the open bottom.

We were ordered to move our horses so as to appear nervous, and thereby induce the enemy to charge us and be drawn into the ambush.

The enemy allowed us to come within sixty yards without firing, which seemed rather strange, until Miss Spangler notified us of a trap to catch us, and to avoid it we must move back 100 yards or more. Seeing their game was up, the two first regiments of cavalry charged us. As we made the turn off the bridge to go up the hill the whole regiment in front fired into us, and I think wounded Lieutenant Philpot. He was clinging with both hands to the cantel of his saddle. A few seconds later his horse was shot and fell, the lieutenant falling headlong out over his horse. One-third of the way up Cliendentes went down. A few moments later we rounded into line and fired full