It was about four o'clock in the afternoon, and we had been fighting nearly three hours without any advantage to either side. Our loss was pretty heavy in killed and wounded. We had reason to suppose the enemy's loss equaled ours. As we moved back they charged upon us in turn. In trying to move across a miry place, together with several of my immediate comrades, we were held fast in the mud, and before we could extricate ourselves, in our partially exhausted condition, the “Rebs” were upon us, giving us no choice but to surrender or be shot down.
Of course we surrendered, and were ordered back to the rear of their line of battle, about two hundred yards, where we were considered safe enough without having any special guard placed over us. We busied ourselves for two hours in ministering to the wants of our wounded, who lay scattered about in every direction and every possible condition of suffering, bringing them water, and binding up their wounds to the best of our ability.
It was nearly five o'clock in the afternoon when I saw those two cannon, before spoken of as posted on the turnpike, do fearful execution. The turnpike was straight as an arrow, and crowded,—massed full of Confederate reinforcements coming to the front,—and these two pieces of artillery opened upon them, each firing only a single shot; but the shot skipped down and along the road, opening two distinct gaps through the rebel ranks for full three hundred yards. I had no means of knowing how many those shots disabled, but it must have been hundreds. In three seconds there was not a man left in the road, as far as the eye could reach, who was able to help himself out.
About dark all the scattering prisoners were collected by our captors and marched to General Ewell's headquarters, a little to the rear of his corps. About nine hundred of us were collected in this way, and we found that the most of us had been captured by the celebrated "Stonewall Brigade."
Here I saw General R. E. Lee for the first and only time in my life. He sat upon his horse carelessly, with one knee resting upon the pommel of the saddle, and leisurely smoking a cigar. He appeared a middle-sized man, with iron-gray hair and full gray beard, not very closely cut; as fine-looking a specimen of a man and soldier as I ever saw. He remarked, as we filed past him, "Am sorry to see you in this fix, boys, but you must make the best of it." His tone was kind, and spoken as though he really sympathized with us, as I have no doubt he did.
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