It was near sundown when General T. J. Wood, whose conduct all through the three day’s battle marked him as one of the ablest leaders of the national armies, rode along the lines of his superb division. Loud shouts of enthusiasm everywhere greeted his appearance, until at last his feelings, no longer controllable, broke out in a speech:
“‘Brave men!’ said he, ‘you were ordered to go forward and take the rifle-pits at the foot of these hills; you did so; and then, by the Eternal! without orders, you pushed forward and took all the enemy’s works on top! Here is a fine chance for having you all court-martialled! and I myself will appear as the principal witness against you, unless you promise me one thing.’
“‘What is it? what is it?’ laughingly inquired his men.
“‘It is,’ resumed the General, ‘that as you are now in possession of these works, you will continue against all opposition of Bragg, Johnston, Jeff. Davis and the devil, steadfastly to hold them!’
“At the conclusion of this speech, the enthusiasm of the soldiers knew no bounds. They left the ranks and crowded round their General. ‘We promise! we promise!’ they cried. And, amid such exclamations as, ‘Of course we’ll hold them!’ ‘Let any one try to take them from us!’ ‘Bully for you!’ ‘Three cheers for old Wood,’ the gallant officer rode off the field.”