A Union soldier, who was in the battle of Piketon, Kentucky, gives the following graphic description of his sensations during the fight:
“And now for my share in the battle. I was riding along, somewhat carelessly, when crack! crack! crack! went their rifles, and down fell our men. Crack! crack! crack! they came. Off I jumped from my horse, when along came the Major, and gave me his horse to hold; but I soon hitched them both to a tree down by the river, and sprung again up the bank, when whiz! went a bullet past my face, about three inches from it, and made me draw back in a hurry, I can assure you. I looked up the hill, but could see no one for the smoke, which was plenty; so I levelled in the direction of the enemy and fired—loaded again and fired. I got my rifle in readiness again! Ah! that ball was pretty close. Here comes another–buzz, buzz–(you can hear their wiz for fully a hundred yards as they come)–get out of the way. But where is it to go to? Whew! that was close. But, great God! it has gone through a man’s shoulder within a few yards of me! He falls! some of his comrades pick him up.
“Now a horseman comes past in a hurry. He is right opposite me–when wiz, crack! a ball strikes his horse in the fore-shoulder. Off tumbles the man; down falls the horse, stiffened out and dead. If the bullet had gone through the animal, it would doubtless have struck me.
“Here come a dozen more. How they whiz as they go past! ‘Load and fire!’ ‘Load and fire!; is the order00and load and fire it is. My notice was especially drawn to a very fine-looking man, who stood close to me, and he truly acted like a hero–loading and firing just as if he was on parade, when whiz! whiz! comes a bullet. My God, how close! It almost stunned me. When I looked towards my soldier, I saw his comrades lifting him up. He was shot through the breast, and died in less than half an hour. O the horrors of war! Vengeance on the heads of those who initiate it.
“I directed my attention up the hill, a little puff of smoke was dying away. ‘Boys,’ says I to the squad of his fellows, ‘you see that smoke; aim for it; a rebel’s in its rear.’ I raised my Enfield, and glanced through its sights, when I for a moment caught sight of a man through the bushes and smoke there. Crack went our guns, and all was over.
“We crossed to the place afterwards, and found musket-balls, and one Enfield rifle-ball–mine, as mine was the only rifle-ball fired. They all went through him, either of which would have killed him–mine through his breast. Thank God, I have done my duty for the poor fellow who fell beside me.
Originally posted 2008-11-21 02:49:55.