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The Brave Three Hundred

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Few American over dreanied thatamong the dark and glooroy pines of (Jhancellorville was enacted the tragedy worthier to live in epie verse than tlie famous charge of the light brigade at Balaklava. Only onoe in ail the histories of the war have I seen it mentioned, and to night my thoughts brood over the nameless graves of thoseunsung héroes till my soul oriesout in protes against favoritism of historie fame, and fo tbefie humble héroes I must crave the mea gre justice of a passing mentioo n the ear of their countrymen It was the night Srom-wall Jaeksnn re reived his death wound. lie had oomplete ly surprised Howard's eleventh corps ani was driving theui in the wildest confusión along toward the centre of our line. In tli fight they passed through a wood, just be yond which, in a clearing lay four of Sickles batteries, and a flying artillery battm-y anc the cighth Pcnnsylvania cavalry of iïenrrü rica.santon's command. The batteries were nol in positiun, butwere " jarked," await ing orders. Through thcir lincs daphed tlic panic-stricken fugitives. hotly pnnraed bj Jackson's immense corps of over twent' thousand men. lnfantry, artillery, ambu lances packmulep, negroes and stragglers the worst scared men I ever looked upon came tearing pastüke mad. Batteries ha( no commanders, but each captain excitediy acted for himself. " Battery- left wheel I' ire to the rear. In battery : Caissons pass your pieces, trot, march !" and a frighten ed bugler caughtonly the word " trot," and sounded t and no more. It rang out clear above the worse than bable, many took it for a general stampede signal, and across the field, and down a hill. and over a stone wall nfiir its foot, in that famous ravine, dashed several cassions and a few guns. '' Fix prolong to fire retiring," "witli canister - load." On came the fugitivos ; nearor and nearer through the sounding woods eame that confedérate yell and the rush of Stonewall Jackson's victorious legions. Sickles was almost a roile away, pushing through the woods with his splendid corps. Not a federal muaket was witbin sight except what ;he 1 1 th corps men bore to the rear as rapidy as legs would carry them. We must make our fight against those tremendous odds alone- five batteries of us, and 300 cavalry- not over 600 men all told. Un swept 20,000 confedérate, and we were not yet ready to fight. Our line was confusión worse confounded ; f uns gtood pointing whithersoever ; the excited eannooeers listed, and at the flrst fire onehalf of us would blow the other into eternity and Stonewall would have Hooker's headquarters and doublé up the whole army - a obeering prospect that ! The sun had set behind the woods, and through them yet aster in the thickening gloom ruslied Jackson's troops. Suddenjy out in front of our puns rodp he familiar form of General Plpusnntoo. Above the din aróse bis shrill voiee : "Align hose pieces ! " It was a work of many minutes, and Stonewall was now just upon is. Time ! oh, for ten minutes time I Jow to get it ! There sat Major Keenan, with bis tbree hundred horsemen. Here was a sacrih'ee, which, if every man was a patriot like Arnotd Winkelried, would rive us those precious minutes. General Jleasanton said quickly to Keenan, Major, ou must charge into those woods with rour men and hold the enemy in check until I get those guns into position. You nustdo it atallcost." Koenan says : " It s ust the same as saying 'you must be cilled,' hut with a smile he said 'General, Iwilldoit.' " Oh, what a sight was that ! Would to Jod sorae American Tennyson might see hat sight and lift those bumble names into mmortality ! Three hundred trooners with deep set spurs and flashing sabers ushed at the throats of twenty thousand armed men. Nobody had blundered, but omebody must die for the army- that was So mad a blow did they strike in Jackon's vory teeth that he stopped his onward ush to reform his lines.. Surely there must be more coming - no single regiment eould hf rharcirur hin arm v single banded - and when no other bold riders carne, tnen t was that brave Keenan died at the head of his regiment, and the whole platoon died with their feet in their stirrups. But they did not die in vam. Ten minutes purchased at the fearful pricc to us was costlier still to Jackson. When he carne on again, flesh and blood could not tand up before our terrific eanister flre. iis veterans quailed before tho sirocco of death. He rode up to rectify his lines, was mistaken in the gathering darkness for one of our cavalrymen, and was hot by his own men. Our "three times tbree" had hardly ceased to ring when Sickles, whn had rushed ahead of his veterans burrying to our Mipport, rode up among our guns and call¦d out : " You have done nobly, boys ! 3tand firm, and in ten minutes 111 have en thousand men hero who don't know anything but fight." He was as good as lis word, and quickly the old third corps led in behind the guns, and Jacksnn'.s 'aroous corps had received its first defeat. Three hundred men made Thermopylte ive through centuries ; six hundred men at ialaklava rode tofame in sight of the whole world ; but thecynicism of America has left o slumber in unknown graves, beueath the )ine groves of Chancellorville, a band of men whose deed was as great and worthy of a name as those which poets have sune hrough all ages.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News