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   Chapter 20 FRONT ROYAL

The Long Roll By Mary Johnston Characters: 31293

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


In the hot, bright morning, Cleave, commanding four companies of the 65th thrown out as skirmishers, entered the band of forest lying between the Blue Ridge and Front Royal. The day was hot, the odour of the pines strong and heady; high in heaven, in a still and intense blue, the buzzards were slowly sailing. A long, thin line of picked men, keen, watchful, the reserve a hundred yards or two behind, the skirmishers moved forward over a rough cart track and over the opposing banks. Each man stepped lightly as a cat, each held his gun in the fashion most convenient to himself, each meant to do good hunting. Ahead was a thicker belt of trees, and beyond that a gleam of sky, a promise of a clearing. Suddenly, out of this blue space, rose the neigh of a horse.

The skirmishers halted beneath the trees. The men waited, bent forward, holding breath, recognizing the pause on the rim of action, the moment before the moment. The clearing appeared to be several hundred yards away. Back from it, upon the idle air, floated loud and careless talking, then laughter. Allan Gold came out of the thicker wood, moved, a tawny shadow, across the moss and reported to Cleave. "Two companies, sir-infantry-scattered along a little branch. Arms stacked."

The line entered the wood, the laughter and talking before it growing louder. Each grey marksman twitched his cartridge box in place, glanced at his musket, glanced toward his immediate officer. Across the intervals ran an indefinable spark, a bracing, a tension. Some of the men moistened their lips, one or two uttered a little sigh, the hearts of all beat faster. The step had quickened. The trees grew more thinly, came down to a mere bordering fringe of sumach. Cleave motioned to the bugler; the latter raised the bugle to his lips. Forward!-Commence-Firing! The two companies in blue, marched down that morning superfluously to picket a region where was no danger, received that blast and had their moment of stupour. Laughter died suddenly. A clock might have ticked twice while they sat or stood as though that were all there was to do. The woods blazed, a long crackle of musketry broke the spell. A blue soldier pitched forward, lay with his head in the water. Another, seated in the shade, his back to a sugar maple, never more of his own motion left that resting place; a third, undressing for a bath, ran when the others ran, but haltingly, a red mark upon his naked thigh. All ran now, ran with cries and oaths toward the stacked rifles. Ere they could snatch the guns, drop upon their knees, aim at the shaken sumach bushes and fire, came a second blaze and rattle and a leaden hail.

Out of the wood burst the long skirmish line. It yelled; it gave the "rebel yell." It rushed on, firing as it came. It leaped the stream, it swallowed up the verdant mead, it came on, each of its units yelling death, to envelop the luckless two companies. One of these was very near at hand, the other, for the moment more fortunate, a little way down the stream, near the Front Royal road. Cleave reached, a grey brand, the foremost of the two. "Surrender!"

The blue captain's sword lay with other paraphernalia on the grass beneath the trees, but he signified assent to the inevitable. The reserve, hurrying down from the wood, took the captured in charge. The attack swept on, tearing across the meadow to the Front Royal road, where the second company had made a moment's stand, as brave as futile. It fired two rounds, then broke and tore down the dusty road or through the bordering fields toward Front Royal. Cleave and his skirmishers gained. They were mountain men, long of limb; they went like Greek runners, and they tossed before them round messengers of death. The greater number of blue soldiers, exhausted, slackened in their pace, halted, threw down their arms. Presently, trailing their feet, they returned to the streamlet and their companions in misfortune.

The grey swept on, near now to Front Royal; before them a few blue fugitives, centre of a swiftly moving cloud of dust, a cloud into which the Thunder Run men fired at short intervals. Behind them they heard the tramp of the army. The Louisiana Brigade, leading, was coming at a double-quick. On a parallel road to the left a dust cloud and dull thunder proclaimed a battery, making for the front. Out of the wood which the skirmishers had left came like a whirlwind the 65th Virginia, Jackson riding with Flournoy at the head.

Little Sorrel swerved toward the skirmishers and paused a moment abreast of Cleave. Jackson spoke from the saddle. "How many?"

"Two companies, sir. Several killed, the rest prisoners, save six or eight who will reach the town."

"Good! Press on. If they open with artillery, get under cover until our guns are placed." He jerked his hand into the air and rode on, galloping stiffly, his feet stuck out from the nag's sides. The cavalry disappeared to the right in a storm of yellow dust.

The village of Front Royal that had been dozing all the summer forenoon, woke with a vengeance. Kenly's camp lay a mile or two west, but in the town was quartered a company or so. Soldiers off duty were lounging on the shady side of the village street, missing the larger delights of Strasburg, wondering if Richmond had fallen and where was Stonewall Jackson, when the fracas, a mile away, broke upon their ears. Secure indolence woke with a start. Front Royal buzzed like an overturned hive. In the camp beyond the town bugles blared and the long roll was furiously beaten. The lounging soldiers jerked up their muskets; others poured out of houses where they had been billeted. All put their legs to good use, down the road, back to the camp! Out, too, came the village people, though not to flee the village. In an instant men and women were in street or porch or yard, laughing, crying, hurrahing, clapping hands, waving anything that might serve as a welcoming banner. "Stonewall Jackson! It's Jackson! Stonewall Jackson! Bless the Lord, O my soul!-Can't you all stop and tell a body?-No; you can't, of course. Go along, and God bless you!-Their camp's this side the North Fork-about a thousand of them.-Guns? Yes, they've got two guns. Cavalry? No, no cavalry.-Don't let them get away! If they fall back they'll try to burn the bridges. Don't let them do that. The North Fork's awful rough and swollen. It'll be hard to get across.-Yes, the railroad bridge and the wagon bridge. I can't keep up with you any longer. I ain't as young as I once was. You're welcome, sir."

Cleave and his men came out of the village street at a run. Before them stretched level fields, gold with sunshine and with blossoming mustard, crossed and cumbered with numerous rail fences. Beyond these, from behind rolling ground lightly wooded, rang a great noise of preparation, drums, trumpets, confused voices. As the skirmishers poured into the open and again deployed, a cannon planted on a knoll ahead spoke with vehemence. The shell that it sent struck the road just in front of the grey, exploded, frightfully tore a man's arm and covered all with a dun mantle of dust. Another followed, digging up the earth in the field, uprooting and ruining clover and mustard. A third burst overhead. A stone wall, overtopped by rusty cedars, ran at right angles with the road. To this cover Cleave brought the men, and they lay behind it panting, welcoming the moment's rest and shelter, waiting for the battery straining across the fields. The Louisianians, led by Taylor, were pouring through the village-Ewell was behind-Jackson and the cavalry had quite disappeared.

Lying in the shadow of the wall, waiting for the order forward, Cleave suddenly saw again and plainly what at the moment he had seen without noting-Stafford's face, very handsome beneath soft hat and plume, riding with the 6th. It came now as though between eyelid and ball. The eyes, weary and tragic, had rested upon him with intentness as he stood and spoke with Jackson. Maury Stafford-Maury Stafford! Cleave's hand struck the sun-warmed stone impatiently. He was not fond of deep unhappiness-no, not even in the face of his foe! Why was it necessary that the man should have felt thus, have thought thus, acted thus? The fact that he himself could not contemplate without hot anger that other fact of Stafford's thought still dwelling, dwelling upon Judith had made him fight with determination any thought of the man at all. He could not hurt Judith, thank God! nor make between them more misunderstanding and mischief! Then let him go-let him go! with his beauty and his fatal look, like a figure out of an old, master canvas!-Cleave wrenched his thought to matters more near at hand.

The battery first seen and heard was now up. It took position on a rise of ground and began firing, but the guns were but smoothbore six-pounders and the ammunition was ghastly bad. The shells exploded well before they reached the enemy's lines. The opposing blue battery-Atwell's-strongly posted and throwing canister from ten-pounder Parrotts-might have laughed had there not been-had there not been more and more and yet more of grey infantry! Taylor with his Louisianians, the First Maryland, Ewell, Winder with the Stonewall, grey, grey, with gleaming steel, with glints of red, pouring from the woods, through the fields-the Pennsylvanians, working the battery, did not laugh; they were pale, perhaps, beneath the powder grime. But pale or sanguine they bravely served their guns and threw their canister, well directed, against the medi?val engines on the opposite knoll.

Shouting an order, there now galloped to these Jackson's Chief of Artillery, Colonel Crutchfield. The outclassed smoothbores limbered up and drew sulkily away; Courtenay's Battery, including a rifled gun, arrived in dust and thunder to take their place. Behind came Brockenborough. The reeking battery horses bent to it; the drivers yelled. The rumbling wheels, the leaping harness, the dust that all raised, made a cortège and a din as of Dis himself. The wheel stopped, the men leaped to the ground, the guns were planted, the limbers dropped, the horses loosed and taken below the hill. A loud cannonade began.

Behind the screen of smoke, in the level fields, four Louisiana regiments formed in line of battle. A fifth moved to the left, its purpose to flank the Federal battery. As for the cavalry, it appeared to have sunk into the earth-and yet, even with the thought, out of the blue distance toward McCoy's Ford, on the South Fork arose a tremendous racket! A railway station, Buckton-was there, and a telegraph line, and two companies of Pennsylvania infantry, and two locomotives with steam up. At the moment there were also Ashby and the 7th Virginia, bent upon burning the railroad bridge, cutting the telegraph, staying the locomotives, and capturing the Pennsylvanians. The latter tried to escape by the locomotives; tried twice and failed twice. The forming infantry before Front Royal knew by the rumpus that Ashby was over there, below the Massanuttons. There ran a rumour, too, that the 2d Virginia cavalry under Munford was somewhere to the northeast, blocking the road to Manassas Gap, closing the steel trap on that quarter. The 6th with Jackson remained sunken.

In the hot sunshine blared the Louisianian trumpets. An aide, stretched like an Indian along the neck of his galloping horse, came to the skirmishers. "All right, Cleave! Go ahead! The Louisianians are pawing the ground!-Shade of Alexander Hamilton, listen to that!"

"That" was the "Marseillaise," grandly played. Tramp, tramp! the Louisianians came on to its strains. The skirmish line left the sunny stone fence where slender ferns filled the chinks, and lizards ran like frightened flames, and brown ants, anxious travellers, sought a way home. Cleave, quitting the shadow of a young locust tree, touched with his foot a wren's nest, shaken from the bough above. The eggs lay in it, unbroken. He stooped swiftly, caught it up and set it on the bough again, then ran on, he and all his men, under a storm of shot and shell.

Kenly, a gallant soldier, caught, through no fault of his, in a powerful trap, man?uvred ably. His guns were well served, and while they stayed for a moment the Confederate advance, he made dispositions for a determined stand. The longer delay here, the greater chance at Strasburg! A courier dispatched in hot haste to warn the general there encountered and hurried forward a detachment of the 7th New York Cavalry as well as a small troop of picked men, led by a sometime aide of General Banks. These, crossing the wagon bridge over the Shenandoah and coming down the road at a double, reported to Kenly and were received by the anxious troops with cheering. The ground hereabouts was rolling, green eminences at all points breaking the view. Kenly used the cavalry skilfully, making them appear now here, now there between the hills, to the end that to the attackers they might appear a regiment. His guns thundered, and his few companies of infantry fired with steadiness, greeting with hurrahs every fall of a grey skirmisher.

But the skirmishers pressed on, and behind them came the chanters of the "Marseillaise." Moreover a gasping courier brought news to Kenly. "A great force of cavalry, sir-Ashby, I reckon, or the devil himself-on the right! If they get to the river first-" There was small need of further saying. If Ashby or the devil got to the river first, then indeed was the trap closed on the thousand men!

Face to the Rear! March! ordered Kenly. Atwell's Battery limbered up in hot haste, turned, and dashed in thunder up the road. It must cross the bridge, seize some height, from there defend the crossing. Where the battery had been the cavalry now formed the screen, thin enough and ragged, yet menacing the grey infantry.

The grey skirmishers rallied, fixed bayonets and advanced, the Louisianians close behind. The blue horsemen attempted a charge, an action more bold than wise, they were so small a force. The men in grey sprang at the bridles of the foremost, wrapped long mountain arms about the riders. Despite sabre, despite pistol, several were dragged down, horse and man made captive. The most got back to safer ground. Kenly's bugles rang out again, palpably alarmed, shrilly insistent. Horse and foot must get across the Shenandoah or there would be the devil to pay! Beside the imperious trumpet came something else, an acrid smell and smoke, then a great flame and crackle. Torch had been put to the camp; all the Federal tents and forage and stores were burning. To the rear! To the rear!

In the middle of the road, out of one of the scuffling groups, a whirling pillar of dust and clamour, sabre strokes, rifle and pistol cracks, oaths, cries, plunging of a maddened horse, Cleave saw a flushed face lift itself from the ground, a powerful shoulder thrust away the surging grey shapes, a sabre flash in the sun, a hand from which blood was streaming catch at the horse's mane. The owner of the hand swung himself again into the saddle from which Dave Maydew had plucked him. Remounted, he made a downward thrust with his sabre. Dave, keeping warily out of reach of the horse's lashing heels, struck up the arm with his bayonet. The sabre clattered to the ground; with an oath the man-an officer-drew a revolver. The ball whizzed past Cleave's temple; a second might have found his heart but that Allan Gold, entering somehow the cleared circle made by the furious horse, hung upon the arm sleeved in fine blue cloth, and wrenched the Colt's from the gauntleted hand. Cleav

e, at the bridle, laughed and took his hands away. "Christmas Carols again!" he said.

God save you, merry gentlemen!

Let nothing you dismay-

"Give him way, men! He's a friend of mine."

Marchmont's horse bounded. "Lieutenant McNeill," said the rider. "I profess that in all this dust and smoke I did not at first recognize you. I am your obedient servant. If my foe, sir, then I dub you my dearest foe! To our next meeting!"

He backed the furious horse, wheeled and was gone like a bolt from a catapult toward his broken and retiring troop. As he rode he turned in his saddle, raised his cap, and sang,-

"As the Yankees were a-marching,

They heard the rebel yell-"

Close at the heels of Kenly's whole command poured, resistlessly, the skirmish line, the Louisiana troops, the First Maryland. A light wind blew before them the dun and rolling smoke from the burning camp. For all their haste the men found tongue as they passed that dismal pyre. They sniffed the air. "Coffee burning!-good Lord, ain't it a sin?-Look at those boxes-shoes as I am a Christian man!-And all the wall tents-like 'Laddin's palaces! Geewhilikins! what was that? That was oil. There might be gunpowder somewhere! Captain, honey, don't you want us to treble-quick it?" They passed the fire and waste and ruin, rounded a curve, and came upon the long downward slope to the river. "Oh, here we are! Thar they are! Thar's the river. Thar's the Shenandoah! Thar's the covered bridge! They're on it-they're halfway over! Their guns are over!-We ain't ever going to let them all get across?-Ain't we going down the hill at them?-Yes. Forward!-Yaaaih!-Yaaih!-Yaaaaaaaihh!-Yaaaaaih!-Thar's the cavalry! Thar's Old Jack!"

Jackson and the 6th Virginia came at a gallop out of the woods, down the eastern bank of the stream. The skirmishers, First Maryland,-Louisiana,-poured down the slope, firing on Kenly as they ran. A number of his men dropped, but he was halfway across and he pressed on, the New York cavalry and Marchmont's small troop acting as rear guard. The battery was already over. The western bank rose steep and high, commanding the eastern. Up this strained the guns, were planted, and opened with canister upon the swarming grey upon the other shore. Company by company Kenly's infantry got across-got across, and once upon the rising ground faced about and opened a determined fire under cover of which his cavalry entered the bridge. The last trooper over, his pioneers brought brush and hay, thrust it into the mouth of the bridge and set all on fire.

Jackson was up just in time to witness the burst of flames. He turned to the nearest regiment-the 8th Louisiana, Acadians from the Attakapas. There was in him no longer any slow stiffness of action; his body moved as though every joint were oiled. He looked a different creature. He pointed to the railroad bridge just above the wagon bridge. "Cross at once on the ties." The colonel looked, nodded, waved his sword and explained to his Acadians. "Mes enfans! Nous allons traverser le pont là-bas. En avant!" In column of twos he led his men out on the ties of the trestle bridge. Below, dark, rapid, cold, rushed the swollen Shenandoah. Musketry and artillery, Kenly opened upon them. Many a poor fellow, who until this war had never seen a railroad bridge, threw up his arms, stumbled, slipped between the ties, went down into the flood and disappeared.

Stonewall Jackson continued his orders. "Skirmishers forward! Clear those combustibles out of the bridge. Cross, Wheat's Battalion! First Maryland, follow!" He looked from beneath the forage cap at the steep opposite shore, from the narrow level at the water's edge to the ridge top held by the Federal guns. Rank by rank on this staircase, showed Kenly's troops, stubbornly firing, trying to break the trap. "Artillery's the need. We must take more of their guns."

It was hot work, as the men of the 65th and Wheat's Tigers speedily found, crossing the wagon bridge over the Shenandoah! One span was all afire. The flooring burned their feet, flames licked the wooden sides of the structure, thick, choking smoke canopied the rafters. With musket butts the men beat away the planking, hurled into the flood below burning scantling and brand, and trampled the red out of the charring cross timbers. Some came out of the western mouth of the bridge stamping with the pain of burned hands, but the point was that they did come out-the four companies of the 65th, Wheat's Tigers, the First Maryland. Back to Jackson, however, went a messenger. "Not safe, sir, for horse! We broke step and got across, but at one place the supports are burned away-"

"Good! good!" said Jackson. "We will cross rougher rivers ere we are done." He turned to Flournoy's bugler. "Squadrons. Right front into line. March!"

Kenly, stubbornly firing upon the two columns, that one now quitting, with a breath of relief, the railway bridge, and that issuing under an arch of smoke from the wagon bridge, was hailed by a wild-eyed lieutenant. "Colonel Kenly, sir, look at that!" As he spoke, he tried to point, but his hand waved up and down. The Shenandoah, below the two bridges, was thick with swimming horses.

Kenly looked, pressed his lips together, opened them and gave the order. "Face to the rear. Forward. March!" Discretion was at last entirely the better part of valour. Strasburg was fourteen miles away; over hill and dale rose and fell the road that ran that way. Off, off! and some might yet escape-or it might please the gods to let him meet with reinforcements! His guns ceased with their canister and limbering up thundered away toward the sun, now low and red in the heavens. The infantry followed; the small cavalry force bringing up the rear, now deployed as skirmishers, now rallying and threatening the grey footmen.

The Shenandoah was impetuous, deep, turbid, with many eddies, lifted by the spring rains almost level with its banks. The horses liked it not-poor brutes! They shuddered, whinnied, glared with distended, bloodshot eyes. Once in, they patiently did their best. Each was owned by its rider, and was his good friend as well as servant. The understanding between the two could not be disturbed, no, not even by the swollen Shenandoah! The trooper, floating free upon the down-stream side, one hand on mane, or knees upgathered, and carbine held high, squatting in the saddle on the crossed stirrups, kept up a stream of encouragement-soft words, pet names, cooing mention of sugar (little enough in the commissariat!) and of apples. The steed responded. The god above or beside him wished it thus, and certainly should be obeyed, and that with love. The rough torrent, the eddies, the violent current were nothing-at least, not much! In column of twos the horses breasted the river, the gods above them singing of praise and reward. They neared the western shore and the green, overhanging trees, touched bottom, plunged a little and came out, wet and shining, every inch of metal about them glinting in the level rays of the sun.

High on the bank Stonewall Jackson with Flournoy and his aides, the first to cross, watched that passage of the squadrons. Little Sorrel, slow and patient, had perhaps been, in his own traversing, the one steed to hear no especial word of endearment nor much of promise. He did not seem to miss them; he and Jackson apparently understood each other. The men said that he could run only one way and that toward the enemy.

Far down the Front Royal and Winchester turnpike, through a fair farming country, among cornfields and orchards, the running fight continued. It was almost sunset; long shadows stretched across the earth. Scene and hour should have been tranquil-sweet-fall of dew, vesper song of birds, tinkling of cow bells coming home. It was not so; it was filled with noise and smoke, and in the fields and fence corners lay dead and wounded men, while in the farmhouses of the region, women drew the blinds, gathered the children about them and sat trembling.

The blue cavalry was hard put to it. The grey infantrymen were good marksmen, and their line was long, drawn across the road and the up and down of the fields. Here and there, now and again, a trooper went down to the dust, and the riderless horse, galloping to the rear, brought small comfort to Kenly's retreating companies. At last there rode back the major commanding the New York squadron. "We're losing too heavily, colonel! There's a feverishness-if they're reinforced I don't know if I can hold the men-"

Kenly debated within himself, then. "I'll make a stand at the cross-roads yonder. Atwell shall plant the guns and give them canister. It is nearly night-if we could hold them off one hour-"

Richard Cleave, pressing very close with his skirmishers, lost sight of the blue infantry now behind an orchard-clad undulation. "Billy Maydew! come climb this tree and tell me what you see."

Billy went up the roadside locust like a squirrel. "Thar air a man just tumbled off a black horse with a white star! 'T was Dave hit him, I reckon. They look powerful droopy, them cavalrymen! The big man you wouldn't let us take, he air waving his sabre and swearing-"

"The infantry?"

"The infantry air halted. The road air stuffed with them. One-two-three-six companies, stretched out like a black horse's tail."

"Faced which way?"

"That way. No! by Jiminy, they ain't! They air faced this way! They air going to make a stand!"

"They have done well, and they've got a brave officer, whoever he is. The guns?"

"Away ahead, but they air turning! They air making for a hilltop that hangs over the road. Thar's another man off his horse! Threw up his arm and fell, and his foot caught in the stirrup. I don't know if 't war Dave this time shot him-anyhow, 't war not Sergeant Coffin-"

"Is the infantry deploying?"

"They air still in column-black as flies in the road. They air tearing down the fence, so they can get into the fields."

"Look behind-toward the river."

Billy obediently turned upon the branch. "We air coming on in five lines-like the bean patch at home. I love them Lou-is-iana Tigers! What's that?"

"What?"

"An awful cloud of dust-and a trumpet out of it! The First Maryland's getting out of the way-Now the Tigers!-Oh-h-h!"

He scrambled down. "By the left flank!" shouted Cleave. "Double quick. March!"

The 65th, the Louisiana troops, the First Maryland, moved rapidly west of the road, leaving a space of trampled green between themselves and it. Out of the dust cloud toward the river now rose a thud of many hoofs-a body of horse coming at a trot. The sound deepened, drew nearer, changed measure. The horses were galloping, though not at full speed. They could be seen now, in two lines, under bright guidons, eating up the waves of earth, galloping toward the sunset in dust and heat and thunder. At first sight like toy figures, men and horses were now grown life-size. They threatened, in the act of passing, to become gigantic. The sun had set, but it left walls and portals of cloud tinged and rimmed with fire. The horsemen seemed some home-returning aerial race, so straight they rode into the west. The ground shook, the dust rose higher, the figures enlarged, the gallop increased. Energy at its height, of a sudden all the trumpets blew.

Past the grey infantry, frantically yelling its welcome, swept a tremendous charge. Knee to knee, shouting, chanting, horse and man one war shaft, endued with soul and lifted to an ecstasy, they went by, flecked with foam, in a whirlwind of dust, in an infernal clangour, with the blare and fury, the port and horror of Mars attended. The horses stretched neck, shook mane, breathed fire; the horsemen drained to the lees the encrusted heirloom, the cup of warlike passion. Frenzied they all rode home.

The small cavalry force opposed, gasped at the apparition. Certainly their officers tried to rally the men, but certainly they knew it for futility! Some of the troopers fired their carbines at the approaching tide, hoar, yelling, coming now so swiftly that every man rode as a giant and every steed seemed a spectre horse-others did not. All turned, before the shock, and fled, in a mad gallop of their own.

Kenly's infantry, yet in column, was packed in a road none too wide, between ragged banks topped by rail fences. Two panels of these had been taken down preparatory to deploying in the fields, but the movement was not yet made. Kenly had his face turned to the west, straining his eyes for the guns or for the reinforcements which happily General Banks might send. A shout arose. "Look out! Look out! Oh, good Lord!"

First there was seen a horrible dust cloud, heard a great thunder of hoofs. Then out of all came bloodshot eyes of horses, stiffened manes, blue figures downward bent on the sweat-gleaming necks, oaths, prayers, sounds of unnerved Nature, here and there of grim fury, impotent in the torrent as a protesting straw. Into the blue infantry rode the blue cavalry. All down the soldier-crammed road ensued a dreadful confusion, danger and uproar. Men sprang for their lives to this side and that. They caught at jutting roots and pulled themselves out of the road up the crumbling banks. Where they could they reached the rail fences, tumbled over them and lay, gasping, close alongside. The majority could not get out of the road. They pressed themselves flat against the shelving banks, and let the wedge drive through. Many were caught, overturned, felt the fierce blows of the hoofs. Regardless of any wreck behind them, on and over and down the Winchester road tore the maddened horses, the appalled troopers.

The luckless infantry when, at last, their own had passed, had no time to form before the Confederate charge was upon them. At the highest key, the fiercest light, the extremest motion, sound and sight procuring for them a mighty bass and background, came Jackson's charging squadrons. They swallowed the road and the fields on either hand. Kenly, with the foremost company, fired once, a point-blank volley, received at twenty yards, and emptying ten saddles of the central squadron. It could not stay the unstayable; in a moment, in a twinkling of the eye, with indescribable noise, with roaring as of undammed waters, with a lapse of all colours into red, with smell of sweat and powder, hot metal and burning cloth, with savour of poisoned brass in furred mouths, with an impact of body, with sabre blow and pistol shot, with blood spilled and bone splintered, with pain and tremendous horror and invading nausea, with delirium, with resurgence of the brute, with jungle triumph, Berserker rage and battle ecstasy came the shock-then, in a moment, the mêlée.

Kenly, vainly striving to rally a handful about the colours, fell, all but mortally wounded. In the wild quarter of an hour that elapsed before the surrender of the whole, many of the blue were killed, many more wounded. Far and wide the men scattered, but far and wide they were ridden down. One of the guns was taken almost at once, the other a little later, overtaken a mile or two down the road. A few artillerymen, a squad or two of cavalry with several officers, Marchmont among them, got away. They were all who broke the trap. Kenly himself, twenty officers and nine hundred men, the dead, the wounded, the surrendered, together with a section of artillery, some unburned stores, and the Northern colours and guidons, rested in Jackson's hands. That night in Strasburg, when the stars came out, men looked toward those that shone in the east.

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