I have never witnessed more sublime faithfulness unto death ....

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SWMODave

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At the crisis of the battle we were stationed in Fort Magruder, as above explained, the key of our position. I was standing, sponge-staff in hand, awaiting the firing of my gun, the next piece to the left being a gun of the Fayette Artillery. As my eye fell upon it No. I was sponging out, No. 3 of course having his thumbstall pressed upon the vent.

Suddenly I saw No. 3 stoop, clap his right hand upon his leg below the knee; and then I saw him topple slowly forward, never, however, lifting his thumb from the vent, but pressing it down close and hard - his elbow strained upward as his body sank forward and downward. The heroic fellow had been first shot in the calf of the right leg, and as he bent to feel that wound a bullet crashed through his skull; but his last effort was to save No. 1 the loss of his hands by premature explosion as was rammed home the next charge.

I have never witnessed more sublime faithfulness unto death than was exhibited by the downward pressure of that thumb, as it was literally dragged from the hole of the piece by the weight of the sinking body of the noble cannoneer.

Four Years Under Marse Robert
 
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