The battery is silent.


First Sergeant
Forum Host
Jul 23, 2017
Southwest Missouri

Just before sunrise the troops were in position, and our Captain gave the command to commence firing. I dampen , sponge, ram the first cartridge home, and step back. A loud report, a cloud of smoke, and the battle of Cold Harbor has begun. I rapidly sponge out, a turn of the wrist, a whizzing of the sponge-staff in the air, another cartridge is put in the gun, I ram it home and spring back clear of the wheel. I give a hurried glance toward the rebel line and catch sight of the smoke of cannon, and realize that their guns have been manned. I fairly jump to and from my gun, the smoke grows thicker. I am at last thoroughly warmed up to the battle.

A whistling of bullets among us, sounding as though we were in a great bumblebee's nest ; the shriek of solid shot and shell as they come tearing into the battery ; the dull thud of bullets, instantly followed by exclamations of pain; the falling of artillerymen—all pass uncared for. I simply sponge and ram and look ahead. My partner at the gun, just opposite me, standing with a cartridge in his hand, suddenly pitches forward, dead. As I jerk the sponge out of the gun I lean over toward him and pick up the cartridge and put it in the gun. As I step back I see the man who is to fill the dead man's place jerk the dead body impatiently by the legs to get it out of the way.

Stepping back I look over to the next gun, and involuntarily smile to see the great piece turn a summersault in the air. Bits of wood and non fly off to the rear, and the gun comes down with a great thud upon the ground. I stop smiling as I see the poor men in scarlet-trimmed jackets, my comrades, lying dead around the wrecked cannon.

Up through the smoke comes a bare-headed officer on horseback. Telling our officers to stop firing he disappears as rapidly as he came.

The battery is silent.

Rifle Shots and Bugle Notes

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!