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Third Battle of Winchester- Gordon's Charge

"A column behind a rebel flag was advancing straight upon us unchecked by our vigorous fire. Seeing that they meant business, I commanded, "Fix Bayonets!" At that instant the gray surges converged upon us right and left and especially in our rear. We seemed in the middle of the rebel army. In the crater of such a volcano, finespun theories, poetic resolves to die rather than be captured—these are point-lace in a furnace. A Union officer, Capt. W. Frank Tiemann of the 159th N. Y., Molineux's Brigade, was showing fight, and half a dozen Confederates with clubbed muskets were rushing upon him. I leaped to the spot, sword in hand, and shouted with all the semblance I could assume of fierce authority,

"Down with those muskets! Stop! I command you." They lowered them.

"Who the hell are you?" they asked.

"I'll let you know." Turning instantly to four or five Confederate officers, I demanded: "Do you mean to massacre my men?"

Two or three replied:" No. By G—! You've shown yourselves brave, and you shall be respected.

Yes, you fought d—d well, seein' you had the d—dest brigade to fight against in the whole Confederate Army."

"What brigade are you?" I asked.

"Ramseur's old brigade; and there's nothin* this side o* hell can lick it."

"You're brave enough," said another; "but damn you, you've killed our best general."

"Who's that?" I asked.

"Rodes; killed right in front of you."

"I thought Early was your best General."

"Not by a d— sight. Old Jubal's drunk- drunk as a fool."

I was never more highly complimented than at this moment; but the stunning consciousness of being a prisoner, the bitterest experience of my life, the unspeakable disappointment, the intense mortification—these are even to this day poorly mitigated, much less compensated, by the excessive praises heaped upon me by those Confederate officers for my supposed bravery. That they were sincere I cannot doubt; for it was customary on the battle-field for the rebels to strip prisoners of all valuables, but no one of the fifty or one hundred near me was robbed. Tiemann, whose life I had perhaps saved, was even privileged to keep his canteen of whiskey, of which he gave me."

Col. Sprague, 13th Conn. Memoirs, 1915.

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