- Historic Sites
Eleventh in a series of paintings for AMERICAN HERITAGE
August 1976 | Volume 27, Issue 5
One little incident happened during the heat of the cannonade, which I was eye-witness to, and which I think would be unpardonable not to mention. A woman whose husband belonged to the Artillery, and who was then attached to a piece in the engagement, attended with her husband at the piece the whole time. While in the act of reaching a cartridge and having one of her feet as far before the other as she could step, a cannon shot from the enemy passed directly between her legs without doing any other damage than carrying away all the lower part of her petticoat. Looking at it with apparent unconcern, she observed that it was lucky it did not pass a little higher, for in that case it might have carried away something else, and continued her occupation.
… General [Anthony] Wayne advanced with a body of troops, and kept up so severe and well-directed a fire, that the enemy were soon compelled to retire behind the defile, where the first stand in the beginning of the action had been made.
In this situation the enemy had both their flanks secured by thick woods and morasses, while their front could only be approached through a narrow pass. I resolved, nevertheless, to attack them … but the impediments in the way prevented [it] … before it was dark. … In the mean time, the enemy were employed in removing their wounded, and, about 12 o’clock at night, marched away in … silence …
The extreme heat of the weather, the fatigue of the men from their march through a deep, sandy country, almost entirely destitute of water, and the distance the enemy had gained by marching in the night, made a pursuit impracticable and fruitless. It would have answered no valuable purpose, and would have been fatal to numbers of our men—several of whom died the preceding day with heat.
Were I to conclude my account of this day’s transactions without expressing my obligations to the officers of the army in general, I should do injustice to their merit and violence to my own feelings. They seemed to vie with each other in manifesting their zeal and bravery …
The peculiar situation of General Lee at this time, requires that I should say nothing of his conduct. He is now in arrest.