Charging the Cannon’s Muzzle
“When we got close to the enemy’s line, we found a great many men lying down. I saw a stand of colors held upright by a [Yankee] color bearer who was lying flat on his face. I rode to him and jerked it out of his hands. He at once jumped up and demanded them back, saying in reply that he would take them in if the colonel, and he pointed to him lying near, would go on. I rode over to the colonel and punched him in the back with the flag staff. He jumped up, but when I told him to take the colors and lead his men [as prisoners]…he set to shaking as if in a chill, and suddenly broke off in a run to the rear. I shifted the flag to my left hand and riding up to him, struck him on the head with my sword; but it turned and the flat of it struck him hard enough to knock him to his knees. He cried out but ran on some thirty yards, when he jumped in the air and fell, apparently dead.
General Hood…said that he was about to charge the battery which was sweeping the level beyond the ravine, where we had just broken the enemy’s first line, and suggested that I join my men to his right. I did so, and we charged across the plateau about four or five hundred feet. When I got within a few feet of the guns, I marked a gunner fixing his lanyard into the friction primer. I made a run to cut him down before he could fire, but he was too quick. When I was not over ten feet from the muzzle the gun went off. The shot struck my right arm, crushing it and tearing it off at the shoulder. When it hit me, it seemed to knock me up in the air and spin me around two or three times, though I suppose that was imaginary, and then dashed me down with a force than knocked all of the breath out of me.
When I came to, I found my arm wrapped around my sword blade in a most remarkable manner. I sat up, but almost immediately everything went dark, and I supposed I was dying. After some time I regained consciousness and unwound the fragments of my arm from my sword blade, which I got back into the scabbard. I succeeded in stuffing my arm into the breast of my coat, got to my feet and started to the rear, using the flagstaff as a support.”
(The Haskell Memoirs, Govan and Livingood, editors, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1960, pp. 32-34)