Saturday, September 1, 2007

The 48th Pennsylvania & 2nd Bull Run: Part 5

Captain Joseph Hoskings,
Company F
An Incident of Battle

Sergeant William J. Wells, Company F, wrote of an incident of battle he witnessed while retreating through the thick Virginia woods at 2nd Bull Run:
“While running to the rear, I saw Captain Hoskings and a Rebel Major run into each other, both, sword in hand; the rebel’s in his left, he being left-handed, the captain’s in his right hand. Near me, running too, was young Dreibelbeis of Co. H, I think. Both of us stood fixed to the spot, though the woods echoed and re-echoed with the whistle of passing bullets, watching the sword duel then passing between the two officers. With tense earnestness we watched the play of swords, as, with rapid parry and thrust each tried to disarm the other. The contest was short, sharp and determined, and ended by the Captain throwing himself forward upon the rebel officer with such force that his antagonist’s sword flew from his hand over the head of the Captain. The Major immediately reached for and had his revolver in his hand, and it seemed to be all up with the Captain, when my comrade to the right who had evidently been waiting his opportunity, fired, and down went the rebel, his blood spurting in the Captain’s face and breast. This was a lucky shot, as there was great danger of shooting the Captain instead of the rebel.
“By this time, things were getting pretty warm in our neighborhood, and we resumed our running to the edge of the woods where we sought our regiment, feeling only too glad to have escaped capture. The rebel line appeared at that time to be only a strong skirmishing body, otherwise we could not have extricated our column from this death trap. “

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