Now came time for some real maneuvering. Reaching the staging area, our battalion was given the order: “By Battalion, into line…March!”
Quickly all three of our companies went into company battle lines, then moved efficiently into a battalion line…three companies marching abreast, two ranks deep. At the end of the maneuver, 125 souls were marching shoulder-to-shoulder and keeping as straight a line as possible.
As we approaching our artillery, the cannon crews were firing their last shots. So we were commanded to “Right Flank” putting us back into a line of four men abreast, facing 90 degrees to the right from our original line of march. Then, we were commanded to Halt.
Once the artillery men completed their last volley, we were given the command: “By Left of Companies, to the Front…Forward March!”
At this command, the front of each company turned 90 degrees to face our original line of march. As they marched out, the rest of each company followed them turning 90 degrees to the left at the point on the ground where the front of the company made their initial left turn. Thus, our battalion traversed the artillery line in three parallel company columns, and once we were through the artillery, we were given the order: “Battalion into Line…March!”
We quickly reformed into a battalion line again while on the march. We had accomplished some very intricate movements while on the march. It showed we were a veteran unit with a lot of moxie.
We were on the far right of the whole attack, portraying General James Kemper’s Virginia troops. One other battalion was in front of us, and as we came over a small rise, the Union line was stretched out before us.
My Lord, they had a ton of troops behind their stone wall!
We traversed a small stream that broke up our battalion line momentarily, but we reformed almost immediately. We halted, and the battalion in front of us fired a volley at the Yanks.
Then, off to our right, a Union line of troops began to wheel toward our flank. We were going to be subject to enfilade fire any moment.