Bushong's Orchard


Walk one hundred yards from near the blacksmith shop back through the parking lot north on the road until you are about halfway past the orchard. The experience in the orchard was described vividly by Cadet Howard.

We were halted in an inclosure surrounding a dwelling, and ordered to lie down just in front of the house. It would have been more satisfactory to my inner feelings had we been behind the house. I look back upon that orchard as the most awful spot on the battle field, and, as the shot and shell tore over and around us, I was reminded by their malignant shriek of the driving snowstorm, whose flakes I could see, and marveled not at the number hit, but that all were not killed. Lying next to me was Edward B. Smith, who was struck by a spent ball, though we did not know at the time it was spent. I heard it strike—the hip, I believe—and the sound was as if some one had struck an empty cask with a hammer. I was glad that no contemporary laden messenger treated me in similar fashion. Ross—next to my other side—spoke to Smith, asking if he were wounded. But there was no time for more than the affirmative reply when an order came to move. A crisis had been reached: the fire was too hot for irresponsive action, and retreat or advance was the alternative. We considered a retreat no part of the game, and "forward" was the order. We were halted for some reason before climbing the fence of the inclosure. I saw a cedar tree a yard high or thereabout, with a trunk as big as my thumb. Not a very effective defensive, but, no matter, anything from a white oak to a wheat straw was better than nothing, and I threw myself down behind it. One of the company, Ashleigh, apparently concluded that if a tree of that dimension could protect one person it might perhaps be stretched to protect two, and threw himself down full length on my body. A bullet tried to find us, but fortunately failed, cutting the trousers of both without touching the leg of either. Ashleigh escaped also the rest of the day. In the darkening light I gave him a drink from my canteen, and told him of Randolph's wound. I remember the emotion his countenance expressed. Randolph, whose wound we then thought fatal, was very generally popular in the Corps, and he and Ashleigh had been intimates. And now once more forward. The first thing to do was climb the fence, which impressed itself on me so indelibly as never to have been forgotten. It was an ordinary rail fence, probably about four feet high but as I surmounted the topmost rail I felt at least ten feet up in the air and the special object of hostile aim. But in clearing this obstruction I was leaving all thought of individuality behind.
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