The Federal guns sought the Confederate guns on the hills. They hurled solid shot and explosive shell, their iron insults shearing through oak and ash, brittle hickory, chestnut and elm. Outgunned two to one, with less reliable ordinance, the Confederate gunners declined to fight.
General Jackson had made too clear the fate of the impatient gunner who fired early and gave away his gun’s position. In shallow pits they lay beside their gun carriages and prayed no unlucky shell would crash into a powder-filled limber box.
Metal whizzed through the trees, striking trunks that had stood for centuries with the stout whack of an ax-man’s first blow.
Shells exploding among the reserve artillery behind Walker’s brigade killed horses and shattered limber carriages, while frantic artillerists lashed their guns to the rear.
One horse was on its forelegs, down in the back; its neck stretched out in what any man knew would be a scream had the cannonade permitted hearing it.
— Donald McCaig said that