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Posted By: on: 08/23/2000 21:12:31 EDT
Subject: RE: I wish more would use this.

Message Detail:
Miss Moore,

I could see how something like that would really make the experience hit home. Sometimes it's the little things, away from battle that make moments seem all the more real.

For me, the most realistic moment I have ever had came at the 135th anniversary of the Battle of Sharpsburg. Funny though, this moment did not come during any of the fighting, of which there was plenty. It came rather during the early morning, while it was still dark. It was just before the dawn battle in the cornfield.

The artillery was flashing in the distance, looking almost like lightning in the clouds. There was a heavy fog covering the battlefield, and the sounds in the distance were like rumbling thunder. Some troops were already going into action, but I was with Longstreet's Corps, and we were the reserve. As always, the men were stood down in preparation of the action to come. Some were in various states of rest, sprawled out along the ground, leaning against trees, etc. It was 5:30 am and still quite dark.

It was then that the call of "Loose Horse!" came, and the horse passed by at a trot, right through the line where we were waiting. It even brushed against me lightly, enough to make me realize that it was actually there and not just a ghostly apparition. Surprisingly, even though the horse went over 100 yds., directly through the area that was most populated by the soldiers, no one was stepped on or in any way hurt. It was an eerie experience.

One reason this hit home so much was that in soldier's personal journals, diaries and letters home, the loose horse, under the same circumstances, often was mentioned. In "Rebel Private: Front and Rear: by William A. Fletcher, of the 5th Texas, he mentions that sometimes, though the NCO's shouted at the tops of their lungs, that the men would often refuse to wake up, but at the mere mention of loose horse, everyone in camp would wake up and spring to their feet. "There are no words that will rouse the sleeping soldiers faster than the words 'Loose Horse!'"

Just thought I'd share that with all of you. Maybe others have had similar experiences that they would like to share.

JR

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