"The next day, July 18, we marched ahead through a jam of troops, trucks, etc., and came at last to a ration dump, where we fell to and ate our heads off for the first time in nearly two days. When we left there the men had bread stuck on their bayonets. I lugged a ham. All were loaded down. "We finally stopped at the far end of the forest, nearing a dressing station.
One beautiful September morning he saw Trochu's gilded cap passing among the bayonets; four hundred thousand Parisians were there, like himself, full of good-will, who had taken up their guns with the resolve to die steadfast. Ah, the misery of defeat! All these brave men for five months could only fidget about the place and eat carcases. May the good God forgive the timid and the prattler! Alas!
He saw a long line of men, their front bristling with the blue steel of bayonets, and behind them other lines and yet other lines. It seemed to Harry that the points of the bayonets were almost in his face, and then, at the shouted command, the whole earthwork burst into a blaze. The cannon and hundreds of rifles sent their deadly volleys into the blue masses at short range.
On the 4th of June our little army was reinforced by the arrival of the 21st Fusiliers, a fine battalion, mustering nine hundred bayonets, under the command of Colonel Patterson. On the evening of the 29th a squadron of four frigates and several transports appeared in the offing, which by mid-day on the day following were all at anchor in the roads.
"Get ready now, boys, for the fight of your lives," Frank admonished his comrades, after he had told them of what had passed between him and the flag bearer. "Let them come," said Bart. "We're good for a lot of them if our bullets hold out." "And when they're gone, we've got our bayonets," put in Tom. "And our knives may do some damage," added Billy, as his hand rested on the haft of his.
Time after time they had charged down upon the Dutch squares, and no sooner had the ranks been reformed, after recoiling from the line of fixed bayonets, than they were called upon to charge in another direction.
For that point a sergeant led his section, and found the howitzer with a few men round it as escort, bearing rifles. The men threw down their arms in token of submission, but that trick has been played too often. "This damned nonsense is too late," said the sergeant, and with levelled bayonets his sections swept away the chance of treachery.
German bayonets had been driven through their hands and feet and their contorted faces gave every appearance of their having died in great agony. This story was and is generally believed throughout all ranks of the Canadian Army. For its truth I cannot vouch. We knew that our own men had never mistreated any prisoners and had in fact usually done quite the reverse.
Such was the effect of a blow struck at the right place and the right time, though struck by no more than 3000 bayonets. The battle of Kernstown was undoubtedly well fought. It is true that Jackson believed that he had no more than four regiments of infantry, a few batteries, and some cavalry before him.
These, as I have heard, were of a singularly ferocious character, though by severe training rendered docile to their master. Armed to the teeth, the Creole now goes in state, surrounded by his canine janizaries, whose terrific bayings prove quite as serviceable as bayonets in keeping down the surgings of revolt.