The seventh of a nine-part series about the journey of Benjamin Franklin Heald and Llewellyn Heald to Gettysburg with the Twentieth Maine Regiment, June 29-July 2, 1863.
The two hundred and fifty Alabamians scrambled up the slope, straight into the muzzles of more than a hundred rifles. The volley tore into the ranks of the appalled rebels, who were brought up short and hastily sought cover. When the southerners at last regrouped and returned fire, the Maine men were grateful that they were on a height, shielded by rocks and trees. Ramming a cartridge down the muzzle of his musket, Frank saw blood running down his hand into his coat sleeve. Nearby, Lew gasped, his thigh hit hard as if by some unseen force and he staggered backward, his left leg collapsing under him. To his front, Lew dimly sensed that the men of his company were running away from him, down the slope. He heard the metallic clang of fixed bayonets and now wild yelling as they went. He lay back, gazing up at the clouds of smoke drifting among the leaves of the trees, tinged with a golden hue in the early evening light. Some time later he heard his name, indistinct and far away. He turned toward the sound. Kneeling down on the ground beside him was Frank, the sweat pouring down his powder blackened face.