Gettysburg: Cannons are Hot

As promised, here is the story my Great Great Great Great Grandfather Benjamin Hall Stillman told:

At the first days of the fight at Gettiesburg (sic) (July, 1863) the Bat was near the seminary building.  Two pieces in the road or RR cut.  The Rebs charged on the Bat.  I was No. 5 at the gun.  No. 5 takes the ammunition from No. 6, cuts the fuse and hands it to No. 4 who carries it to the gun.  Charlie Sprague was No. 4.  We were firing canister.  Charlie came for ammunition and I was in the act of handing it to him.  He was reaching out for it and looking over his shoulder when a ball struck him in the center of his forehead, killing him instantly.  I stepped over him and carried the ammunition canister to the gun, but before I got to the gun Lieutenant Davidson was hit in the leg which broke his leg.  I saw that they had plenty of canister at the gun so I set mine down in the road and caught the Lieutenant and held him up until he gave the command to lead with double canister and wait.  Then I picked him up (he being a small man) and carried him back a few rods and put him behind a bank so he would not get hit again.  While I was doing this the Bat fell back on top of the hill.  As I got to my gun Sergeant McBride, chief of my piece, says we are out of canister.  I told him I left three rounds down in the road and I would run and get them.  Now in order to do that I had to run down in the face of the Rebel line within a few rods of them but I got my canister all right.  When I got on top of the hill where I left the Bat it had gone and was half way to town.  Then I found out what my legs were made so long for, and they did me good service, for I did run and no one wants to dispute it.  The Bat got blocked in the town so that I caught up with it, being out of breath with running and carrying my three rounds of canister.  I thought I would ride until I got my breath so I took hold of one of the handles on the gun, put my foot on the axle and sprang onto the straddle of the gun.  I sprang off just about as quick as the gun was almost real hot!’

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