A little tease to show we really have begun. But this is just the introduction. The rest is much larger. Not Gordon or Bill but pretty inclusive.
A deafening quiet settled over the little salient. Of course quiet was a relative term. There were still scattered rifle shots whether from nervous infantrymen close by, or just some anonymous noise off in the distance. None of that even registered on the clusters of men gathered around the cannon they served. Two of them had just finished firing at a group of Federal infantry which had appeared in their front and quickly fell back out of sight to avoid the storm of canister fire which had been sent their way. Even though there were no more targets visible activity still surrounded the guns. Two of which sat with a light cloud of steam rising as the morning dew evaporated from them. There had only been a few moments for the men to relax and savor the fact that, for the moment it was over. For most of these men were veterans of quite a few fights like this. They knew from experience that they needed to quickly prepare in case action had to be resumed. Guns had to be reloaded and pushed back through the mud into position, then re-sighted at the most likely point that the enemy could reappear. Debris had to be cleared away from around the gun so that they didn’t have to worry about tripping or being obstructed in a time when seconds might mean life or death. Only then would they be able to relax, maybe get a smoke if they had any tobacco.
While this was going on the men around the other two guns of the battery, who because of the shape of the line hadn’t had a target, offered a running commentary of advice or criticism. Some kept a lazy lookout in the event that the enemy should appear. Others found a way to avoid the sergeants desire to keep them busy, or simply relaxed in the quiet of the cold miserable morning. Still others, perhaps a little wiser, fidgeted with the guns, making sure that they were in as good a order as possible.
Back just behind the little position, still smaller groups of men fussed around the four caissons. Counting how many rounds had been used, making sure that there would be no delay in selecting and providing whatever type of round the Corporals at the guns wanted when they called for it.