Strangely Ballou felt no pain. Even when he rolled onto his back and discovered his left leg was missing at mid-shin. He found himself staring mutely as his mangled limb when the zing of a musket ball reminded him of his plight.
Get to cover! He commanded himself. Now!
Twenty feet away stood a small fence made of stone. Ballou crawled toward it as rifles cracked all around him, the air filled with flying lead, almost as if the woods were filled with a thousand angry wasps. Dirt and leaves leaped as the bullets struck all around him. One slug ripped the hat from his head, and sent it flying as if suddenly jerked by an invisible string. Finally reaching the fence, he flung himself behind it, safe for the moment from the Confederate rifles.
Ballou removed his belt and tied it as a tourniquet just above the knee. He was actually shocked that there wasn’t more blood. In fact, there was hardly any blood at all; just the exposed bone and ragged pants leg. He had no way of knowing that not only had the leather of his boot been blown from his leg but was blown into his leg as well, miraculously capping off the femoral artery. If not he would died within minutes.
Pop! Pop! Pop!
Rifle fire sounded to his right as a trio of Confederate snipers took aim. Chips from the stone fence flew into the air like shards of glass. Ballou scrunched lower to the ground, pressing his face into the leaves and dirt. He pulled his revolver and readied himself for the attack. A few moments later, peering over the top of the fence, he saw a half-dozen soldiers in gray advancing toward him.