“Captain Tanner,” an orderly dispatched from General Gordon called down from his lathered mount, “Compliments of the General. He wishes for you to send the left section of your battery over to yonder hill and deploy. See the stone house and barn to the east? That’s where he wants you to go. Once there, you may open.”
“Please give the general my compliments, sir,” Captain William Tanner eagerly replied, “and tell him the Courtney Artillery will do honor to the Old Dominion this day.”
As the orderly rode back to inform the brigade commander, Tanner raised his field glasses and surveyed the scene off to the northeast. He could see a long, low, dark line of earthworks stretching as far as the eye could see surrounding the small town of Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. Brightly colored flags dotted the line here and there, marking the positions of various detachments of Pennsylvania state militia. “Melish,” he thought to himself. “They will run off at the first shell. They always do.” Scanning further, he examined the best routes to move the two guns into position on the small knoll housing the stone house. Satisfied that he could get the guns there without impunity, he relayed the appropriate instructions to the lieutenant in charge of the section. “See to it,” he ordered.