Towards nightfall, as Ney weakened and the Allies were reinforced, our troops pushed forward and recaptured every important position taken by the French that morning. The Morays, with the rest of Picton’s division, bivouacked for the night in and around the farmstead of Gemiancourt.
So obstinately had the field been contested that darkness fell before the wounded could be collected with any thoroughness; and the comfort of the men around many a camp-fire was disturbed by groans (often quite near at hand) of some poor comrade or enemy lying helpless and undiscovered, or exerting his shattered limbs to crawl towards the blaze. And these interruptions at length became so distressing to the Morays, that two or three officers sought me and demanded leave to form a fatigue party of volunteers and explore the hedges and thickets with lanterns. Among them was Mr. Urquhart: and having readily given leave and accompanied them some little way on their search, I was bidding them good-night and good-speed when I found him standing at my elbow.
“May I have a word with you, Colonel?” he asked.
His voice was low and serious. Of course I knew what subject filled his thoughts. “Is it worth while, sir?” I answered. “I have lost to-day a brave lad for whom I had a great affection. For him the account is closed; but not for those who liked him and are still concerned in his good name. If you have anything further against him, or if you have any confession to make, I warn you that this is a bad moment to choose.”