The Civil War Memoirs of a Virginia Cavalryman

By Robert T. Hubard Jr.; Thomas P. Nanzig | Go to book overview

14
“A Spectacle of Monstrous Absurdity!”

I am already quite weary of my task. Each succeeding day makes it more sad and painful to dwell upon the scenes, particularly the closing scene of our grand, noble but, alas, fatally unsuccessful struggle against powerful human odds and Divine destiny. It was God's will that all which we held sacred and dear should, for the time at least, be lost to us.

As our glorious flag, stained with the blood of many a hard fought field, torn by many a whizzing bullet drooped despondingly about its staff, so our army, worn with labors and fatigues and campaigns more arduous, more terrible than mortal man had ever endured, became moody, despondent, sad as it saw our country's fall written in the future and felt that crushed and shattered as it was, the power was no longer left it to protect and defend. Yes! They felt that their lives so nobly offered, their bodies so cheerfully interposed would no longer prove a bulwark to stay the tide that now bore so heavily upon us. Upon every face was engraved in words of fire: Lost—All is lost.”

With this conviction deep-seated upon their hearts, with starvation, nakedness, slavery, and wretchedness staring them in the face, the noble remnant of the Army of the South under the gallant Johnston fell back from Georgia to Columbia, to Charlotte, to its place of final surrender. The Army of the Trans-Mississippi, unable to come to our aid, stood mute and motionless and quietly waited the course of inexorable fate. Robert E. Lee, his noble form still erect amid the gathering elements which he foresaw would sweep him and his army from the field and carry away the last hopes of his country was still resolute, still brave, still true. And the immortal Army of Northern Virginia, loving him more dearly

-213-

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