Reminiscences of the Civil War

By John B. Gordon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIX
THE SURRENDER

The Army of Northern Virginia reduced to a skeleton--GeneralLee's calm bearing--The last Confederate council of war--Decision upon a final attempt to break Grant's lines--The last charge of the war-- Union breastworks carried--A fruitless victory--Flag of truce sent to General Ord--Conference with General Sheridan--An armistice.

BEFORE reaching the end of our journey, which terminated abruptly at the little village of Appomattox, the Army of Northern Virginia had become the mere skeleton of its former self. At Sailor's Creek, Anderson's corps was broken and destroyed, and General Ewell, with almost his entire command, was captured, as was General Kershaw, General Custis Lee, son of the general- in-chief, and other prominent officers. I had discovered the movement threatening Ewell, and had sought to apprise him of his danger and to aid in his escape; but my own command was assailed at almost the same instant, and was precipitated into a short but strenuous battle for its own safety. The advance of Grant's army struck Ewell upon one road and my command upon another almost simultaneously. Rushing through the broad gap between Ewell and myself, the heavy Federal force soon surrounded the command of that brave old one-legged hero, and forced him to surrender. Another Union column struck my command while we were endeavoring to push the ponderous wagon-trains through the bog, out of which the starved teams were unable to

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