THE LAST DAYS--THE HOMEWARD MARCH--THE SURRENDER TO GENERAL HOBSON AT MT. STERLING.
"Furl that banner; true, 'tis gory,
Yet 'tis wreathed around with glory,
And 'twill live in song and story
Though its folds are in the dust,
For its fame on brightest pages,
Penned by poets and by sages,
Shall go sounding down the ages.
Furl its folds though now we must."
AFTER the battle of Marion the brigade remained comparatively inactive until early in the spring of 1865, when it defeated and stampeded a raiding cavalry force near Wytheville. In this engagement, our last, "Major" Jenkins was killed.
From Wytheville the command marched toward Lynchburg and Appomattox, but when we had arrived at Christiansburg we received the intelligence that the Army of Northern Virginia had succumbed to the inevitable and laid down its arms--that General Lee had surrendered his little army, starved and exhausted, to General Grant. With the surrender of Lee's veterans the majority of our soldiers realized that the end had come; that
"The neighboring troops, the flashing blade,
The trumpet's stirring blast,
The charge, the dreadful cannonade,
The din and shout were past."
All was gloom. I shall not attempt to describe the pathetic scenes. The men could scarcely decide as to the best course to pursue. General Basil Duke and others were loath to surrender. Many suggested an attempt to join General Joseph E. Johnston's army. Others determined to make their way to the Trans-Mississippi department, and thence to Mexico or South America. Many declared that they would never again live under the United States govern-