Last Days of Johnston's Army. 105
and around my own home upon hearing of the capture of Roanoke Island; and yet, the storm of war passed by without inflicting the grievous woes apprehended. But Sherman and his bummers did not pass that way.
By sunrise on the I3th we resumed our march in a hard rain, and with the roads in a terrible condition. Not long after starting we began to meet stragglers making their way to our rear. Among the first to attract our attention was a weary-looking, foot-sore and jaded young fellow in the dirty and tattered uniform of a lieutenant of infantry, who told us he was going home; that Lee had surrendered, and what was left of his army had been paroled. Up to this time we did not know that Petersburg had been abandoned, so completely were we insolated and cut off. Captain Webb, who was in command General Baker not yet having come up refused to believe him, and ordered him and some others under guard to accompany the com- mand until their story was verified. But it was not long before all were fully convinced of the truth of their statements, for the roads were soon filled with soldiers returning from Lee's army. I shall never forget the feeling that came over me when fully impressed with the fact that Lee had surrendered. Until then I had never permitted myself to doubt the ultimate success of the Confederacy; and, as to the Army of Northern Virginia, I believed that, under " Marse Robert," it was simply invincible. I apprehend this feeling was shared by most of the Confederate soldiers; hence their endurance, courage and devotion under the sorest trials and in the darkest hours of the cause. With Lee's surrender, all hope fled, and thereafter obedience and discharge of duty were purely mechanical. Swift upon the heels of the news of this terrible disaster, and on the evening of the same day, came the rumor that Sherman was in possession of Raleigh, and that Johnston was retiring before him towards Greens- boro. Madam Rumor was not a lying jade that time. About night- fall, weary and hungry, depressed with the gloomy outlook, and after a hard day's work, we halted and went into camp near Warren- ton Junction. General Baker had not yet come up, and Captain Webb was in much doubt as to what course to pursue.
Let me narrate the events of the succeeding day in the words of Captain Webb himself. I quote from his diary:
"Friday, April I4th. About day-light this morning the bugles sounded reveille, and as soon as the weary men could be got in line, and the horses hitched, without breakfast, we started for the junction, aboXit four miles distant, intending to feed at that place. I pressed