Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 27.djvu/348
Southern Historical Society Papers.
a general officer of the Confederacy and fall fighting for his home and his people. Maury was there, troubled and anxious, fearing the news which was expected with the mail-bag would force him to give up forever the cherished friends of a lifetime. He felt his sword could never be turned against Virginia and the South. The mail-bag came in. The adjutant had to first assort the mail for the entire garrison. Then they all eagerly seized the telegrams forwarded by mail. They told of the fall of Fort Sumter months before. Captain Maury seized the telegrams and rushed out of the door and up to the officers' quarters, crying, "Sumter has fallen and war has begun!"
A few days afterwards the news came that Virginia had seceded. As soon as it could be written, Captain Maury wrote out his resignation and dispatched it to Washington. He prepared to follow it to the States at once.
General Maury never dwelt upon his emotions when bidding his old comrades-in-arms farewell It was a painful subject. The writer has seen his eyes glisten with emotion when alluding to it. None of his brother officers blamed him. He frequently said they told him they never expected him to pursue any other course. But there were a number of Southern men who could not bring themselves to sunder the old ties, and, drawing their sword in defence of the new nation, turn it against the old. General George H. Thomas, a native of Southampton county, Va., and a warm friend of General Maury's, was one of these. General Maury often spoke regretfully of the failure of Thomas to go with his State. He has said that no man was ever more devoted to his State, which had greatly honored him, having voted him a sword for gallantry in the Mexican war. Thomas applied early for command in the Virginia forces, and Governor Letcher held an important post for him. General Maury has stated that Thomas carried to New York with him, after Virginia seceded, his resignation from the army, and that he went to that city to bring away his wife. His wife was a New York lady, a woman of fine character and considerable wealth. General Fitzhugh Lee, when en route to Richmond after resigning from the old army, called to see Major Thomas, and at parting remarked: "Well, Major, I suppose we shall meet in Richmond in a few days?"
"Yes," Major Thomas replied.
His wife remarked: "He thinks you will."She was bitterly opposed to her husband's resigning from the army, and succeeded in keeping him at the North until General