Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/277

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The Last Sad Days. 261

From the Richmond Dispatch, March 4, 1901.

THE LAST SAD DAYS.

From Petersburg to Appomattox Courthouse— Foodless Days — Sleepless Nights.

Graphic Description of the Last Hours of the Army of Northern Vir- ginia by One of Its Artillery Officers.

Editor of the Charlotte (N. C.) Observer:

Following are the recollections of a Confederate States officer of artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia during the retreat from Petersburg to Appomattox, who was an eye wit- ness and participant, written on the anniversary of the surrender of Lee's army, April 9, 1865:

This date recalls many sad memories. Eighteen years ago 1 parted with the men of my old battery with whom I had shared danger, privation and suffering. I saw the cause for which I had risked life, possessions, and separation from wife, children, and family go down in blood and defeat. I saw strong men weep, sullen and bitter men, some hang their heads and curse and .-Avear in their sorrow and humiliation. Oh, the agony of those days ! We were hundreds of miles from home and with- out the means of reaching home, surrounded by late foes, un- certain what the future would bring at our homes. If there, poverty stared us in the face and we did not know where to look, except to Him who doeth all things well, in whose hands are all of our destinies, "who plants His footsteps on the sea and rides upon the storm. " I was an original secessionist, and revo- lutionist. Rather, I gave my heart and hand to the cause, and when Lincoln's proclamation for troops to assist in coercing North Carolina was issued, I volunteered at once and went to the United States forts in North Carolina by order of the Governor. I was among the first men who placed hostile feet on United States soil in North Carolina, and from that day, April 15, 1861, to the end of the war in 1865, when Lee sur-