Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 38.djvu/23
Last Months in the Army of Northern Virginia. 11
plored. It was not necessary, and many valuable records and documents were lost to history.
I rode up the hill, on the west side of Sailors Creek, and came upon General Lee. He was reclining on the ground and hold- ing Traveller's bridle. He was entirely alone and looked worn. I was then "dead beat" in mind and body. I had been more than forty consecutive hours from Amelia Courthouse in the saddle, practically without food or sleep, while the reflection that I had then no clothes, no blankets, and nothing else except what I had on was oppressive.
After crossing the bridge over the Appomattox, at the foot of the railroad High Bridge, I came upon Major John P. Branch, of Richmond, encamped there. He took me in, and I spent the night there. He says that he did not feed me, as he had noth- ing to eat himself. The next morning, Friday, April 7th, I moved on, and by great good luck came upon Packard, who had saved some wagons with a few necessaries in them, and I then got my first meal in twenty-four hours. We moved on very slowly all that day and night, and also on Saturday, the 8th, camping that night near Appomattox Courthouse, near the place where General Lee had his headquarters. During the day I met
Major , of Pickett's staff, who spoke of surrender as
the proper course at that time. This was a great shock to me as it was the first time that I had heard the word "surrender".
The next morning, the fateful April 9th, we remained station- ary, and Packard and I walked up to see what was going on. While we were standing there, General* Lee rode past, attended by Colonel Marshall and an orderly. He was in full dress, wearing his sword and sash. As I had never seen him wear his sword except at a review, 1 was struck at once by it, and turned to Packard and said: "Packard, that means surrender." While we were there we saw a Union officer galloping up, wav- ing a white handkerchief. He was recognized as General Custer by his long, yellow hair and the red neckerchief of his command. He rode up to General Longstreet and one of Longstreet's staff waved the bystanders off so that I saw, but could not hear, the interview. But it was told to us immediately afterwards, about as follows : Custer said : "I demand the surrender of this army,"