Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 20.djvu/63

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Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.

A most interesting paper, read before the Confederate Veteran's Association, of Atlanta, spreads much light on the subject. It is from the pen of Colonel Herman H. Perry, now of Waynesboro, Georgia, who was assistant adjutant-general on the staff of General Sorrell.

Colonel Perry was himself the officer who received from the hands of General Grant's messenger the written demand upon General Lee that he should surrender.


The letter of Colonel Perry is addressed to Hon. Robert L. Rodgers, of West End, and is by him made public:

"Dear Sir—I received your favor of to-day, which request to send to you an account of the transactions of my receiving the first demand for the surrender of General Lee's army before reaching Appomattox. I remember having written to you last year that I would write it for your use as a matter of history. I did it in pencil at the time, and I laid it away and have not referred to it since. I have now disinterred it from a lot of old papers in my office and send it without any further polish or correction. I wish you would read it to Captain J. W. English and see if his memory and mine agree about it. I have been often importuned to write this before, but I have refrained from doing it because so many 'heroes' have appeared since the war ended who never handled a sword or gun then, and have been so injudiciously lauded by the press that I did not care to have the appearance of being on the list. But let us refer now to the scenes which were the closing acts of the glorious Southern Confederacy as the closing history of the times."


It was night, April 7, 1865. We had crossed the river near Farmville and had taken up a position about, as near as I remember, a mile from the crossing, which the Confederates had attempted to burn, but unsuccessfully. General Miles, commanding a Federal brigade, made a mad attempt to throw the Confederates into confusion on their left by a flank movement (perhaps that was his purpose), but it was a very unfortunate move, for his lines were in a few minutes nearly cut to pieces and his brigade placed hors de combat.