Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/142

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138 Southern Historical Society Papers.

a point-blank range, while our men were shooting above that range. I believe it is the general observation of military men that troops usually shoot a little too high.

After some half hour, more or less, the enemy in our front retired, but a large body, at least a brigade, was observed moving around our left.


All things were quiet for a time; then I observed a flag of truce on the opposite ridge. General Barton directed me to meet it. I did so, and proceeded to the bottom of the ravine, where I met a mounted officer, who proved to be General (or Colonel) Oliver Edwards. He informed me that Generals Ewell, Lee, and all of the command who were not killed, had surrendered, and he desired us to surrender in order to prevent the further useless effusion of blood. This proposition I declined, on the ground that we had received no orders from our commanders to surrender. I reported the inter- view to General Barton, and about that time a squadron of cavalry rode up from the rear and we surrendered. I surrendered my sword, which had been the dress-sword of my great-grandfather, Dr. Thomas Walker, of Castle Hill, to a lieutenant, taking down his name, and some years since I recovered it by paying $25 (C. O. D.)

As this letter is already too long, I must close, with the remark that the men on the left were comparatively raw troops, and yet they acted with wonderful coolness and gallantry. Very respectfully,

R. T. W. DUKE, Late Lieutenant- Colonel Second Battalion Va. Reserves.

P. S. John Preston Goss, Esq., clerk in the First Auditor's office, was my sergeant-major, and, I think, was present at my interview with General Edwards. I would like John P. Goss to give his recol- lections of the retreat from Richmond and the fight at Sailor's Creek in your paper, as we are not even mentioned in any of the reports of the battle of Sailor's Creek.

This letter is written from memory, and there may be mistakes. I would, therefore, be glad to hear from any of the survivors of Tucker's Battalion, Crutchfield's Command, or of my command (the Second Battalion). At some future day I propose to write a brief account of what became of me, from our surrender at Sailor's Creek to my return home from Johnson's Island prison, on the 2gth of July, 1865. R. T. W. D.