144 Southern Historical Society Papers.
Many of them continued to reject the report with indignation, and almost with tears in their eyes, protested their ability to whip the enemy yet.
Some supposed there was only a truce for the purpose of remov- ing the wounded who lay between the hostile lines.
At this moment it was observed that the enemy was advancing once more in our front, and we were just discussing the propriety of opening fire again, when about half a dozen of them came riding in on our left rear, who assured us positively that our generals were prisoners themselves and had surrendered their forces. After a short altercation we were compelled to accept this statement as true.
It is probable that this was the last portion of the line to give up the contest.
It was now a little after sunset, and by the time the prisoners were gathered together near General Custer's headquarters night had set in. The men were much depressed, but consoled themselves with the consciousness of having made a good fight.
Our two divisions did not number more than 4,000 in line, while against us had been the Cavalry Corps and the Sixth and Second Infantry Corps, which, during our stubborn resistance, successively came up.
And when we surrendered, the Fifth Corps had also reached the field, and so my captors informed me was just preparing with their artillery to sweep us from the ground.
We must have been surrounded by not less than 40,000 men, and although, of course, but a portion of these were actually engaged, yet we were onlv overwhelmed by superior numbers.
Our loss was heavy, but cannot be correctly estimated.
That of the enemy was confessed to be very large. Generals Sheridan and Custer stated that about a thousand cavalrymen were killed or wounded, and I was informed General Wright put the whole loss, including that inflicted by Pickett, at about 6,000. These generals and others passed the warmest encomiums upon the obstinate valor of the Confederates, and treated our higher officers with soldierlike courtesy.
The enemy were greatly astonished at the miscellaneous uniforms in our small division, and under other circumstances we would have found amusement in listening to their comments.
One of them, when the naval uniform was pointed out, dropped his jaw with an expression cf perfect stupefaction and exclaimed: " Good heavens! have you gunboats way up here, too?"