THE SURRENDER—APPOMATTOX COURTHOUSE,
SUNDAY, APRIL 9TH,1865
By Wm. S. White, Third Richmond Howitzers
We started early and moved in the direction of Appomattox Courthouse. When reaching that place it was evident we could go no farther, for the enemy, cavalry, infantry and artillery, in countless thousands, were on every side. A shell comes hurtlingdown our line—another and another follow fast, and follow faster.
Just as cheerfully and just as defiantly as at Bethel, four years ago, when our hopes were big with the fate and fame of a newborn nation, do our boys go forth to meet them and our guns hurl back their shot and shell. We were but a little band standing there in the soft spring light of that Sabbath morn they were as the sands upon the seashore,or as the leaves upon the forest trees.The flag of the Army of Northern Virginia [under whose silken folds so many a gallant comrade, friend, and brother fell,] all tattered and torn but never dishonored; around staff so many happy memories cluster, is floating above us for the very last time.
The fighting ceased, and soldiers wept!
" O now forever.Farewell the tranquil mind; farewell content! Farewell the plumed troop, and the just wars.That make ambition virtue! O, farewell!Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump, The spirit stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife. The Southern banner, and all quality. Pride, pomp, and circumstance of bloody war! And O, you mortal engines, whose rude throats The immortal Jove's dread clamors counterfeit.Farewell— Othello's occupation's gone!" "Then rode adown our lines that peerless General, Robert Edward Lee—his head all bared,and his noble face all clouded with a sorrow deeper than tongue can tell or pen can paint.Is it a wonder then that strong men—men "grown old in wars"—weep like children, and tearfully turning from the, to them, saddest sight on earth, silently prepare to go back to their desolated homes ? Ah ! Neither time, or sorrow, can erase from memory's page the bitterness of that day.