- Historic Sites
“And All About Were Men Crying…”
October 1962 | Volume 13, Issue 6
I had been in Prison once, and was not going again. I [decided to] make my way out to join Gen. Johnston in North Carolina. … I talked with Blackwood. He was ready to follow me anywhere. …
Shortly before this I had gone to General McGowan … to ask whether we were going to surrender. I had found him in the woods, crying, half dressed, taking off his old dirty uniform, and putting on a newer brighter one used on state occasions. I did not then need his acknowledgment of our miserable fate.
By that time it had got to be well known amongst the men that Lee had determined to surrender, and it was a lamentable spectacle to see how the men took it. Some seemed to be glad that it was all over, but even they, I have no doubt, would have been as ready to charge as the rest, had it been so ordered. But mostly there were sad and gloomy faces. For myself, I cried. I could not help it. And all about were men crying…
So Blackwood and I left the little tattered, weary, sad, and weeping army— our army—left them there on the hill with their arms stacked in the field, all in rows—never to see it any more. Telling Clarke and Bell goodbye, we crossed the road into the untenanted fields and thickets, and in a little while lost sight of all that told of the presence of what was left of the army that through four long years, time and again, had beaten back its enemy, keeping Richmond, its capital, sale and free. …