previous next
[755] the Confederates to a determined prosecution of the contest; saying:

We have now entered upon a new phase of the struggle. Relieved from the necessity of guarding particular points, our army will be free to move from point to point to strike the enemy in detail far from his base. Let us but will it, and we are free.

Animated by that confidence in your spirit and fortitude which never yet failed me, I announce to you, fellow-countrymen, that it is my purpose to maintain your cause with my whole heart and soul; that I will never consent to abandon to the enemy one foot of the soil of any one of the States of the Confederacy. That Virginia — noble State--whose ancient renown has been eclipsed by her still more glorious recent history — whose bosom has been bared to receive the main shock of this war — whose sons and daughters have exhibited heroism so sublime as to render her illustrious in all time to come — that Virginia, with the help of the people and by the blessing of Providence, shall be held and defended, and no peace ever be made with the infamous invaders of her territory.

If, by the stress of numbers, we should ever be compelled to a temporary withdrawal from her limits, or those of any other Border State, again and again will we return, until the baffled and exhausted enemy shall abandon in despair his endless and impossible task of making slaves of a people resolved to be free.

Let us, then, not despond, my country-men; but, relying on God, meet the foe with fresh defiance and with unconquered and unconquerable hearts.

He waited there several days, in anxious expectation of the approach of Lee, or at least of tidings that he was still confronting and baffling the Union forces; until astounded1 by advices of his surrender at Appomattox. The Confederacy thereupon took to wheels again — there being no acceptable alternative — and retreated by rail to Greensboroa, N. C., where another considerable halt was made — the days and nights spent mainly in the cars by President, Cabinet, and followers; since very few of the citizens saw fit to throw open their houses — when the imminence of Johnston's surrender compelled another flitting2 this time in wagons and on horseback: the railroad having been disabled by Stoneman — via Salisbury to Charlotte, N. C., where its foundering ark again rested for a few days; and where, unlike their fare at Greensboroa, the falling President and his Cabinet were received with consideration and hospitality-until, alarmed by the reported approach of Stoneman's cavalry, it resumed its flittings southward, via Yorkville and Abbeville, S. C.; being now compelled to take entirely to horse, and escorted by 2,000 cavalry, who, as well as the Presidential cortege, gradually dwindled by the way: thus reaching3 Washington, Ga., where the rapidly dissolving view of a Government was dispensed with-most of the Cabinet itself having by this time abandoned the sinking craft, leaving Davis attended by Reagan (late Postmaster-General, now acting Secretary of the Treasury) and his military staff; and the remaining fugitives, with a small but select escort of mounted men, took their way southward: perhaps intent on joining Dick Taylor or Kirby Smith, should either or both be still belligerent, or, at the worst, hoping to make their way to some petty port on the coast, and thence out of the country. Mr. Davis had even separated, for greater safety, from his family; but, on an alarm of peril to which they were said to be exposed from a conspiracy to rob them of the gold they were supposed to be carrying off, had rejoined them over night; when his sylvan encampment near Irwinsville,

1 April 10.

2 April 15.

3 May 4.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Jefferson Davis (3)
George D. Stoneman (2)
Dick Taylor (1)
Kirby Smith (1)
Reagan (1)
R. E. Lee (1)
J. E. Johnston (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 4th (1)
April 15th (1)
April 10th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: