the still-delayed accumulation of wagon trains.
This caused a panic; traces were cut, and the drivers, mounted on the detached mules, abandoned their wagons and sought safety in rapid flight.
But the panic was not communicated to the engineer troops, which were formed in line across the road, in the belief that the broken ranks of their veteran comrades would re-form behind them, for no foe was in sight.
Such was the situation when General Lee
himself came back, followed by Mahone
with his division, which then became the rear guard.
The engineer troops, being placed under Mahone
's orders, moved in advance to the Appomattox River
at High Bridge
, and, in accordance with instructions, prepared to destroy the railroad bridge and the wagon bridge, after the troops and wagon trains had all passed.
The order to set fire to the bridges was so long delayed that, when it was done, the Federals
were close at hand, although not visible from the wagon bridge.
They made a dash and put out the fires before the structure, which did not burn readily, was seriously damaged.
In an ineffectual effort to recover and complete the destruction of the bridge, the engineer troops met with some losses in killed, wounded, and captured.
There were a day or two more of hunger and fatigue, and then the closing scenes at Appomattox Court House, on the morning of April 9th, which found the engineer troops in line to protect wagon trains, with the Federal
cavalry in their front.
Of the officers of the Engineer Corps of the Confederate army, few are left to give any account of their services.
Many of them were attached to the different commands in the field, quite a number of them were employed in making surveys and preparing maps for the use of the army, and others were in charge of the erection and enlargement of fortifications.
The records of the engineer bureau are said to have been removed when Richmond
was evacuated; but what became of them will probably never be known, except that some, if not all, of the maps fell into the hands of private individuals.