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[544] Col. William Nelson, one of the most chivalric of an army of chivalrous men, disbanded his artillery battalion, leaving his guns at Pittsylvania Court House, and distributing the horses among his men, as he sadly bade them Godspeed to their homes. General Lomax went to Danville to see the secretary of war; his cavalry division melted away during the day, and but few were left to follow the gallant Gen. William L. Jackson, as, indulging a forlorn hope, he turned back toward the Valley. General Rosser, after having conferred with the secretary of war, John C. Breckinridge, at Danville, rode back to Lynchburg and disbanded his division. Nearly every house in all the region westward from Appomattox was full of soldiers returning to their homes, and of deserters and skulkers that were coming out of their holes.

The cavalry from Grant's army reached Lynchburg on the 13th. The remnants of Jackson's and Lomax's divisions of cavalry, that had retired to the Valley, disbanded at Buchanan, on the 15th, until the 1st of May. On the 17th it was learned that General Hancock, in command of the Federal forces in the lower Valley, had invited all soldiers in that region, belonging to the army of Northern Virginia, to come in and be paroled on the same terms as were those that were captured at Appomattox Court House, saying that all that did this would be permitted to remain, undisturbed, at their homes. The proposition of President Lincoln that Virginia should come back to the Union, without conditions, gained circulation on the 18th, and exercised a favorable influence upon the entire community.

Late in the month of April, bands of marauders terrorized the people by gathering up what they claimed to have been Confederate government property. In reality they were stealing cattle, sheep and other things, wherever they could find them. A conflict of citizens took place with some of these, three miles from Staunton, on the 20th, on which day word came to the Valley that Lincoln had been assassinated. There was a general expression of indignation and profound regret, at this sad and untimely event.

On the 24th of April the full bench of the justices of the peace of Augusta county, one of the leading ones of Virginia in all respects, met in Staunton, to take steps to prevent the plundering and stealing that was going on

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