I deemed it doubtful that terms could be offered allowing such ownership to continue.
A few days convinced me of the impracticability of longer entertaining such hopes, and I rode into the Federal lines and accepted for myself the terms offered the officers of the army of Northern Virginia.
My cavalry are being paroled at the nearest places for such purposes in their counties. . . .
I particularly regret not being able to do justice in this, the only way I can, to the many acts of gallantry performed by officers and men upon the memorable retreat; but such conduct is usually derived from the reports of subordinate officers, the absence of which will explain it. I testify, however, to the general conduct of my officers and men as highly creditable to themselves upon every occasion which called forth its display.
They fought every day, from the 29th of March to the 9th of April, both inclusive, with a valor as steady as of yore, and whose brightness was not dimmed by the increasing clouds of adversity.
1 desire to call attention to the marked and excellent behavior of Generals W. H. F. Lee, Rosser, and Munford, commanding divisions. . . . The notice of the commanding general is also directed to Brig.-Gens. Henry A. Wise and Eppa Hunton, commanding infantry brigades, and who were more or less under my command until Amelia Court House was reached.
The disheartening surrounding influences had no effect upon them; they kept their duty plainly in view, and they fully performed it. The past services of Gen. Henry A. Wise, his antecedents in civil life, and his age, caused his bearing upon this most trying retreat to shine conspicuously forth.
His unconquerable spirit was filled with as much earnestness and zeal in April, 1865, as when he first took up arms four years ago, and the freedom with which he exposed a long life laden with honors proved he was willing to sacrifice it if it would conduce toward attaining the liberty of his country.
[After paying well-merited tributes to the officers of his staff, in the conclusion of his report, Gen. Fitz Lee has this to say of a typical young Virginian:] I deeply regret being obliged to mention the dangerous wounding of my aide-de-camp, Lieut. Charles Minnegarode, Jr. One of the last minie balls that whistled on its cruel errand over the field of Appomattox passed entirely through the upper part of his body.
He fell at my side, where for three long years he had discharged his duties with an affectionate fidelity never exceeded, a courage never surpassed.
Wonderfully passing unharmed through the many battles fought by the two principal armies in this State (for an impetuous spirit often carried him where the fire was hottest), he was left at last, writhing in his great pain, to the mercy of the victors upon the field of our last struggle. . . . Lieutenant Minnegarode combined the qualities of an aide-de-camp to a general officer in a remarkable degree.
His personal services to me will forever be prized and remembered, whilst his intelligence, amiability and brightness of disposition rendered him an object of endearment to all.
Brevet Brig.-Gen. Charles A. Whittier
, of the United States volunteers, in a paper read before the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts
, makes the following comments:
The army of Northern Virginia will deservedly rank as the best