Upon the evacuation of Richmond
by General Lee
, General Echols
marched with all his force eastward to join him. When near Christiansburg
, he learned of the surrender at Appomattox
He called a council of war, and it was determined to furlough the infantry, indefinitely abandon the wagons and artillery, and march immediately with such cavalry as would go to General Johnston
's army in North Carolina
. General Duke
and Gen. J. C. Vaughn
elected to make the march, while General Giltner
and General Cosby
, regarding the war as practically over, concluded to march toward Kentucky
and receive their paroles there if their conclusion was correct.
Accordingly on the 12th of April, immediately after the council closed, the movement began.
had about three hundred men, but they were not mounted, their horses being near Lincolnton, N. C.
, where forage could be obtained.
His men were furnished with horses and mules from the abandoned wagons and artillery, and thus mounted, without saddles and with blind bridles, these men, together with Vaughn
's brigade, accompanied General Echols
two hundred miles to Salisbury
Here they met President Davis
, who was much touched at the action of these Kentuckians, who had thus elected to share his fate.
in his report made to General Lee
, after the surrender, says: ‘The bearing of General Duke
's command, which with unbroken ranks faced the hardships of a march which was leading them at every step farther from home and to a destination full of danger and uncertainty was beyond praise.
Even had they been fully equipped their bearing would have been worthy of praise, but when it is remembered that they were mounted on barebacked horses and mules with blind bridles, and nevertheless preserved the same discipline and order as upon a regular march, their conduct reflects great honor upon them.’
After a few more days they terminated their military service in the general surrender.