domain would be laid in ruins, and they would be powerless to prevent it even by the sacrifice of their lives in defense of their homes and country.
Already the private intelligence had reached their ears that Gen. Kirby Smith
thought it useless to make another fight.
That was enough to determine them in the exercise of their own judgment.
They commenced leaving their camps, not furtively in the night, but openly in the daytime.
It was not with a disaffected spirit in mutiny against their superior officers; but it was as in the case of the wrecked vessel slowly sinking; when the captain's power of control had ceased by common consent, the manning of the boat any longer was seen to be hopeless, and the personal safety of each one on board was the common concern, to be secured if practicable each in his own way. In the meantime, on May 1st, General Sprague
, a Federal officer, arrived at the mouth of Red river
with dispatches from General Canby
, demanding the surrender of the Trans-Mississippi department by Gen. Kirby Smith
Thereupon steps were taken for negotiations looking to that result.
The Confederate troops continued to leave their camps, so that by the 19th of May a majority of them had gone or were preparing to leave, when the balance of them being discharged started for their homes, taking with them one wagon and team to the company, with their baggage, provisions, and arms.
The scenes at their parting are described by an intelligent young soldier, J. P. Blessington
, of Walker
's division, who kept a daily journal and published it after the war, as follows: ‘The parting among the troops was most affecting.
Many put their arms around each other's necks and sobbed like children; others gave the strong grasp of the hand and silently went away, with a huskily-spoken “Good-bye” or deep oath.
Such were some of the farewell scenes.
Together in battle or camp, in sunshine and in storm, in suffering and pleasure, in sorrow and in ’