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[252] And then in the east began the siege of Petersburg

With scream of shot and burst of shell
And bellowing of the mortars.

In the west battles followed in quick succession. Peach Tree creek, siege of Atlanta, Jonesboro, Mill Creek gap, Columbia, Franklin, second Murfreesboro, Nashville, and Spanish Fort in Mobile bay, Alabama.

Meanwhile, at Petersburg, in our trenches,

We lay along the battery's side,
Below the smoking cannon,

But—

The enemy's mines had crept surely in,
And the end was coming fast.

It was smoke and roar and powder stench,
And weary waiting for death.

So the men plied their hopeless war
And knew that the end was near.

April 2, the lines were broken. By a singular coincidence the Fifth Company held Spanish Fort, Mobile bay, and a detachment of the Washington Artillery were in Fort Gregg—the two last forts held by our two armies.

Fort Gregg, a detached work south of Petersburg, was defended by 150 Mississippians, of Harris's brigade, and two guns of the Washington Artillery, under the intrepid McElroy. The Federals, 5,000 strong, under Gibbon, attacked, and were thrice driven back by our messengers of destruction and death. Again and again they charged, until upon this little spot, it was like unto the fire of hell, and amid the crashing rain of leaden missiles, severing soul from body, the brave little garrison was overwhelmed and taken prisoners. Swinton says out of 200 souls in Gregg, but thirty lived to be taken, and the victory cost the Federals dear, as the defendants had killed three to one of the assailants, and our retreat began—marching, starving, hopeless, yet still fighting and keeping the enemy at bay, till in the forenoon of April 9, our beloved commander, the glorious Lee, laid down his arms at Appomattox Courthouse. His simple words are graven on our hearts: ‘Men, we have fought through the war together. I have done the best I could for you. My heart is too full to say more.’

We all know the grand pathos of those simple words, of that


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