previous next


The second year passed with five hundred and sixty-four battles and engagements, including Shiloh, the seven days battle, which made the dark waters of the Chickahominy run red, Second Manassas and Fredericksburg, and his prowess was proved to the civilized world.

The third year passed with six hundred and twenty-seven battles and engagements.

It saw his pride at the highest and his hope brightest when, fresh from the victories of Chancellorsville, he invaded the soil of Pennsylvania.

Alas! for human hopes!

Gettysburg turned backward his footsteps and started anxiety in his breast.

How long could these bloody years last?

Surely, not longer than seven, as his ancestors' revolution had cost!

Then the fourth year passed, with seven hundred and seventy-nine battles and engagements.

His anxiety was over.

He saw the inevitable end.

Hope of success was gone.

It was only a question of the days he might be spared before the bullet pierced his heart.

He saw the end before the statesmen in the Capitol at Richmond. He knew overwhelming numbers would crush out the soldiery of the South.

His comrades were falling, and no recruits came to fill their places. He saw the end and felt it in the summer of 1864, but his allegiance to the army, his duty to himself and his family bade him go almost daily to a hopeless slaughter, and often he marched to battle for his personal honor, without the slightest hope for his country's independence.

Can you imagine heroism more sublime than the private infantryman's who held the front lines of the Confederacy during the last half of 1864 and the winter and spring of 1865?

Around Petersburg along the disastrous line of retreat to Appomattox, and even there he shouldered his musket and yielded ready obedience to the order for a charge, until his matchless commander said his duty to his country had been ‘faithfully performed,’ and further resistance would be a useless sacrifice.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1864 AD (2)
1865 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: