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[45] dashed at the leader of the charging troop, who was somewhat in advance of his men. Unhorsing him with a single shot, he seized the rein of the riderless steed, and amidst the volleys of his pursuers, led him off the field. But it was, perhaps, in the closing days of the Confederacy that his fine qualities stood out in boldest relief and made him a conspicuous figure in that last drama of the war. On that memorable retreat of Lee to Appomattox, when disasters thickened and famine and the sword was destroying his gallant army, when the hearts of many were bowed down before bodings of evil, the spirit of James Thomson was quickened with a more unselfish and a loftier patriotism. With a handful of the men of his old battery, he rushed from point to point, appearing always in the forefront of the fight and with voice and action urging his comrades ‘Once more to the breach.’

In the fight at Jetersville on the day before his death, where a remnant of his old brigade, under the gallant Deering, chased for miles a greatly superior force of the enemy, Major Thomson was wounded. In that charge fell the gallant Captain Hugh McGuire, whose company was at the head of the charging column, and many others of the best and bravest. Unless at High Bridge the next day, never was there a greater exhibition of dauntless courage than was shown in that fight, when a small band of starved men on broken down horses, with repeated assaults upon a greatly superior foe. broke it with the sabre, for several miles strewing the road with Federal dead. Among the band of heroes rode Thomson, and well I remember, in the forefront he rode. He, next day, though disabled by a wound in the arm, fought his last battle. The ‘Pitch’ field was near High Bridge, over which a part of Lee's army expected to cross the Appomattox. A picked body of Federal cavalry and infantry under Colonel Washburn and General Reid were sent to destroy it.

The morning after the fight at Jetersville Major Thomson fell in with the column of Mahone's Division, to which I was attached. He was pale and feeble and much depressed over the situation of our army. When he was about to leave me to rejoin his command, I said: ‘Remember, if you go into a fight in your present condition, it will be suicide.’ After riding a few paces, he turned back and said, in the saddest tones, ‘I do not wish to survive the Confederacy.’ Says Rosser: ‘Thomson and I rode out together on the ’

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