that General Lee
had surrendered until Wednesday, and then we could get no reliable account of anything.
The fact is, our captors, or those with whom we could have any conversation, did not seem to take any sort of interest in affairs, and did not seem to know or care anything about what was going on. Soldiering was altogether mechanical with them.
And those who were in charge of our camp did not even seem to take any especial interest in their business.
Our soldiers, the prisoners I mean, broke the dead line constantly, and jeered and guyed the guards, until I confidently expected they would shoot into our camp, but they manifested neither pleasure nor displeasure, and I think any Confederate could have walked away that wished to—some, I suppose, did go. I am sure of it; but there was so little prospect of a man's getting home, without money, without food, or without friends, that few thought their chances would be improved by going away.
Then, too, if Lee
had surrendered, was not the war over?
However, the hopes of all who thought that way were soon dissipated.
On Thursday morning, an order came for the officers amongst the prisoners to be mustered and registered.
We were gotten out and put in line to march.
I noticed the officer of the guard with a badge pinned on the lapel of his coat, which indicated that he was a Mason, or I thought so, and, drawing a bow at a venture, I took an opportunity, the first time he came near me, to give a signal of distress.
He came to me and asked what he could do for me. I asked what he was going to do with me. He said that the officers were to be sent to Fort Lafayette.
Then I replied, I would like to get away.
He said: ‘I will do anything for you which is not in violation of my oath as a soldier.’
‘What grounds have you for asking to be released?’
I said: ‘I am a non-combatant.’
He remarked: ‘Are you not one of the surgeons who were captured with that artillery which did such fearful execution amongst our men on Saturday night last?’
I said: ‘Yes, but I was not at a gun—I never pulled a lanyard in my life.’
He smiled and said: ‘You were in mighty bad company then and will have to take your chances with them.’
After a little time, he came back and said: ‘According to the terms of General Lee
's surrender all men and officers captured within so many hours before the time of surrender, and within so many miles of Appomattox Courthouse, are entitled to their liberty and parole.’
‘Well,’ I said, ‘if that be so, I and my three friends here and some eighty or more Alabamians of Gracie
's brigade, with ’