The last salute of the Army of Northern Virginia.
[from the Boston Journal, May, 1901.j
Details of the surrender of General Lee
at Appomattox Courthouse, April 9th, 1865.
It is an astounding fact that among the thousands of official documents bearing upon the Civil war in the National Archives
there is absolutely nothing dealing with one of the most dramatic features of the great four years internal struggle-the actual ceremonies attendant upon the formal surrender by General Lee
's army of all Confederate property in their possession at Appomattox Courthouse thirty-six years ago.
When General Lee
surrendered to General Grant
, April 9th, 1865, the war was virtually over, but of the details of the surrender, the pathetic sadness on the one side, the jubilant satisfaction on the other, and, more particularly of the precise arrangements, the mode of procedure and the Northern
army officer whose duty it became to take charge of the rebel arms and the rebel battleflags as they were given up—of all this our official war records tell not a word.
Why this is so the chief actor in the closing scene of the bloody drama, General Joshua L. Chamberlain
, of Brunswick, Me.
, set forth in a pithy sentence to a Boston Journal
writer the other night: ‘The war was over when Lee
signed the terms of surrender, and with the closing of the war all official record-writing ceased.’
And just as it is true that there are no official records bearing upon this notable surrender scene, so also is it true that there are no official records describing the really remarkable disbandment of the Southern
military and its departure in fragments for home.
Only recently, in fact, has this matter been treated of, and that by a magazine almost four decades after the event!
Truly, some of the most absorbing history is, in the minting, slow quite beyond belief.
Passing strange it seems almost that upon a writer of a generation which has no intimate connection with the Civil war should devolve the not unpleasant, nor in the light of facts,