previous next

[154] myself as Captain Thompson, of the Portsmouth Light Artillery Company. Presenting the order, I said: ‘General, I have come to ask for a reconsideration of this order.’ He replied: ‘Captain, that order was from the best information of the condition of the artillery of the Army of Northern Virginia, and it was promulgated for the best interest of that arm of the service. The distribution was not intended to reflect upon the officers or men, but was necessary for the better organization of the artillery corps. Now, Captain, you know that the highest duty of a soldier is to obey orders; go to Richmond as your orders require and do whatever you may be ordered. It is just as honorable to do your duty there, and far safer.’ The great commander treated me with the utmost consideration, and I saw it was useless to say more on that question, so I said: ‘General Lee, I wish to shake your hand’ He gave me a warm handshake, and we parted.

I went to Richmond as required, reported and was assigned to duty in the provost marshal's office.

After awhile, I was sent to Augusta, Ga., to supervise the transportation of prisoners to Andersonville, when the prison at that place was established. On my return to Richmond, General Winder made a requisition for me to command the prison at Andersonville, upon which an order was made out and sent to me, which I returned with this endorsement:

‘I respectfully return this order to the general commanding the Department of Henrico, with this statement: Captain Thompson did not enter the Confederate army to become a “Jack Ketch,” a jailer or a prison keeper.’

General Gardner immediately sent for me and said: ‘Captain, do you know the responsibility you have incurred by such an endorsement on an official paper?’ I said: ‘I mean no disrespect; but I hope you will take up my cause and keep me from being a prison keeper.’ Through my general's influence the orders were revoked and Captain Henry Wirz was sent in my place.

Friends, I cannot go over my military service in further detail. I was in Danville when General Lee surrendered, went in company with Mr. J. H. Sands, of Richmond, to Greensville, N. C. There General Beauregard advised us to go back to Dick Taylor. I said: ‘If there is a spot of land where our flag flies, I will find it.’ We

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Greenville, North Carolina (North Carolina, United States) (1)
Danville (Virginia, United States) (1)
Augusta (Georgia, United States) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John H. Thompson (2)
Fitz Lee (2)
Henry Wirz (1)
Winder (1)
Dick Taylor (1)
J. H. Sands (1)
W. F. Gardner (1)
G. T. Beauregard (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: