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A surrender.

Before a gun could be fired, however, a man was seen to emerge from the fort, bearing aloft a flag of truce. Lieutenant Clopton and Sergeant-Major Fleming went out to meet the bearer of the flag, quickly followed by several non-commissioned officers and privates. On our men's reaching the fort, the officer in command made a formal surrender. The main stipulation (verbal, and being agreed to verbally) was that the officers should retain their side-arms.

In a conversation with one of the Federal artillerists he was asked:

‘Why did you not fire on that artillery company as it drove through the lawn?’

“We were preparing to fire,” he answered; ‘but really did not know what to do.’

“Why was that?” he was asked.

‘Well, we thought it might be men coming to relieve us.’

But don't you think they took a peculiar route to reach the fort? he was asked.

‘True; but we did not realize that fact until it was too late.’

“But did you not note the red caps worn by the men?” was the rejoinder. (Some of the Fayette Company wore red caps.)

To which he replied: ‘Yes; we noticed the red caps, but some of our men had got to wear them, and other caps, as well.’

After the articles of surrender had been agreed to, Lieutenant Clopton commanded members of his company who were present to mount the horses and drive the captured guns to camp, and there were no members of that company prouder than these. The guns— 3 inch steel rifles—a few days afterward were presented to the company by General George E. Pickett, and they were held on to until after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee, at Appomattox, when they were spiked and cut down just across the river at Lynchburg, on the Staunton road.

Not long after the fort surrendered, about half a dozen of the infantry performed a daring and hazardous feat, which probably was not excelled during the war. They were out in the woods and ran out to a company of the boys in blue. It was no time to show the white feather, and our boys became as brave and fearless as Caesars. One of them ordered the company to ground arms and surrender, at the same time giving orders to some one unseen, to tell Captain [296]

——to order up Company A at once. The blue-coats quickly grounded their arms, and surrendered to these six men. The orderly sergeant also gave up his book, and on examining it, it was found out that some of these men were deserters from the Confederate army, the roll-book showing the name of the company and regiment to which they belonged, the date of their desertion, and of their enlistment in the Federal service.

Now the Confederates had pillaged the block fort and secured blue coats and tall hats worn by the Federals, and they had the appearace of being Yankees, for there was no difference in the uniform they had on and that worn by their prisoners. They were tramping down the road toward the camp, while General Corse and staff were riding toward the fort. The two parties soon came into full view of each other, and the General remarked: ‘We are in for it now.’ He believed that he had ridden right into the hands of the enemy, and there was nothing to do but surrender.

The Confederate guard seemed to note the disturbed condition of the General, for they assured him they were friends.

“Who are you?” he asked.

‘We are Southerners, General, with prisoners.’

“What are you doing with that blue uniform on?” he asked.

“We captured it at the fort,” they answered.

“Get to the camp,” said the General, ‘and as soon as you reach there take it off.’

The General and staff turned and went back with the guard and their prisoners, which reassured the Confederates, for they trembled lest the prisoners should suddenly turn on them, wrest their guns from their hands, make the guards prisoners, and then make their way to New Berne through the woods.

The next day found the infantry and artillery on their return march, arriving safely at Kinston, where a stop was made for some time, as a serious business demanded the attention of the general officer, General Pickett having assumed command.

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