previous next

The last charge at Appomattox.

(see ante pages 69 to 70).

[The following from the Baltimore Sun, of February 7, 1906, is published herein at the request of a correspondent.—editor.]

The last fighting at Appomattox.

That the last blow was struck, the last shot fired in defense of the Confederacy at Appomattox by the First Maryland, as claimed by ‘Ex-Confederate’ and Col. W. A. Morgan, of the First Virginia Cavalry, who that day was in command of Lomax's brigade, is not borne out by the facts that did occur on that day. If you will allow me space in your valuable paper I will tell the story as I saw it. On the morning of the 9th, at 7 o'clock, Gen. Fitzhugh Lee's division of cavalry, commanded by Gen. T. T. Munford, made a detour to the right of our army, passing in the rear of Gen. Grant's forces until we reached the road leading from Appomattox to Lynchburg, our forces skirmishing with the enemy the entire route.

When the Lynchburg road was reached Companies C and F of the First Virginia Cavalry were ordered in the direction of Appomattox Court House. We moved down the road a short distance and halted. Col. Wooldridge, of the Fourth Virginia Cavalry, was in command of Munford's brigade. General Munford ordered Colonel Wooldridge to hold the road leading to Appomattox Court House at all hazards. The writer was in command of the squadron composed of C and F, First Virginia Cavalry. My orders were to charge the enemy as soon as he came in sight. As we sat upon our horses the enemy came in view. They formed in line of battle, their lines stretching far to our right and left. It seemed to be the whole of Sheridan's cavalry corps. The enemy put out a heavy skirmish line. I ordered my squadron to deploy as skirmishers to meet the enemy. We opened on them; they returned the fire and advanced upon us; there were other troops on my right and left engaged with the enemy. They forced us back some distance and the firing continued briskly until the enemy commenced to fall back to their main line, when we followed them [192] up. The First Maryland Cavalry charged down the road in advance of my skirmish line, but soon fell back, after losing one of their men. We continued to follow the enemy up until we were able to open on them at close range. The firing was kept up some time, when I noticed that the enemy had ceased firing. An officer was seen coming down the road with a white flag. The firing ceased; we met the officer and he introduced himself as Captain Sheridan, of General Custer's staff. He informed us that Generals Grant and Lee were holding a conference looking to the surrender of General Lee's army. He asked us to cease firing until the result of the conference was made known. This we believe to have been the last blow struck and the last shot fired in defense of the Confederacy. If those who struck the last blow are entitled to any special honor, then Colonel Wooldridge and his men have a right to claim the proud distinction of having fired the last shot that was fired by the Army of Northern Virginia.

I would not pluck a single flower from the chaplet that adorns the brow of any. But in justice to Col. William B. Wooldridge and his brave men, I must say that while the First Maryland was far back in the rear, enjoying their ‘lunch of hardtack and raw bacon’ until half-past 2 or 3 o'clock, Col. Wooldridge and his gallant men, without food for man or beast, had been grappling with the foe from sunrise until the closing scenes at Appomattox.

This bit of history can be substantiated by many of the Second Brigade, who were there that day, or the gallant Thomas Munford, who led it to victory on more than a hundred fields.

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)
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.
William B. Wooldridge (5)
T. T. Munford (3)
Fitzhugh Lee (3)
Sheridan (2)
Ulysses Grant (2)
W. A. Morgan (1)
Lomax (1)
Editors (1)
Custer (1)
M. J. Billmyer (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
February 7th, 1906 AD (1)
9th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: