Diary of Major R. C. M. Page, Chief of Confederate States artillery, Department of Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee, from October, 1864, to May, 1865.Early in October, 1864, received an order from General R. E. Lee to report for duty to Major-General John C. Breckinridge (Vice-President of the United States of America under Buchanan's administration), in command of the Department of Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee, with headquarters at Wytheville, on the Virginia, East Tennessee & Georgia Railroad, Wythe county, Virginia, of the purpose of reorganizing the artillery of that department. October 7th, 1864.—Reported to General Breckinridge, at Wytheville, for instructions. Informed by Major J. Stoddard Johnston, A. A. G., that some of the artillery was in camp with Vaughan's cavalry brigade, near Saltville, Washington county, Va.; some at Saltville; a battery at lead mines, near Max Meadows station, Wythe county, Va., and one in camp near Wytheville. October 8th, 1864.—Went to Abingdon, Washington county, Va., by rail, and thence to Brigadier-General Vaughan's camp. Found there McClung's battery, tolerably complete, and remnants of Lynch's and Byrne's batteries. As Vaughan was about to advance into East Tennessee, in accordance with instructions from headquarters, I ordered Captain McClung to report to him with two iron 12-pound howitzers, one iron 6-pounder, one Richmond 3-inch rifle, and two caissons. Present for duty: Captain McClung, First Lieutenant Alexander Allison, Senior Second Lieutenant J. L. Pearcy, Junior Second Lieutenant W. G. Dobson, twelve non-commissioned officers, including orderly and quartermaster sergeants and sixty-eight privates. By selecting the best, the battery was fitted out with thirty-six battery  horses, six sergeant's horses, one 2-horse wagon with two mules, and one 4-horse wagon with four mules. Total, forty-eight horses and mules, with harness all in fair order. Ammunition overhauled and carefully repacked. Lynch's and Byrne's remnants ordered back to Wytheville. Former consisted of two Richmond 3-inch rifles, no caissons. Present for duty: Captain J. P. Lynch, First Lieutenant T. C. Elmore (had one eye shot out at Vicksburg), Senior Second Lieutenant William E. Butler, Junior Second Lieutenant John McCampbell; six non-commissioned officers and forty-one privates—the company having been captured at Vicksburg and the rest reported unexchanged. Byrne's remnant: Two brass 12-pound howitzers, two Atlanta 3 inch rifles, no caissons. Captain Byrne reported as wounded and in hospital at Charlottesville, Va. Present for duty: Lieutenant G. O. Talbot in command, four acting gun-corporals and five privates, besides twenty-three men detailed from Duke's cavalry brigade, by order of General Morgan during his raid. Rest of Byrne's officers and men reported captured in Morgan's raid and now in United States prison at Camp Douglas. No note made of horses and wagons; probably unserviceable, if any. October 10th, 1864.—My servant and horse not having yet arrived from Petersburg, Va., walked to Saltville. Found there King's, and remnants of Levi's and Sawyer's batteries. King's: three iron 12-pound howitzers, two brass howitzers, one iron 6 pounder, unserviceable from enlarged vent, and no caissons. Present for duty: Captain William King, Senior First Lieutenant A. B. Smith, Junior First Lieutenant J. S. Buchanan, Senior Second Lieutenant Charles Harris, Junior Second Lieutenant H. L. Branson, fourteen noncommissioned officers and ninety-five privates. Horses and wagons belonged to members of the company, which was raised for local defence and special service, act of Confederate States Congress, August 21st, 1861, and General Order War Department, No. 86, series 1863, paragraph 12. Sawyer's battery, so-called, also a local affair, to be worked by salt-works' employees in case of emergency—one brass 12-pound howitzer, one iron 6-pounder, ancient style with double trail, no caissons and no horses. Captain Sawyer in command. Levi's battery, Captain Barr in command: two iron 12-pound howitzers, one iron 6-pounder, and three caissons. No horses or wagons. Present for duty: Captain Barr, Senior First Lieutenant G. D. Searcy, Junior First Lieutenant W. F. Campbell, ten noncommissioned officers and forty-four privates. Ammunition at Saltville abundant for the number of chests and in fair condition.  October 11th, 1864.—Arrived at Abingdon before daylight, and found my servant and horse just arrived. Returned to Wytheville by train. October 12th, 1864.—Inspected Burroughs' battery, in camp at lead mines near Max Meadow's station. One brass 12-pound howitzer, one iron howitzer, one iron 6-pound howitzer, one Richmond 3-inch rifle, four caissons, one battery forge, three 4-horse wagons, forty-eight battery horses, six sergeants' horses, and sixteen mules; in all, seventy horses and mules. Present for duty: Captain William H. Burroughs, First Lieutenant John E. Blackwell, Senior Second Lieutenant John J. Burroughs, Junior Second Lieutenant James R. Graham; fourteen non-commissioned officers and ninety privates. The battery was in fair condition. October 14th, 1864.—Headquarters Wytheville, Virginia. Inspected Douthat's battery, encamped near here: one 3-inch Richmond rifle, three captured United States 10-pound Parrotts, two caissons, three 4-horse wagons, thirty-six battery horses, six sergeants' horses, five extra horses, and twelve wagon mules; in all, fifty-nine horses and mules, all in fair condition. Present for duty: Captain H. C. Douthat, Senior First Lieutenant F. G. Openchain, Junior First Lieutenant James B. Wright, Senior Second Lieutenant F. C. Wood, Junior Second Lieutenant James L. Burks; twelve noncommissioned officers and one hundred and six privates. Captain Lynch and Lieutenant Talbot, with the remnants of their respective companies, arrived to-day, and all went into camp at the Fair Grounds. Summary of report to General Breckinridge: 12-pound howitzers, 14; 6 pound howitzers, 5; Confederate States 3-inch rifles, 7; United States 10-pound Parrotts, 3; total number of guns, 29; total number of caissons, 11; battery forge, I; wagons serviceable, 8; total number serviceable horses and mules, 177. Present for duty: one major, chief of artillery, seven captains, twenty lieutenants; in all, twenty-eight commissioned officers, sixty-eight noncommis-sioned officers, and four hundred and fifty-three privates, including Byrne's four acting gun-corporals. Total effective force, five hundred and forty-nine. Number of chests insufficient, but those on hand are full of ammunition in good order. Guns and carriages in good order generally, but the harness is poor. The men are much in need of clothing, and especially shoes, are badly drilled and worse disciplined. The report does not include the horses of commissioned officers and those of King's battery.  October 18th, 1864.—Removed to camp on William Souther's farm near by. Drilled, repaired harness and the like. October 20th, 1864.—Removed to camp on Kent's farm in the neighborhood, where we remained until November 5th. Drilled, reorganized, procured horses and one wagon for Lynch. October 22d, 1864.—--Douthat's battery ordered to report to Colonel Thomas H. Carter in the Shenandoah Valley. October 28th, 1864.—McClung's battery, acting with Vaughan's cavalry brigade in East Tennessee, reported captured, correct. Lieutenants Pearcy and Dobson escaped. Kept on drilling; experimented firing guns this month, General Breckinridge and others being present; resulted in condemning as worthless every gun at Wytheville except Byrne's two 12-pound howitzers, including especially the two Atlanta 3 inch rifles and a brass rifled nondescript from Captain Semple's ordnance store at Wytheville. Lynch's and Byrne's companies merged into one under command of Captain Lynch, giving him now fifty privates, with the two 12-pound howitzers. Duke's twenty-three men ordered back to their brigade. November 1st, 1864.—Wytheville, Virginia. Summary of report of Major R. C. M. Page, Chief of Artillery, to Major J. Stoddard Johnston, A. A. G.: seventeen guns, seven caissons, one battery forge, four 4-horse wagons, sixty battery horses, eight sergeants' horses, and twenty mules, in all eighty-eight horses and mules, not including those of commissioned officers and King's battery. Present for duty: twenty-one commissioned officers including Lieutenants Pearcy and Dobson, forty-four non-commissioned officers, and two hundred and seventy-nine privates — a total effective force of three hundred and forty-four. Burroughs ordered into camp on Kent's farm with Lynch. The nine condemned guns sent by rail to Richmond. November 5th, 1864.—Wytheville, Virginia. In view of an early advance into East Tennessee, received orders to send a battery to Vaughan near Carter's station, Virginia, East Tennessee & Georgia Railroad, Carter county, Tennessee. Ordered Lynch with his own 12-pound howitzer section, and Burroughs' section of 12-pound howitzers, to report to Vaughan. Transported by rail. November 8th, 1864.—Wytheville, Virginia. Started by rail today for Carter's station, East Tennessee, with Captain Burroughs and his remaining section. Lieutenants Pearcy and Dobson accompanied me. Arrived same night at Bristol, Sullivan county, Tennessee, just on the border line; remained in the cars until morning.  November 9th, 1864.—Arrived at Carter's station and unloaded. Marched with Lynch and Burroughs to Jonesborough station and thence into camp near Leesburg, Washington county, Tennessee. November 10th, 1864.—Marched to Henderson's Mill on the road to Bull's Gap and went into camp, Lieutenant John McCampbell, of Lynch's battery, acting as quartermaster. November 11th, 1864,—Arrived at Bull's Gap, Hawkins county, Tennessee, about sundown. Enemy, under General Gilliam, are strongly posted with four 3-inch navy Parrotts at the summit and two 3-inch navy Parrotts in an earthwork at the foot. Number of his men unknown. After some picket firing, skirmish line is moved up closer so as to get guns in position. Captain Burroughs' section of one iron 6-pounder and 3-inch rifle on hill to right of road at entrance of valley; Captain Lynch with four 12-pound howitzers nearer the enemy and on brow of little ridge in the bottom, just to the right of the road. Plan: Vaughan to get into their rear by Taylor's Gap on our left; Crittenden in front with about three hundred men, collected from the nitre and mining bureau, and the artillery; while General Breckinridge was to lead a flank assault with Duke's, Cosby's and Prentiss' cavalry dismounted. In order to do this, he had to ascend the mountain on our right in the night, guided by a citizen who was acquainted with the locality. A signal gun was to be fired at daylight for a general attack. November 12th, 1864.—Lynch fired the signal gun promptly at daybreak. As soon as the attack commenced, received permission from General Crittenden to lead a skirmish line forward so as to secure an eminence for shelling the earthwork and two guns at foot of gap. Accompanied by Lieutenants Pearcy and Dobson. All the men and artillery soon followed. Lieutenant Blackwell's horse killed. Just then, as all was ready for an assault on the earthwork, General Crittenden informed me that General Breckinridge had been repulsed with considerable loss, and the whole command had orders to fall back at once to the entrance of the valley to await an expected attack. Accordingly, we fell back at once. As we occupied a strong position, however, the enemy did not attack, but was evidently preparing to retreat, and it was determined to follow them up. As soon as it was dark, General Breckinridge moved the whole force rapidly by Taylor's Gap on our left. November 13th, 1864.—At about 4 A. M. struck Gilliam in left flank as he was retreating and completely routed his force, capturing all his guns (six Parrotts), wagons, ambulances, and a considerable  quantity of small arms that had been thrown away. A section of Jeter's battery, from Asheville, North Carolina, now reported to me. It had come up with other troops from that quarter. Camped near Russellville, Hamblin county, Tennessee, towards morning. November 14th, 1864.—Marched to camp, near Morristown, Hamblin county, Tennessee. Lynch now received two of the captured guns and Burroughs four. November 15th, 1864.—Lynch, with two brass 12 pound howitzers and two United States Parrotts, without any caissons, ordered to report to Vaughan for further active operations. November 16th, 1864.—Burroughs' battery, together with four captured Parrotts (eight guns) and six captured caissons, with harness, etc. (ten in all), ordered back into camp, near Wytheville, Va. Lieutenant McCampbell ordered back to his company (Lynch's). November 23d, 1864.—Eyes so inflamed by cold and wind could not bear the light. Rode in a wagon with the wounded, head wrapped up in a blanket. Awful road. Arrived at Mrs. Poague's, Bull's Gap. General Breckinridge and staff returned to Wytheville. Va. November 24th, 1864.—Arrived at a farmer's house between Blue Springs and Greenville, Greene county, Tennessee. Remained there that night. November 25th, 1864.—Reached Greenville and stayed at the house of Mrs. Williams. Was informed that General Morgan was sleeping at this house when he was surprised and killed in the back yard. Dangerous to be alone in this part of the country, as it swarms with bushwhackers and deserters from both armies. November 26th, 1864.—Arrived at Rheatown, Greene county, Tennessee. November 27th, arrived at Jonesboro, where I took train, arriving at Wytheville, Va., November 28th, 1864, and remained at Mrs. Dowdall's on account of sore eyes. Her son, Theodore, since dead, was my courier. December 12th, 1864.—Wytheville, Va. General Stoneman, United States army, reported advancing upon Saltville with four thousand men and artillery. Burroughs' battery had been already reorganized, and now consisted of four United States 3-inch navy Parrotts. His original four guns had been turned over to Captain Semple, ordnance officer. December 14th, 1864.—Wytheville, Va. Lieutenant Minor, of General Breckinridge's staff, brought me an order about 2 A. M. to prepare to move at once. Left Wytheville to-day with Burroughs'  battery of four United States Parrotts and only two caissons, roads being heavy. December 15th, 1864.—Reached Saltville; placed Burroughs in Fort Breckinridge, Barr in Fort Hatton, Lieutenant Kain (or Kane, I am unable to state to what organization he belonged) in the right upper casemate, and Lieutenant Dobson in left upper casemate, each with 12-pound howitzers. December 6th, 1864.—Placed two of Barr's guns (howitzers) under Captain Barr in Fort Statham, also Lieutenant Burroughs with one rifle. Stoneman, not wishing to attack the troops posted at Saltville, determined to pass by us on his way towards Salem to destroy the railroad, which he did. Withdrew Burroughs to Palmer's House, and the whole force moved towards Seven-Mile Ford on the principal turnpike, Smyth county, Va., to attack Stoneman in flank, if possible. Barr, King, and Sawyer were left at Saltville; Barr in command. To-day Lynch's battery, acting with Vaughan's brigade, was captured at Walter's bridge, most of the men and officers fortunately escaping. December 17th, 1864.—After marching all night over Iron (or Walker's) mountain, we arrived to-day at Marion, the county seat of Smyth county, Va., in Stoneman's rear. Thereupon he turned, and fighting—just east of Marion—began in the afternoon. While Lieutenant Graham, of Burroughs' battery, was making excellent shots with one of the captured Parrotts, it transpired that two of these guns were worthless, much to the disgust of General Cosby, who was present and saw some of his men almost shot in the back by them. December 18th, 1864.—Lieutenant Burroughs with a section of one good and one worn-out United States navy Parrott in advance, near the bridge. After firing a few rounds, was ordered to withdraw, and all of Burroughs' battery posted on the hill, just on right of turnpike. In line of battle all day: Duke on the right, Cosby in the centre, and Vaughan and Prentiss on the left; in all, probably, about two thousand five hundred men; but what was noticeable, many of them without arms. Rain. Occasional skirmishing. Stoneman in our front, and reported at night as working around in our rear also. Council of war held. General Breckinridge decided to slip out by a right-flank movement over Glade mountains to the southward. Ordered me to spike all the guns and abandon them, as he was informed by citizens in the place that it would be impossible to haul them up the mountains. Received permission to try, however. Rained hard,  and very dark and favorable to our movement. Retreated by Staley's creek, which was now a torrent, but the road was the bed of the creek most of the way, until we began the steep ascent. Remnants of refugee carts found abandoned. Most of the cavalry were ordered to retreat first, then the artillery, with Duke's brigade bringing up the rear. One caisson and one wagon had to be abandoned, having been accidently overturned, and were destroyed by the enemy, who ceased to follow up. December 19th, 1864.—On top of the mountains at daylight with all the guns safe and awaiting an expected attack, which, however, did not occur. December 20th, 1864.—Reached Mt. Airy by Rye Valley road and camped on the MacAdamized turnpike. Stoneman, meantime, passed on without further trouble to Saltville, where he destroyed the salt works and eight guns, Captain King escaping with two brass 12-pound howitzers of his own and one of Sawyer's battery. The officers and men mostly escaped, the nature of the country easily permitting them to do so. December 21st, 1864.—Reached Wytheville. Weather fearfully cold, clothing and boots frozen, and many of the men more or less frost-bitten. Pushing and dragging the guns over Glade mountain, and the terrible march following, as well as that from Saltville to Marion, were among the severest trials ever experienced. The enemy retreated into Tennessee, but became frost-bitten and disorganized. They abandoned four United States 3-inch rifles, which they spiked and threw into a creek. They destroyed the carriages and caissons. These guns were found, however, and brought back to Wytheville, where they were put in beautiful order and nicely mounted by Captain Semple, of the Ordnance Department. At last we had four field guns worthy of the name. They were put under command of Captain J. P. Lynch. Meantime Douthat had returned, and he, Burroughs and Lynch were ordered into winter quarters near Wytheville. January 1st, 1865.—Wytheville, Va. Went to Richmond early this month by order of General Breckinridge, in order to exchange some of our guns for better, if possible. Will be twenty-four years old tomorrow. About this time received a letter from Major Thomas U. Dudley (now Bishop of Kentucky), of the Commissary Department at Richmond, Va., complimentary regarding the Bull's Gap affair and suggesting that Lieutenant J. Henry Cochran, formerly of my battery in Lee's army, be transferred to our department as my adjutant. This letter, cordially endorsed with my approval, was also  approved by General Breckinridge. Arrived in Richmond, I left the letter at the War Department with the request that it be attended to immediately. Saw Colonel Leroy Broun, of the Ordnance Department. Explained to me that the grooves of the two worthless United States 3-inch navy Parrotts captured near Bull's Gap were worn out towards the breach, and hence worthless. He ordered several guns sent to Wytheville, and a selection was made. January 10th, 1865.—Returned to Wytheville. The artillery of the department now consisted of: Lynch, four United States 3-inch rifles, three caissons; Burroughs, two United States 3-inch navy Parrotts (good), two iron 6-pounders, four caissons; Douthat, four 12-pound howitzers, four caissons; King, three brass 12-pound howitzers, one Richmond 3 inch rifle, no caissons; total, sixteen guns, eleven caissons. All other guns in the department sent back to Richmond, so that the only bad piece we had now was the Richmond 3-inch rifle, none of which had ever been worth hauling about any way. Remnants of McClung's, Barr's and Sawyer's men were merged into Lynch's battery. January 18th, 1865.—Wytheville, Virginia. Lieutenant J. Henry Cochran reported to me for duty. January 21st, 1865.—Captain Lynch sent to Grayson county, Virginia, to collect stragglers. About this time General Breckinridge was appointed Confederate States Secretary of War in place of James A. Seddon, and Brigadier-General John Echols succeeded to the command. Bridges destroyed by Stoneman last month quickly rebuilt by Major Poore, Chief of Engineers. March 30th, 1865.—Up to this time had remained in winter quarters. Douthat, who on the 14th of March had been ordered to Farmville, Virginia, via Lynchburg, had his order revoked, and reported to me at Wytheville. Supplied with fifty-nine new battery horses, in excellent condition, those unserviceable being turned over to Major McMahon, Quartermaster. Lynch supplied with horses and harness, and others also where needed. March 31st, 1865.—King reported to me at Wytheville, and Lynch, who had been sent to Marion on the 25th, returned. April 3d, 1865.—Moved with Douthat's and Burroughs' batteries, and camped at Brick Church, near Marion, leaving Lynch and King at Wytheville. April 5th, 1865.—Returned and camped near Mount Airy. Sent Lynch on to Wytheville with Giltner's cavalry. Marched with Douthat's battery to-night by an old road to Wytheville, and all  the artillery and troops encamped near Wytheville. No enemy reported anywhere near. The artillery had been fitted out with serviceable horses and harness, and was in good condition. Five more caissons would have made it perfect. The movements had been made only to practise. Now, however, we were all to march as rapidly as possible to join Lee's army. April 7th, 1865.—Moved through Wytheville going east, colors flying, in following order: Lynch, Burroughs, Douthat, King, four batteries of four guns each. ‘The best battalion of artillery ever seen in that part of the world,’ remarked one of Lee's inspectors, as the column moved by. It was among the last flickers of life before the rapidly dying Confederacy was to enter into eternal rest. Marched to Dublin, Pulaski county, Virginia, and camped on the road-side. April 8th, 1865.—New river too high to cross, so we had to remain in camp to-day. April 9th, 1865.—Arrived at English's Ferry, New river. Five wagons attempting to ford, only one succeeded in crossing. Of the other four, the mules of one wagon swam back to where they entered and got out. The remaining three were washed away. The teams and all hands drowned, except one negro, who remained on top of some hay. Twelve mules were drowned and twenty-five men, including teamsters and sick and wounded soldiers. There was a boat, but too frail for transporting artillery. In an ambulance was General Early-ill with pneumonia. Before crossing over in the boat he desired to see General Echols, to whom he remarked that ‘it looked like getting Southern rights in the territories!’ Moved the artillery up the river and camped near Newbern, Pulaski county, Virginia. April 10th, 1865.—Crossed New river at Cecil's Ford, and marched by horrible road all night to the turnpike near Christiansburg, Montgomery county, Virginia. April 11th, 1865.—Joined General Echols near Christiansburg at 4 A. M. Captain Semple, being dismounted, asked me to bend down from my horse as he had something to tell me. ‘Lee, with his whole army, has surrendered,’ whispered he into my ear. Did not believe it-thought there must be some mistake. Moved on to Christiansburg, and parked the guns in a field southeast of the town. They were never moved again by Confederate soldiers, for the news of Lee's surrender was true., April 12th, 1865.—Council of war was held. Vaughan cut matters  short by calling on General Crittenden for his opinion. ‘My opinion is that the war is over,’ said he. It was determined to disband the artillery, allowing officers and men (the horses and mules were distributed among the latter) to join such commands as they chose. The following order, now in my possession, was received:
Lieutenant Cochran and myself went to the house of Mr. Tebbs, in Christiansburg, and got something to eat. We gave him as pay our mess-chest and cooking utensils, consisting of one skillet and a few iron knives and forks, tin plates, etc. When we got back to camp, General Echols and most of his command had already departed, with the purpose of joining General Joseph E. Johnston. We then determined to return to Northern Virginia and join Mosby, but learning on the way that Johnston had also surrendered, we went to our respective homes, he to Loudoun county, Virginia, and I to Albemarle. Neither of us had a cent of money, but at Christiansburg, just before the break-up, Lieutenant Branham lent me five dollars in gold, which we found was a perfect Godsend. I returned the amount afterwards, as soon as Lieutenant Branham sent me his address. I had drawn no pay for some time, so that the Confederate States owed me, for back pay, about $1,600. The excuse was that Confederate money was too scarce to pay off the troops! Early in May, after consulting with Hon. W. C. Rives, formerly United States Senator from Virginia, I went to Richmond with Captain George C. Dickinson, formerly of New York, and in the Capitol building we took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America before General Patrick, of Ord's command. It is safe to say that it is one oath, at least, I have never broken. Saw Sherman's forty thousand men pass through en route to Washington.