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Feeding General Lee's army. [from the Washington Post, January 25, 1894.]

A New version of an incident of the surrender at Appomattox.

Editor of the Washington Post:
The incidents connected with the order for the issue of rations to General Lee's army at the time of the arrangement of the details of the surrender, as given in the account published in your issue of [361] the 20th instant, are not quite accurate as to the personnel involved, according to my recollection.

I was General Grant's chief commissary, and was present in the room during the interview between him and General Lee. After the terms of the surrender had been agreed upon, General Lee said to General Grant:

‘General, I would like my army fed.’ General Grant turned to me, as his chief commissary, and said: ‘Colonel, feed the Confederate army.’ I asked: ‘How many men are there?’ General Grant asked: ‘How many men have you, General Lee?’

General Lee replied, ‘Our books are lost; our organizations are broken up; the companies are mostly commanded by noncommissioned officers; we have nothing but what we have on our backs—’

Interrupting him in this train of thought, I suggested, interrogatively: ‘Say 25,000 men?’

He replied: ‘Yes; say 25,000 men.’

I started to withdraw for the purpose of giving the necessary orders, and at the door met Colonel Kellogg, the chief commissary of General Sheridan's command. I asked him if he could feed the Army of Northern Virginia. He expressed his inability, having something very important to do for General Sheridan.

I then found Colonel M. P. Small, the chief commissary of General Ord's army, and asked him, as I had asked General Sheridan's chief commissary, if he could feed the Army of Northern Virginia. He replied, with a considerable degree of confidence, ‘I guess so.’ I then told him to do it, and directed him to give the men three days rations of fresh beef, salt, hard bread, coffee, and sugar. He mounted his horse immediately, and proceeded to carry out his order.

Both Colonels Kellogg and Small are now dead.

That we had any rations on the spot to spare may be wondered at when the swiftness and extent of the pursuit are considered; but we had, and we soon found sufficient to supply the famishing army.

I incline to the opinion that any conversation with General Sheridan, who was also present, about issuing 25,000 rations must have taken place after I was on my way to see that General Grant's order to feed the Army of Northern Virginia was put into execution, as above detailed.

Michael R. Morgan, Assistant Commissary General of Subsistence.

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