War of the Rebellion: Serial 095 Page 1282 N. AND SE.VA.,N.C.,W.VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter LVIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

on, when General Gordon [then commanding Second Corps, with the justly honored General A. L. Long, his chief of artillery] pressed back the enemy's line near the road along which all our wagons were passing, so as to allow these to get well on their way. This position was held all day, and it was not until midnight that the column moved on the road toward Buckingham Court-House. In spite of the terrible roads quite a long march was effected, and the evening of the 8th saw the head of our column near Appomattox Court-House. I pushed on in person to communicate with General Walker, and found him with his command parked about two miles beyond the Court-House on the road to Appomattox Station, South Side Railroad. While I was with him an attack wholly unexpected was made by the enemy on his defenseless camp. To avert immediate disaster from this attack demanded the exercise of all our energies. It was, however, at once effectually repelled by the aid especially of the two gallant artillery companies of Captains Walker and Dickenson, under command of the former, which, being at the time unequipped as artillerists, were armed with muskets as a guard. They met the enemy's sharpshooters in a brush-wood near, and enabled a number of General Walker's pieces to play with effect while the remainder of his train was withdrawn. After a sharp skirmish this attack seemed remedied, and I started back, having received by courier a note requesting my present with the commanding general. When I had reached a point a few hundred yards from the court-house, the enemy's cavalry, which had under cover of dusk gained the road, came rushing along, firing upon all in the road, and I only escaped being shot or captured by leaping my horse over the fence and skirting for some distance along the left of that road toward our column then advancing, and until I reached operations were in progress there was much noise of engines upon the South Side Railroad. From this circumstance, and from the enemy's using artillery in the attack above described, I became satisfied that the attacking body, which had at first seemed to me small, was a large and accumulating force, and the inference became inevitable that General Walker and his guns must be, if they had not already been, captured. These facts and inferences were reported to the commanding general on my reaching his headquarters about 1 a.m. of the 9th.

Movements at daylight confirmed all that had been thus inferred. The enemy was found in heavy force on our front, and dispositions were promptly made for a fierce encounter. The artillery participated with alacrity, with cavalry and infantry, in a spirited attack upon the enemy's advancing columns, and promptly succeeded in arresting their advance. Two guns were captured from thee enemy and a number of prisoners taken; but in spite of this the conviction had become established in the minds of a large majority of our best officers and men that the army, in its extremely reduced state, could not be extricated from its perilous condition, surrounded by the immense force of the enemy, and without subsistence for men or animals, unless with frightful bloodshed, and to scarcely any possible purpose, as its remnant, if thus rescued, must be too much enfeebled for efficient service. In view of these convictions, known of in part by him, and of all the facts before his own mind, the commanding general, before the battle had raged extensively, made arrangements for arresting hostilities. By the respective commanders-in-chief main principles of our surrender were then agreed upon, and as soon thereafter as practicable articles in detail were adjusted by a commission of officers on both sides. Those serving under General Lee's