Thursday, 9 April 2015

150 years ago today

Last Rebel Yell
The last Confederate attack of the Civil War in Virginia was made at sunrise on April 9, 1865, with Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry (1) venting forth the “Rebel Yell” and charging ahead of Gordon’s infantry (2) with the remnants of Munford’s small Virginia Brigade on the extreme right. With the sun at their backs the Virginians brushed to one side the Union cavalry under Colonel Charles H. Smith (3) and galloped on until they reached their objective – the Lynchburg Road. Behind them the infantry, with Wallace’s South Carolina Brigade on their right wing, also swung round onto the road to hopefully secure their escape route. Shortly after this, while attempting to regroup the remains of his brigade for further action, Munford learned that a Confederate courier had been seen waving a flag of truce and that this was the cause of the stillness that had by then descended around Appomattox Court House.

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to disagree with the Union Cavalry's disinclination to mix it up yet again--who wants to be the last casualty of a war (at least as far as those guys were concerned)?

    What makes the occasion truly worth remembering is the incredible way Lee and Grant ended things: Lee ruled out prolonging the war as guerrillas, and Grant ruled out punishing the former Rebels so long as they obeyed the law. Civil Wars almost never end that way--more often they are followed by hanging, murder, and exile. Notwithstanding the problems that cropped up during Reconstruction, our country was at least spared an endless prolongation of the conflict. As Bruce Catton put it, all in all America was well served that day by its two premier soldiers.

    Chris Johnson