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202

SURRENDER OF GEN. KIRBY SMITH.

were to see a little field service under that dashing and brilliant officer. But that was not to be. On the 11th of May, Gen. Jeff Thompson, commanding the rebel troops in Arkansas, surrendered on substantially the same terms as those granted to Lee, Johnston and Taylor. This left only the forces under Gen. Kirby Smith commanding the trans-Mississippi Department. It would have been utterly impossible for him to have successfully resisted the army then at Gen. Sheridan's disposal, and so on the 26th of May he too surrendered to Gen. Canby.

With the capitulation of Gen. Kirby Smith as Pollard says : “the war ended, and from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, " there was no longer an armed soldier to resist the author"ity of the United States."

The following extract from Gen. Taylor's book, “Destruction and Re-construction," shows the demoralization then existing in the trans-Mississippi Department, and the circumstances attending this last surrender. I was at New " Orleans,"

* (after his surrender) “when Generals * Price, Buckner and Brent came from Shreveport (Gen.

Kirby Smith's Headquarters) under flag of truce and sent “ for me. They reported a deplorable condition of affairs in

that region. Many of the troops had taken up the idea * that it was designed to inveigle them into Mexico, and were greatly incensed. Some Generals of the highest rank had “ found it convenient to fold their tents and quietly leave for “ the Rio Grande; others who remained were obliged to keep " their horses in their quarters and guard them in person, " and numbers of men had disbanded and gone off. By a

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COLLAPSE OF THE REBELLION.

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meeting of officers, the gentlemen present were deputed to "make a surrender and ask for Federal troops to restore “ order. The officers in question requested me to be present “ at their interview with Gen. Canby, who also invited me, " and I witnessed the conclusion. So, from the Charleston “ Convention to this point, I shared the fortunes of the Con“ federacy, and can say, as Grattan did of Irish freedom, " that I sat by its cradle and followed its hearse.''

On the surrender of the last Confederate Army, and peace having been practically declared, I resolved to resign, I had been in the service since September,1861, and had received but one furlough, to wit: when I returned to Vermont with the Seventh on veteran furlough. I accordingly tendered my resignation, which was accepted by Gen. Canby, June 2d, 1865.

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CHAPTER IX.

DEPARTURE FOR TEXAS-EXPERIENCE ON THE RIO GRANDE

MUSTER OUT-DISBANDMENT OF THE REGIMENT.

1865-1856.

T this time Maximilian was in Mexico, and for some rea

sons, best known to the government, it was decided to maintain a large Army of Observation on the Rio Grande, and for nearly a year after the close of the war a force of from ten to twenty thousand men under the immediate command of Gen. Weitzel was kept in Texas to observe and wait the development of the operations of Maximilian and his French allies.

The Seventh was one of the regiments designated for this service, and on the 30th of May, under Lieut. Col. Peck (who subsequently was commissioned Colonel, Major Porter at the same time being commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel and Capt. Edgar M. Bullard Major), marched to Mobile and embarked on the steamer “Starlight," and proceeded down to the lower bay, where they were transferred to the ocean steamship “Gen. Sedgwick.” On June 2d they sailed for Brazos, and arrived there June 5th. The next day they dis

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embarked and went into camp, where they remained until June 14th, when they proceeded to the mouth of the Rio Grande, near Clarksville, and went into camp at White Horse Ranch, three miles up the river. About June 25th they again moved their camp to a location nearer the mouth of the river. Nothing of importance occurred there. The 4th of July was duly observed; the Declaration of Independence was read, and an oration was delivered by Gen. Cole to the assembled command from the deck of a wrecked schooner at the mouth of the Rio Grande. On the 14th of July the one year recruits were mustered out. August 2d the regiment left Clarksville and marched for Brownsville, some thirty

the river. The first night they encamped at “Palmetto Ranchi," where, it will be remembered, the last action of the war was fought. The next day they reached Brownsville, where they went into camp on the east bank of the Rio Grande, and where they remained until they were mustered out in March, 1866.

On the 26th of August Colonel Peck resigned, and Lieut. Col. Porter was commissioned as Colonel, Major Bullard Lieutenant-Colonel, and Capt. Darwin A. Smalley Major. Subsequently Major Smalley resigned and Capt. George E. Croft was commissioned Major.

Life at Brownsville was monotonous and uneventful. The only service then required was to watch Maximilian's forces and the Mexicans. The former held Matamoras, which was fortified, or partially so, and frequently the Mexicans laid temporary siege to the place. The besiegers, however, never got near enough to suffer seriously from the Imperialist's guns,

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MUSTER OUT AND DISBANDMENT OF REGIMENT.

and their operations were highly farcical and ridiculous. It is said that some of our men amused themselves, and gained more or less pecuniary advantage by letting themselves out to fight on behalf of the Mexicans for five dollars a night. I cannot vouch for the truth of these reports, but I should judge from the accounts I have received that the duties of our men were not so arduous as to prevent, nor was the service so dangerous as to deter, them from participating in a “strife” so lucrative and rapturous. About all the regiment had to do was to perform guard and police duty. The principal topic of conversation seems to have been in reference to the question as to whether the Army of Observation was to move across the river and drive out the Imperialists, and as to when the regiment would be mustered out. Washington's

. Birthday (February 22d, 1866) was celebrated by a grand ball at Brownsville. A few days later, to wit: March 14th, the regiment was mustered out of the service at the same place, but proceeded as a body to New Orleans, and thence direct to Brattleboro where it was disbanded. The object I believe mustering out the regiment at Brownsville was to enable those who wished to remain at the South to quit the service there.

On arriving at Brattleboro, a grand reception was given to the officers and men; and, as I am informed a special effort was made to show that the citizens of Vermont appreciated the services of the Seventh.

On the 6th of April, 1866, the regiment was formally disbanded, and all its arms and equipments, except such as were purchased by the men, were turned over to the United States

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