Open main menu

Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/58

This page needs to be proofread.


50 Southern Historical Society Papers.

General Canby, commanding the Union armies in the Southwest, advanced up the eastern shore of Mobile bay, and invested Spanish Fort and Blakely, important Confederate works in that quarter. After repulsing an assault, General Maury, in accordance with in- structions, withdrew his garrison in the night to Mobile, and then evacuated the city, falling back to Meridian, on the line of the Mobile and Ohio Railway. General Forrest was drawn to the same point, and the little army, less than eight thousand of all arms, was held in readiness to discharge such duties as the waning fortunes of the " cause" and the honor of its arms might demand.

SOLDIERLY COURTESY.

Intelligence of Lee's surrender reached us. Staff officers from Johnston and Sherman came across the country to inform Canby and myself of their "Convention." Whereupon an interview was ar- ranged between us to determine a course of action, and a place se- lected ten miles north of Mobile, near the railway. Accompanied by a staff officer, Colonel Wm. M. Levy (afterwards a member of Congress from Louisiana), and making use of a hand-car, I reached the appointed spot, and found General Canby, with a large escort and many staff and other officers. Among these I recognized some old friends, notably General Canby, himself, and General James Palmer. All extended cordial greeting.

A few moments of private conversation with Canby led to the es- tablishment of a truce, to await further intelligence from the North.

Forty-eight hours' notice was to be given by the party desiring to terminate the truce. We then joined the throng of officers, and although every one present felt a deep conviction that the last hour of the sad struggle approached, no allusion was made to it. Sub- jects awakening memories of the past, when all were sons of a loved, united country, were as by the natural selection of good breeding, chosen.

A bountiful luncheon was soon spread, and I was invited to par- take of pates, champagne frappe, and other "delights," which, to me, had long been as lost arts. As we took our seats at table, a military band in attendance commenced playing "Hail, Columbia." Excusing himself, General Canby walked to the door. The music ceased for a moment, and then the strains of " Dixie" were heard.

Old Froissart records no gentler act of "courtesie." Warmly thanking General Canby for his delicate consideration, I asked for