The Last Chapter
In The History Of The War

By J. M. Bundy

published in
The Galaxy July 1869

THE details attending the death-throes of the Southern Confederacy east of the Missisippi (sic) have been told, by those who witnessed them on each side, over and over again. The surrender of Lee, which virtually ended the war, was an event of such transcendent importance that every particular incident thereof was portrayed by enterprising correspondents or embodied in official reports.
Jonas Mills Bundy (1835-1891), the author of this article was one of the "peace commissioners" dispatched by General Pope to Confederate General E. Kirby Smith after the Confederacy in the East had surrendered at Appomattox.  Bundy was later an advisor to President Grant, President Garfield, and President Chester A. Arthur.

The surrender of Johnston was brought into special prominence by the spicy and trenchant correspondence between Sherman and Stanton, to which the first negotiations gave rise. When those two surrenders had been made, little interest was felt, in the East certainly, in regard to the manner in which the outlying hosts of the Confederacy should accept the adverse fate of war. It was merely known that west of the Mississippi there was a large force of organized and unorganized Confederate troops, estimated at from fifty to one hundred thousand men, under the command of General E. Kirby Smith.

How formidable was this trans-Mississippi army, what were its resources, what its spirit, and what the purposes of its leaders, were unknown. It held, virtually, the whole of Texas; nearly all of Louisiana west of the Mississippi; all of Southern Arkansas not within a few miles’ radius of our military posts, and the Indian Territory. Navigation of the White and Arkansas Rivers by Union transports was dangerous; a fleet of eighty-six gunboats, monitors, and others vessels of war was needed to protect transports on the Mississippi from “bushwhackers” on each side of the river. The Red River was closed, and at its mouth a formidable Union fleet of from six to eight vessels, including a monitor, had lain for two years, with steam constantly up, waiting for the expected descent of the ram Webb, known to be the fleetest and thought to have become one of the most formidable war vessels afloat. From Cairo to New Orleans the life of a Union man who should venture on the west side of the Mississippi, out of the immediate protection of a military post or without a sufficient escort of troops, was not worth a farthing. From Southern Missouri to the Gulf our hold on the vast country between, enough in extent for a great empire, was merely nominal, that is, we held the spots which our troops actually occupied—no more.

To the regularly organized and partisan Confederate forces west of the Mississippi recruits were constantly coming from disbanded and surrendered organizations on the east side of the river. In spite of the utmost vigilance of our “tin-clads,” thousands of the most desperate of Lee’s, Johnston’s, Forrest’s, and Dick Taylor’s old soldiers were known to have crossed the river in “dug-outs,” and by every other conceivable means, with the purpose of carrying on a lifelong war against the Union, even if no other style of war than guerilla operations remained for them.

The organized Confederate troops west of the Mississippi were more or less confident. Thousands were too ignorant to know the extent of the disasters which had made further resistance hopeless. They did know how Steele’s army had been repulsed on its march from Arkansas toward Shreveport, and how utterly disastrous to the Union Army of the West had been Banks’s untoward and expensive Red River expedition, and were naturally flushed with the pride of victors. Thousands more were Missourians who had little expectation of being allowed to return safely to their homes, and as many more determined to adopt the nomadic life of the Indians, and live indiscriminately on the loyal and disloyal citizens of Texas and Louisiana, rather than return to homes on the east side of the Mississippi, and confess allegiance to the hated government of the Union.

From across the Rio Grande there came constant encouragement to the spirit of resistance. Vague official intimations, nominally from Maximilian, hut really from Napoleon, kept alive the hopes of the leaders, and were greatly magnified by common rumors. Could the Confederates concentrated west of the Mississippi but hold out long and desperately enough, they might he sure of constant aid in secret, and might look for possible exigencies, in which the open alliance of France could be secured. Such speculations seem visionary enough now, but they had more substance then than most of us might at present believe possible.

Moreover, Texas, escaping almost entirely the ravages and desolations of the war, had waxed rich beyond all precedent. It had become, during the decadence of the Confederacy, a place of refuge for timid and wealthy men from all parts of the South, who brought as much of their means and as many of their slaves as they could well transport across the country. The negroes were kept in subjection by the free use of the revolver and rifle, and raised large crops. Until the capture of Vicksburg, Texas had furnished the bulk of the meat required for the rebel armies. Across the Mexican border a constant and lively overland trade, unsanctioned by custom-house permits, had supplied the soldiers and people with large quantities of gold and silver, with arms and ammunition, and with many comforts and luxuries unknown elsewhere within the rebel lines. All along the rivers of Arkansas and Louisiana small steamers, under the protection of United States Treasury permits, exchanged arms, ammunition, and other supplies for cotton, and enabled guerilla forces to subsist under the very noses of our garrisons.

Supreme over all this region was General E. Kirby Smith, whose final official relations with the President of the Confederacy constituted one of the most singular anomalies of the war. Originally and necessarily intrusted with a very large discretionary power, the successful movements and hostile operations of Grant and Sherman had gradually rendered it more and more important that he should act without the advice or orders of the Richmond authorities. Finally, the satrapy became virtually independent. West of the Mississippi no Confederate thought of looking beyond the authority of Kirby Smith. He made and unmade generals. He subsisted his entire command without a single requisition on the Richmond bureaus. Whatever deference he paid to the nominal authority of Davis was merely an act of courtesy—nothing more.

Such was the condition of affairs in the Confederate trans-Mississippi Department when Lee surrendered at Appomattox. It was very imperfectly realized in the East, but far better in the valley of the Mississippi, which was, as yet, but nominally “open” for perfectly safe navigation and commerce. General Grant, however, appreciated fully and keenly the whole situation, and at once telegraphed to St. Louis to General Pope, whose command included all the vast region between the Mississippi and the Rocky Mountains down as far as the Northern line of the country held by Kirby Smith. This dispatch directed General Pope to send to Kirby Smith an offer of the same terms of surrender as those accepted by Lee.

The incidents of the mission intrusted by General Pope to two of his staff officers—Colonel John T. Sprague and the writer of this article——in the execution of General Grant’s order, throw so much light on the last chapter of the history of the war that they seem worthy of record in some permanent form. Leaving St. Louis on the day of the receipt of the telegram from General Grant, we stopped at Cairo, where, in response to the request of General Pope, Admiral Lee had the gunboat Lexington in readiness to convey us to the mouth of Red River, and as far up that river as it might be deemed expedient to go. The Admiral had, also, of his own accord, directed all of the naval commanders in the Mississippi squadron to offer such assistance to the Peace Commissioners as might in any way facilitate the object of their mission, an order which was obeyed with the utmost heartiness and good-will by all who were in any way called on for courtesies or substantial acts of assistance.

We arrived at the mouth of Red River about the last of April, 1865. Within a mile or two of this point were seven or eight war vessels, including the monitor Manhattan; the captured rebel iron-clad Tennessee; the large and handsome iron-clad Lafayette, the flag-ship of Commodore Foster, and other wooden and “tin-clad” vessels. The command of Commodore Foster terminated at the mouth of the Red River, at which point that of Commodore Grafton, on the Manhattan, began. I mention this arbitrary division of command, as subsequent events render it important. A mile or two below Red River was the Confederate flag-of-truce boat, which made periodical trips up the river and back, on the business of exchange of prisoners, etc.

The arrival of the Lexington, whose mission was soon made known through the fleet, relieved the monotony of the weary watchers for the Confederate ram Webb, and caused a genuine excitement. This was increased by orders for a constant patrolling of the river to prevent the possible escape of Jefferson Davis to Texas, and by the news that there had lately been much activity on board the Webb, whose dangerous presence might be expected at any time. Our first visit to the Confederate officers on their flag-of-truce boat showed a like feverishness and anxiety on their part. In command of the boat was Colonel Skymanski, the agent of exchange for the trans-Mississippi department, a character who deserves special description, even at the risk of delaying my narrative. A Polish gentleman, educated to military life at home, he had long been known at New Orleans as the owner of a cotton press, of fast horses and of a fast yacht, and as a genial, cultivated and liberal sporting man. He became a rebel on general principles. His father was a rebel, and he was brought up as a rebel, and satirically criticised those who were ashamed of the title and insisted on being called “Confederates.” Over six feet in height, slender, but with abundant energy and nervous strength, his courtesy, tact, knowledge of the world, and social qualities eminently fitted him for the diplomatic duties assigned him. Whatever he did was done thoroughly, systematically, and well. His word was always faithfully kept, and I have reason to believe that he used all of his influence to prevent the ill treatment of Union prisoners.

At our first interview with Colonel Skymanski he delicately but firmly objected to our going up the Red River on the Lexington. There were mysterious hints which might be interpreted to refer to torpedoes; at all events we found that we could not go except in a hostile manner, and our instructions did not contemplate a second Red River expedition. The Confederate commissioner told us, however, that he would go up the river and make arrangements with Kirby Smith for an early interview, and accordingly started the next evening, promising to be back in five days.

The same evening, on returning to the fleet, there occurred the most notable surprise of the year in that quarter. About eight or nine o’clock, while we were talking with Commodore Foster, on the deck of the Lexington, a shot was heard from the howitzer of the Manhattan, which lay just at the mouth of Red River, diagonally opposite, and about a mile and a half from the Lexington. Instantly every one on the decks of that vessel and of the Lafayette, lying next to her, was roused to the most excited attention, and the Webb was in every one’s thoughts. “Had she really come down at last?” and “would she try her powers as a ram on our tin-clads and wooden gunboats?” were questions which occurred to every one in the fleet. After a delay, really short, but apparently of several minutes, a signal light is shown on the Manhattan, and the signal books are carefully scanned as each light appears. No one can make out its significance. Had Commodore Foster’s command extended below the mouth of the Red River he would have started the Lexington, Lafayette and other vessels instantly down river, but he must await the signals of the Manhattan, and himself signalled to her to repeat the blind message. The second time the right signal is given, and Commodore Foster’s fleet, already prepared to start at the word, steams rapidly down stream. But the bird had flown. The few minutes’ start gained by the Webb put her miles below her comparatively slow pursuers, making her first thirty miles in a trifle over an hour. Her untimely fate just below New Orleans—the last conspicuous naval disaster of the Confederacy—is well known. It is not so well known, however, that her stoppage was due to a telegraph sent to New Orleans from Morganza by one of Commodore Foster’s subordinates, Captain Lull, over the inland line, that along the river having been cut by the crew of the Webb.

I learned, afterward, up the Red River, that it was intended to run the Webb to Havana, sell the cotton with which she was laden and protected, and fit out the Harriet Lane, then lying there, as a privateer. The experiment was a bold one, as one well-directed shot from the big guns of our fleet would have sunk her. Its partial success was clue to the absurd division of our naval commands at the mouth of Red River; to the temporary absence of Commodore Grafton from the Manhattan; to the slowness and stupidity of the officer left in charge of her, and to the temporary absence of the fastest vessel in Commodore Foster’s fleet. What would have been the result had the swift and formidable Harriet Lane got to sea with a commander as fearless as the captain of the Webb showed himself to be, who can tell? His project was so audacious that all of the Confederate authorities at Shreveport advised him not to attempt it, although he had the special permission of Davis to do so.

On our second visit to Colonel Skymanski’s boat, the morning after the Webb excitement, we found some of the subordinate officers exhilarated over what they then regarded as the successful escape of the ram, but the Colonel was fearful that we might attribute his objection to the ascent of the Red River with a gunboat to wrong motives. He protested that the descent of the Webb at that time was unexpected by him. The fact that his own boat would have been likely to catch several stray shots from our fleet seemed to confirm his statement, which we afterward learned was undoubtedly true. The joy of the Confederates was, however, soon dampened by the, news of the collapse of their last naval experiment, and Colonel Skymanski steamed up the Red River with the gloomy news.

We were not sorry for the delay imposed on us, desiring to receive the official report of Johnston’s surrender, as well as that of Dick Taylor—the moral effect of which latter, west of the Mississippi, we knew would be very great, Dick being considered, in that region, the “gamest” of generals. Making a flitting trip to New Orleans we found that everything was in readiness for a strong movement on the Texas coast, in case of Kirby Smith’s refusal to surrender. A force of at least twenty thousand men could have been started without delay. I may as well state here that General Pope had transportation and supplies at Little Rock sufficient to move over fifty thousand men at a few days’ notice, and forty thousand men in his own command at his disposal, and could easily have obtained, from General Washburne, at Memphis, and other commanders below, ten thousand more. Every preparation, including maps of the lines of march from Little Rock to Shreveport, had been made for an energetic campaign.

Colonel Skymanski returned a day ahead of his time, accompanied by Colonel Allston, Inspector-General of the Department, and other officers. We learned afterward that there had been a hurried assemblage of the Confederate leaders, military and civil, at Alexandria, and an excited discussion. The result was an invitation for us to go up the Red River to Shreveport on the Confederate flag-of-truce boat, and there to confer with the rebel authorities.

The trip to Shreveport, a distance of four hundred and fifty miles, was one of the most interesting I ever made anywhere. Besides the Confederate officers, there were several exchanged or paroled soldiers on board, a few ladies, and some citizen passengers, who came from mysterious quarters and whose business no one seemed to know. All, save Colonel Skymanski and the other Confederate officers, looked on us with an ill-concealed suspicion and dislike, which we quietly ignored. The Colonel, however, was supreme and omnipresent; preventing unpleasant topics of talk so far as possible; unfailing in his courtesy to his two particular guests ; the devoted cavalier of the ladies; the thoughtful caterer of delicacies for the favored few at his table, and the social inspiration of the mixed circle of Confederates and Unionists on board his steamer. His special delight was in his really fine brass band, which he insisted on retaining on his boat as a promoter of diplomatic courtesies, and some of whose members were equally skilful with stringed instruments for dance music in the cabin. The repertory of his musicians was a large one, and needed to be, for the Colonel wanted music morning, noon, and night, daily, and always made a point of serenading every pretty girl who lived upon the river. The approach of “Colonel Sky’s” boat was watched from afar and welcomed by ecstatic wavings of white handkerchiefs, while white and black, of all ages, would congregate near the bank, and active youngsters would be sent to the boat, hastily laden with butter, milk, vegetables and other free will offerings. No man so popular as “old Sky,” who, though seventy or more, knew how to win all the women’s hearts

Passing up over the lake-like waste of waters caused by the backing up of the flooded Mississippi; by the succession of desolate sugar plantations, whose costly buildings had been destroyed by Banks’s retreating army, and up, one hundred and fifty miles, to Alexandria, we began to realize at that place the excitement occasioned by the news of our mission. A large and not altogether lovely crowd had assembled on the levee and swarmed over the boat, to whose not already good-natured scrutiny the ‘Yankee Commissioners’ had to submit with at least an air of indifference. We were there joined by some important personages. Chief of them was General Buckner, who seemed entirely dejected by the dangerous condition of his wife, who was brought on board in the arms of three or four officers, and appeared to be very near to quick consumption. Tall, erect as an arrow, and with a most decided military bearing; looking—with his spare face, shining eyes, prematurely grey hair and general aspect—like a man whose nerves and spirits had suffered from misfortunes, exposures and trials, General Buckner still appeared defiant and ready for the next bad throw of Fortune’s dice. His assurance and manner enabled me to understand both how he rather foolishly complained of Grant’s “unchivalrous terms” at Donelson, and how he remained there, soldier-like, and shared with his men the fate from which Floyd and Pillow cowardly ran.

From Alexandria to within about twenty miles of Shreveport there was little to vary the monotony of the journey, save conversation and the music of “Colonel Sky’s” band. There were a few incidents, however, characteristic enough to mention. The steamer got out of fuel, and I noticed that the pilot kept a sharp look-out on each side for a wood pile. Finally the last sticks were put in the furnaces, and the nose of the boat was headed directly for the bank. I strove in vain to discover a wood pile, and wondered where the pilot had seen one, until the gang of deck hands began coolly to tear down a rail fence near the river, and “tote” the rails aboard. This seemed like a rather rough species of confiscation, as the flag-of-truce boat could easily have carried wood enough for the round trip. Not long after, another fence was torn down, and the same day the hands had begun to appropriate another, when a poor, woebegone, wretched looking old man came rushing down with his children, and, all crying together, plead in vain in behalf of his fence. He had just been able to get his crops started, but was too poor and weak to repair his fence, whose destruction meant starvation for himself and his family. I was touched by the scene, and so was a Confederate staff officer, who stood by my side. I took the liberty of saying what I thought, and he replied excitedly, “I have reported such things over and over again. The quartermaster’s department has had positive orders to provide wood for this steamer, and men enough have been detailed as woodcutters and haulers to supply forty boats; but it is of no use. Our people only know one part of making war. They know how to fight, and that’s all. The Southern men have no business faculty; and while your armies have been abundantly supplied in a hostile country, hundreds of miles from their base, our quartermasters and commissaries have let our soldiers go naked and starving among friends and in their own country. This wood business here is of a piece with our whole management.” Having delivered himself pretty emphatically on this point he changed the subject, and we both tried to forget the poor family whose means of living had virtually been taken away, because a quartermaster had failed to deliver a few cords of wood.

Among the several mysterious persons in civilians’ clothes on hoard was one who soon engaged my special attention. Stoutly built, with a face expressive of indomitable energy and will, but comprehensively bad and suspicious, moving around everywhere, but never seeming to care to talk with any one, evidently striving to appear indifferent to all conversation, but really listening to everything within ear-shot, I soon put him down as a “cotton thief”—that is to say, one of those unscrupulous speculators who had managed through influential persons to secure papers from “high authority” on each side, allowing them to pass from one side of the lines to another. They bought and sold—to and from each side—cotton, supplies, valuable information—and those who believed their lying reports. I called a Confederate officer’s attention to this ugly specimen of a “cotton thief,” and remarked that I should like to see the whole gang of them lynched, or otherwise speedily sent to their future punishment. He agreed with me, and said he would have this fellow put into the district guard-house in Shreveport on our arrival. When, however, he had got ready to catch Mr. Cotton-thief the scoundrel was nowhere to be found; and on my return up the Mississippi I saw him on the main street of Memphis. Asking a staff officer there if he knew the man, he replied, “Oh, yes ; I caught him at some of his tricks here, and informed General Washburne, who ordered him out of his district, never to return. In ten days thereafter the fellow came back with papers from “high authority” at Washington, which a mere Major-Genera] could not well get over.” Such was one of the peculiar features of the war as carried on in the Mississippi Valley.

We had got within about twenty miles of Shreveport, and were steaming up the narrow and tortuous channel as rapidly as possible, when a sudden bend disclosed a steamer tied up at the left bank, from which we were hailed by one or two revolver shots. We stopped, and found that it had on board no less a person than the chief of what there was left of the Confederacy. Tying up just above, a small party, consisting of General Buckner, General Hayes, Colonel Allston, and the two “commissioners,” went on board General Smith’s steamer. We found him and his Medical Director, Dr. Smith, seated in the rear cabin. The then prevalent stories about Kirby Smith had given me the impression of a man of great executive energy, domineering will, and shrewd business tact. In the slim, tall, stooping, bald, spectacled, mild, amiable, professor-like man before me I could hardly realize any of my preconceptions. He soon, with Buckner, entered into lively and pleasant talk with Colonel S., whom both had long known in the old army, and the business of the evening was deferred until the ice had thus been thoroughly thawed. The proposition of General Grant was handed to him, and retained for consideration; and soon both steamers were on their way to Shreveport.

The headquarters of the trans-Mississippi Department may have been well chosen, from a military point of view; but there could have been no other recommendation. At the head of navigation—except during the periodical high water —within a few miles of the richest agricultural region of Texas, and on the line of a proposed Pacific railroad from Vicksburg, Shreveport was an important commercial town of its size, and had great expectations; but when we were there the large warehouses were used for military stores, business was almost nothing, and the town seemed inhabited solely by soldiers, gamblers, loafers, desperadoes, and the ugliest of “bushwhackers.” Murders were of almost daily occurrence, and were seldom, if ever, punished. If the whole of the South-west had been ransacked there could not have been gathered together a more ragged, dirty, desperate, villainous-looking crowd than was congregated on the levee, when we went ashore. Hardly a man of them would have neglected a good opportunity of boring a hole through one of the “Yankee Commissioners.” The organized soldiers and their officers were our only protection, and the latter more than once showed their uneasiness and concern for our safety.

We remained at Shreveport nearly a week, having daily conversations with the military and civil leaders, and finally returned with a formal refusal to surrender. Why so long a time was spent; why Kirby Smith then refused to accept General Grant’s terms ; and why, a few days after we left, General Buckner hastened down to the mouth of Red River and surrendered to General Canby— are important features in the last chapter of the history of the war which, to this day, are known to but few persons. I shall endeavor to make the whole matter as plain as possible, not neglecting such incidents as may throw light on the singular situation of affairs then and there.

Two very unfortunate difficulties presented themselves at the outset. First, there was a just-issued order from General Banks, which forbade the paroled and returned soldiers of Lee’s army from wearing their uniform and from engaging in business pursuits. They were mostly ragged and penniless. If they were to cast off their dirty grey tatters they had no means of covering their nakedness. If debarred from employment they would have to starve, or “live on the country,” in which latter case a large army of Union soldiers would be needed to keep the peace in the South-west. Secondly, Attorney-General Speed had issued an official opinion to the effect that paroled Confederate soldiers who had come from loyal border States—like Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee—could not “return to their homes.” It was held by Kirby Smith that these two official constructions of Grant’s agreement with Lee were opposed at least to its spirit and fair interpretation. He trusted Grant, and believed in his good faith and soldierly fairness, and thought that Grant would insist on a liberal interpretation of the terms of surrender; but he feared that the reaction of Northern sentiment caused by the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, and the supposed personal hostility of Mr. Johnson to nearly every prominent man in the South, would render Grant powerless in the matter. Neither he nor any of the prominent officers at Shreveport expected to obtain any favor at Washington, or, in fact, to be allowed to live in the United States. All of them had made preparations to go to Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, and elsewhere. He wanted, however, for the sake of his soldiers and of the country, to obtain an assurance direct from the new President that the terms offered by Grant would not be construed away by subordinates. He feared that, without this assurance, the fifteen thousand or more soldiers from the border States would extort a living from the people for whom they had fought, and plunge the country into a state of chaotic anarchy inconceivably dangerous. He said that he could not abandon the South-west to such a fate without an effort to avert it, and promised to hold his forces together and make no hostile movement until a message could be got from Washington. He was satisfied with Grant’s offer and wanted peace; but, as I have said, wanted also some unqualified declaration from Washington to the effect which I have mentioned.

A formal and immediate reply to the offer of peace was demanded, and given in the negative. Then and there the negotiations would have ended, but for the earnest interposition of Henry W. Allen, the Confederate Governor of Louisiana. He was a remarkable man. Self-educated, and having to struggle hard for the means of obtaining an education, he won his way to local distinction by his energy, public spirit, popular manners and stirring style of speech. He was one of the few believers in “the code of honor,” who retained the really “chivalrous” spirit of such duellists as Clay and Randolph, and had had several “affairs” of which the most were on account of his friends. Some of these affairs verged closely on the quixotical. Disabled from field service by his wounds, he was elected Governor of Louisiana, and in this capacity became the most popular man in the State. He always stood up stoutly for the rights of the citizens and of the private soldiers. Ardent as he had been for war, he had become no less ardent for peace. He knew the military preparations we had made on each side of Kirby Smith’s department, and did not want to run the risk of delay incurred by a refusal to surrender. He proposed a conference of the Confederate Governors of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri, to which Kirby Smith should be invited. This meeting was held at Marshall, Texas, about twenty miles west of Shreveport, and we were delayed three days waiting for the result.

This did not materially vary from what had already been arrived at, and we, accordingly, started down the river the next morning. Somehow every one seemed to believe that the mission had failed, and there were many who had fought with stout hearts for four years, whose faces showed a gloomy apprehension of evil in the future, and more than one secretly avowed to me his intention of going back to “his State,” east of the Mississippi, and of sharing its peaceful though subjugated condition. At the levee there was, if possible, a wilder and worse-looking crowd than greeted our arrival. Hundreds of Shelby’s murderous gang were there, hurrahing, yelling, firing off revolvers, and otherwise acting out their riotous natures. It was a wise forethought of Kirby Smith to send down with us a picked escort of a company of Missouri sharpshooters, selected for their excellent discipline and material. To a sergeant of that company’ the writer is indebted for his escape from the bowie-knives of some of the half-drunken “bushwhackers” on the levee.

Kirby Smith left Shreveport for Houston on the day of our departure. His intention was to collect the forces in that part of Texas, and hold them in order until some definite advices should come from Washington. Buckner was left in temporary command at the headquarters of the department, at Shreveport. No sooner, however, had the soldiers become aware of our departure than they began to desert, appropriating horses, mules, commissary stores, and everything that came to hand. Before we reached Alexandria we heard reports of a short but somewhat sanguinary engagement, in which the small garrison succeeded in repulsing an irregular body of soldiers from an attempt to plunder. So rapid and fearful was the process of disintegration, that in three days after our leaving Shreveport Buckner was obliged to make the utmost haste down to the mouth of Red River and surrender his command, while yet he had a command to surrender. His own fine division of Missouri soldiers, over eight thousand men, alone retained their discipline to the last, and saved the citizens from utter anarchy. Kirby Smith also surrendered with equal promptness, and thus the large army west of the Mississippi accepted its fate by piecemeal. Thousands were never formally surrendered at all, each one of them going to his home “on his own hook.” And thus singularly ended the last chapter of the war.

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