The Sergeant Major's Roar
Sunday, March 29 2015
Thursday, April 9, 2015 was the 150th Anniversary of what according to our history books was the end of our Civil War. It was on that day, April 9, 1865, that Union General U. S. Grant accepted the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia from its’ commanding officer General Robert E. Lee in a small Virginia town named Appomattox Courthouse. Much has been written about the actual surrender so it will not be described here. However, what occurred on April 10th and 12th completed the surrender ceremony. On the 10th of April, General Robert E. Lee issued his final order that is considered to be a literary masterpiece to the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia which in reality was his farewell address and is as follows:
After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.
I need not tell the brave survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them.
But feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that would compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.
By the terms of the agreement officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed and I earnestly pray that a Merciful God will extend to you His blessing and protection.
With an increasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous considerations for myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.
General Robert E. Lee
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia
On April 12, 1865, three days after the surrender, “Union” General of the 20th Maine, recorded the final act of capitulation as the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia surrendered their weapons and battle flags. The following is an abbreviated description of this ceremonial surrender.
It is now the morning of the 12th of April and I had been ordered to have my lines formed for the ceremony at sunrise. It was a chill gray morning, depressing to the senses. We formed along the principal street, from the bluff bank of the stream to near the Court House on the left, to face the last line of battle and receive the last remnant of the arms and colors [flags] of the great army which ours had been created to confront for all that death can do for life.
Our earnest eyes scan the busy groups on the opposite slopes, breaking camp for the last time, taking down their little shelter tents and folding carefully as precious things, then slowly forming ranks as for unwelcome duty. And now they move. The dusky swarms forge forward into gray columns of march. On they come, with the old winging route step and swaying battle flags, crowded so thick, by thinning out of men, that the whole column seemed crowned with red.
Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood; men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death nor disaster nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, famished, but erect and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond.
I ordered our soldiers to “order arms” in that deepest mark of military respect. [Confederate General] Gordon at the head of the column, riding with heavy spirit and downcast face, catching the sound of shifting arms looks up and taking the meaning, wheels superbly, making himself and his horse one uplifted figure, with profound salutation as he drops the point of his sword to the boot toe. Gordon ordered his men to respond in kind – “HONOR ANSWERING HONOR." On our part not a sound, but an awed stillness rather and breath holding, as if it were the passing of the dead.
As each successive division masks our own, it halts, the men face inward towards us across the road, twelve feet away; then carefully “dress their line”. They fix bayonets, stack arms and then hesitatingly, remove cartridge boxes and lay them down. Lastly, reluctantly, with agony of expression they tenderly fold their flags, battle worn and torn, blood stained, heart holding colors and lay them down.”
Now then, this official surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia on April 9, 1865 historically has been construed as the official end of our Civil War. However, here in the Trans-Mississippi Theater of Operations the WAR CONTINUED as the final battle of our Civil War was fought in Texas. This was the Battle of Palmito Ranch that occurred on May 12- 13, 1865 east of Brownsville, Texas which is located in extreme southern Texas and was a Confederate victory. The last Confederate General to surrender was Brigadier General Stand Watie who surrendered his forces at Doaksville, Indian Territory [present Oklahoma] on June 23, 1865.
However, In Missouri the blood feuds and bitterness that were created in the Civil War between southern and northern Missourians be they former soldiers or civilians continued well into the 1880’s and of Course the War Went On!
Friday, March 20 2015
During the Civil War in the early spring of 1865 the Union forces in Missouri were bracing for another year of combat with the elusive Bushwhacker (Confederate Guerrillas) in Missouri. Little did both sides know that the Civil War would officially end in early April of “65,” so one of the continued Union goals was to eradicate or exterminate the enemy guerrillas. This goal was never completely achieved, but it was relentlessly pursued during the remaining months of the war and is described in the following correspondence. All of the letters are located on Pages 1231, 1239 and 1257 in Series I, vol. 48, Part I Correspondence, of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion.
Headquarters District of North Missouri,
March 21, 1865.
General D. M. Draper,
Clinton B. Fisk
General: it seems a burning shame that JIM JACKSON and COMPANY are permitted to roam leisurely through Boone, Randolph, Howard and Chariton counties, SHOOTING, and HANGING CITIZENS. Can you not organize half a dozen scouts and follow the VILLAIN until he is DEAD? I know it is not an easy thing to do, but if with the force we now have and the limited number of BUSHWHACKERS yet on duty and before the leaves come out we can’t EXTERMINATE THIS GANG, what will become of us when the BUSHWHACKING CAMPAIGN fairly opens? I am fearful the Ninth are too indolent; too little inclined to pitch into hard work or hard fighting. Stir up their pure minds. Don’t allow them to rot away at Posts or to spend their time foraging. Let their supplies be furnished from here and keep every able bodied soldier in the brush.
I have ordered Captain Reed to move from Brunswick to Salisbury where he can devote the remainder of his term of service to the vigorous muster out [killing] of his BUSHWHACKING neighbors. You can keep at least 200 men on the constant move. A scout sent out for a few hours or a day and night accomplish but little. Occupy and possess the Perche Hills Country back and forth until the FRIENDS of JIM JACKSON wish he would DIE to relieve them of the presence of your troops.
Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant,
CLINTON B. FISK, Brigadier General.
Headquarters District of North Missouri,
Macon, Missouri; March 22, 1865.
Major J. W. Barnes,
Assistant Adjutant General, Department of the Missouri.
Major: I have the honor to report but with slight exception all is quiet in this district. What troops I have are kept busily employed scouting through the river counties. JIM JACKSON and COMPANY are roaming through Boone, Callaway and Howard Counties. They are chiefly engaged in PLUNDERING and MURDERING NEGROS! They have hung two Negros in Boone and one in Callaway County within the last few days. I have 200 men on the move day and night after the FIENDS. We have killed two of the gang of late. It seems strange, I know, that this VILLAIN should go so long without being caught, but did the General commanding know the country and the people as well as JIM JACKSON does, he would discover how it is that a small party can elude the strictest vigilance.
I’m now organizing a JIM JACKSON EXTERMINATING CORPS and hope to muster out a few of the rascals by that means. A few brave, determined soldiers stimulated by private rewards offered by citizens go into the Blackfoot Country tomorrow, sworn not to return without the head of the monster in a charger. The volunteer militia companies being organized under the Governor’s Order No. 3 are in some localities progressing very well, but in others only moderately. The volunteer force of the District is very small and altogether too limited for the safety of the public property, thoroughfares and appointments and the duty of KILLLING BUSHWHACKERS required at my hands. The people generally in that portion of the district south of the Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad are apprehensive of more serious trouble than they have ever experienced before and I can but advise the most thorough preparation for trouble there by ensuring quiet. The civil authorities are generally endeavoring to discharge their duty. I have advised judges that I am simply their aide-de-camp; that we will catch and guard thieves if necessary, while they must try and punish. We don’t mean to have BUSHWHACKERS brought in for trial at all.
I have the honor to be Major, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
CLINTON B. FISK,
Headquarters District of North Missouri,
Macon, Mo., March 25, 1865.
James E. Yeatman, Esq.
Law Commissioner, Saint Louis, Mo.
James E. Yeatman
Dear Sir: I have yours of the 22nd instant and will cheerfully do all that I can to restore the family circle of the Monroe County Freedwomen. SLAVERY DIES HARD! I hear its expiring agonies and witness its contortions in death in every quarter of my district. In Boone, Howard, Randolph and Callaway counties the Emancipation Ordinance has caused disruption of society equal to anything I saw in Arkansas or Mississippi in the year 1863. I blush for my race when I discover the wicked barbarity of late masters and mistresses of the recently freed persons of the counties heretofore named.
I have no doubt but that the MONSTER JIM JACKSON is instigated by the late slave owners to hang or shoot every Negro he can find absent from the old plantations. Some few have driven their Black People away from them with nothing to eat or scarcely to wear. The consequence is, between Jim Jackson and his collaborators among the first families, the poor Blacks are rapidly concentrating in the towns, especially the garrisoned places. My hands and heart are full. I am finding homes for them in Northwest Missouri, Kansas, Illinois and Iowa. There is much sickness and suffering among them and many need help. Is there any fund that you can appropriate a small sum from to aid me in the deportation of the families I can’t provide for in Missouri? I am retaining all in Missouri that I can get work for in quiet localities. We ought not to spare a single pound of our industrial element. We need to import rather than deport manual labor. I hope the waters will soon grow still and Missouri in peace be permitted to pursue her way in the golden path of freedom and empire. It looks well all around the rapidly contracting lines. Sherman’s conquering legions are marching on and redemption draweth high. All hail the Republic.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CLINTON. B. FISK,
Now then, it is not known if Jim Jackson and his gang were ever exterminated, but General Fisk continued to have his troops pursue Jackson. It is also evident by the last letter that General Fisk was concerned with assisting the former slaves the best that he could with the limited means at his disposal and of course the War Went On.
Editor’s Note: Per the Civil War Monitor, Jim Jackson was killed in June 1865 as he was trying to escape into Illinois.