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     Part of Our Army Crosses the James - The Second Division at Hatcher's Run - The Capture of Fort Gregg - The Enemy Evacuates Richmond and Petersburg - The Pursuit - The March to Cut off Lee's Retreat - An Incident - The Second Division and One Other Were the Infantry Forces Cutting off the Retreat - The Surrender - Both Armies Cheer - Lieut. McCord - The Col. and Citizen McLean Talk - an Incident - Marched to Lynchburg and Back - Thence to Richmond - Some of the Boys Presented with Medals - Mustered Out - Sent Home - Memorial - Conclusion.

     (569) On the afternoon of the l7th, as preparatory to Grant's grand movement against the forces of Lee in front of Richmond and Petersburg, two divisions of the Twenty-fourth Corps, ours and the First and one division of the Twenty-fifth Corps (colored), crossed the James and the Appomattox, and marched toward the left of our lines, southwest of Petersburg. Our division marched all night, passing in the rear of the lines of the Army of the Potomac, and as we marched along, pretty heavy firing of the pickets close to our right was heard for nearly the whole distance. We halted about daylight in the morning in front of Petersburg and at 10 o'clock a. m. we resumed our march toward the left, followed by the other troops of Gen. Ord's Army of the James, camping within about two miles of Humphrey's Station. The next day, the 29th, the whole army, except enough to hold the intrenchments, moved to the left, our division going that morning to Humphrey's Station. We could hear cannonading farther to the left during this day. That night it rained all night.
     (570) At daylight, the 30th, our division moved again, the rain still failing. In the afternoon a train of ambulances passed to the rear loaded with wounded from the Fifth Corps. Also a lot of prisoners were brought in and sent off on the cars. The next morning at about 8 o'clock the rain ceased, it having rained all the night before, and our division advanced to Hatcher's Run; and the enemy resisting this advance, it had some pretty hard fighting. At this time the Second Corps and the Fifth and Sheridan's Cavalry were on our left. Before daylight the following Day, April 1st, the Rebels charged the skirmish line of our division, but were repulsed. In this charge a Rebel soldier, either deceived, or intending to deceive our men, came running up to Company E of the Twelfth on the skirmish line, exclaiming: "You are firing on your own men!" Lieut. Hugill of that company walked up to him, took his gun and sent him to the rear a prisoner.
     (571) Concerning operations here at this time, Lieut. Col. Holliday of the Fifteenth West Virginia, commanding a brigade at the time, told of an incident, according to a comrade, about Lieut. E. F. Piggott of Company G, which may be here given. Holliday, with his brigade, undertook to capture a Rebel fort in his front and Lieut. Piggott, being on the skirmish line then at that point, when the brigade charged, co-operated in the charge with his company. The attempt failed. Holliday and Piggott were in front of their men, and the men, giving ground almost before the officers knew of it, they were left between the lines, and, the fire of the enemy being hot, they took cover behind stumps. While they were thus under cover Holliday glanced from behind his stump, and seeing an overcoat in front said that he would like to have it; and Lieut. Piggott coolly and deliberately, said Holliday, got from behind his stump, walked forward, picked up the coat, brought it back and gave it to him. Some few years since Piggott, poor fellow, passed to the Beyond.
     (572) All night of the 1st we could hear on our right, toward Petersburg, the deep sounds and see the flashes of light caused by the firing of our siege-guns. At short intervals the whole heavens were made lurid by the discharge of the artillery. This day Sheridan, with his cavalry and the Fifth Corps, had had his victory at Five Forks, southwest of Petersburg. This firing was kept up to prevent, perhaps, the enemy from detaching troops in our front for the purpose of recapturing Five Forks, a vital point to them. As the Rebels lay behind their intrenchments that night it may be that they regarded this thundering and lightning of Uncle Sam's siege-guns as betokening his vengeful wrath, and their impending doom. Grant gave orders for the Sixth Corps on our right and opposite the Rebel center, expecting the enemy to withdraw troops from there to attack the lines in its front as soon as possible in the morning, the 2nd; and for all the other troops to held themselves in readiness to attack. The Twelfth took a position and lay close up to the enemy's lines that night, fully expecting to have to attack his entrenchments in the morning; but fortunately it did not have this to do.
     (573) The Sixth Corps, having broken the lines in its front, the Rebels soon thereafter evacuated their works in our front. Our brigade then moved to the right toward Petersburg, arriving near the city a little after noon. By this time all the enemy's works southwest of the city had fallen into our hands, except three forts near it, and several thousand prisoners besides. Our brigade participated with great credit that afternoon in the capture of Fort Gregg, and the Twelfth made for itself a proud record. An incident of a little while previous to the capture is remembered. After our brigade had got within a half mile of the fort, marching along we passed near a few soldiers not on duty. They seemed to regard us seriously, as being new troops to them and the Army of the Potomac. One of them looked at us rather dubiously and said in substance: "I wonder if those fellows will stand up to it," implying that they thought there was fighting before us. We, however, had little idea of the serious work just at hand. If those soldiers watched the part we took in the capture of Fort Gregg, they doubtless had their minds disabused of any doubts as to whether we would stand up to it, at least as well as the average soldiers.
     (574) Our brigade was marched tip and halted in line oil high ground facing toward Fort Gregg to the north. All was quiet as yet, there being no firing. When we reached this ground we could see some of our troops, a part of the First Division of our corps, a little to the right of a direct line from us to the fort, and pretty close up to it. They were in a wavering condition, having failed to enter the fort. A little later an aid rode up to Col. Curtis, evidently giving an order. The colonel looked a little pale, but unflinching, and almost before we had time to think, and without any announcement of what we had to do, the order of "Attention, Second Brigade, shoulder arms; right shoulder shift, arms; forward double quick march," was given. The boys seemed to know by a common understanding what was wanted, and, giving a yell, a sort of "Rebel yell," they started on the charge, running like mad their very best, seeming to realize that the sooner they got to the fort, the fewer of them would get killed.
     (575) The fort was in plain view from the point from which we charged, and as the ground over which we charged was mainly clean and open, and the lay of the land was such that the fort was not lost sight of at any time during the charge. The distance to be charged over was perhaps 500 yards down a slope and up a slope. In the hollow or foot of the slopes, something less than half way to the fort, there was some low swamp brush. When this was reached the enemy opened on our men, apparently with grape or canister. The balls could be heard striking in the mud and clashing through the brush, but, as seemed surprising, few if any were hit just at that place. The men rushed rapidly on their ranks, necessarily much broken by their passing through the low swamp brush, their different capabilities as runners, and their all rushing toward the one point, the fort. And they never stopped or scarcely so, until the bulk of them were in the deep ditch surrounding the fort. All the time after our men had come within close range, the enemy poured into them a hot musketry fire; but they escaped being hit remarkably, owing to the rapidity of our men's movements and the Rebels' overshooting, aided materially evidently by the troops of the First Division's drawing the Rebels fire, and by their return fire, compelling the Rebels to a considerable extent to keep under cover.
     (576) When the order to charge was given Private J. W. Caldwell of Company D took off his hat and, swinging it over his head, shouted: "That's our fort, that's our fort;" but the gallant boy, falling dead upon the field, failed to witness its capture. Gen. Turner, commanding the division, after the brigade had got part of the way to the fort, and was under heavy fire, believing that the brigade was insufficient to take the fort, sent an order to Col. Curtis to halt his men and await reinforcements; but the men rushed on. Col. G. B. Caldwell, who was adjutant of the Twelfth till the winter of 1864-5, in his eulogium upon Col. Curtis at the reunion of the Society of the Army of West Virginia in 1891, says in regard to the order to Col. Curtis to halt his brigade: "But American soldiers are men of intelligence. With one mind they thought they were more certain to be shot down if they turned their backs than if they went on. They rushed forward." So far as this statement implies that the men heard that order, it appears to be a mistake. It is believed that few if any of the rank and file heard the order. It would have taken a dozen or more men of the greyhound type to have carried that order to the men after they got on the go for that fort.
     (577) When within 50 yards of the fort Sergt. Emanuel M. Adams of Company D, color-bearer, fell wounded. The colors were picked up and bravely carried forward by Private Joseph Logsden of Company C, as the brigade charged on over the dead and wounded of the First Division. After our men had got into the ditch surrounding the fort, they remained there perhaps twenty minutes before they made an entrance. In the meantime the Rebels were throwing dirt, stories and various kinds of missiles upon them. At length as a movement toward entering the fort, the gallant Logsden undertook to plant the flag of the Twelfth upon the parapet, and was killed, falling back into the ditch. The colors were then seized by Lieut. Joseph Caldwell of Company A, who leaped upon the parapet, and in attempting to plant the colors there was killed, falling also into the ditch. The flag fell inside of the fort. Then the brave boys of the Twelfth rushed to the parapet to recover their flag. They were joined by comrades of the rest of the brigade. Pouring a volley into the Rebels, the boys of the Twelfth leaped into the fort and planted their flag on the parapet - the first colors on the Rebel works. The fort and its brave defenders were soon ours, all the troops present joining in their capture. But the reduction of the fort was at fearful cost to the Union troops, the loss being in killed and wounded 715, as will be seen in Col. Caldwell's address at Huntington, herein given.
     (578) After events seem to show conclusively that this great sacrifice was unnecessary, for the fort would have been evacuated the following night without it. But it was here that the Twelfth won its eagle, and Col. Curtis his star, and Capt. Bristor won promotion for his gallant conduct. It was here, too, that Lieut. J. M. Curtis won a medal of honor, and Andrew O. Apple of Company I and Joseph McCauslin of Company D also won their medals of honor. And to add to the grace and beauty of the distinction, those medals were pinned upon the lapels of the boys' coats by the fair hands of the daughter of Gen. John Gibbon, our corps commander. There are very respectable members of Private George H. Bird's Company (I), it should be added, who believed that he should have had a medal of honor, as he was among the first few who climbed upon the parapet of the fort.
     (579) The next morning, the 3rd, after the capture of Fort Gregg, it was found that the enemy had evacuated Richmond and Petersburg, and nearly all the troops before these cities, including our division, started immediately in pursuit. And not to prolong the history too much, it will simply be said that we followed the Rebels for several days, there being more or less fighting and captures of prisoners by some part of Grant's forces every day. However, a material matter somewhat closely connected with the history of the Twelfth regarding this particular time, should not be omitted. On the 6th, the Fifty-fourth Pennsylvania and another regiment of infantry, with a squadron of cavalry were sent out in the direction of Farmville under command of Brig. Gen. Theodore Read to burn a bridge near there in advance of the retreating Rebels. But they were surrounded by a large force of the enemy, many killed and wounded, including Gen. Read killed, and the rest all captured. The Eighth, two divisions of our corps, the First Division and the Independent, marched all day and until 11 o'clock at night, making in that time, it was said at the time, a distance of 35 miles. We did not then precisely know the object of this forced march. We did not know but that we were following the Rebels, but we found afterward that we were being pushed to cut off their retreat.
     (580) An incident concerning a private of Company I, Alexander B. Allison, is perhaps well worth telling here. The boys of the Twelfth, like those of other regiments perhaps, were much given to discussing the probable outcome of any military undertaking. On this forced march the boys struck up a discussion as to the probability of overtaking Lee's army, the likelihood of a battle, and the probable result of it. Finally some of the boys said that they had seen enough of the Johnnys and that they wished that they, the Johnnys, would go on until they should run into the Gulf of Mexico. Fighting the Johnnys was no longer a picnic. The time had passed when the boys were "spoiling for a fight," and as the average man is generally willing to postpone a possibly fatal ordeal, so the most of the boys were doubtless willing to delay an engagement with the enemy. Private Allison, however, then about 19 years of age, spoke up showing the grit to perform a disagreeable duty immediately, saying: "Boys, if I have to fight the Rebels at all I am willing to do it right now. I do not desire to follow them for a week or two, and then have to fight them at last."
     (581) We camped this night in a piece of woods to the side of the road not far, as we learned afterward, from the Southside railroad. It happened that the cavalry a short time before had captured a train of cars containing subsistence for Lee's army, and the train was lying not far from our camp. One of the boys of Company I somehow found out that the train was there, and he got by some sort of management a large piece of bacon, as much as he could well carry and brought it to camp, dividing it among a number of the company. This was a welcome supplement to the rations.
     (582) Before daylight on the morning of the ever memorable 9th of April, a day that will stand out as conspicuously in our history as that of the surrender at Yorktown, if not more so, we started to cut off and surround the Rebels in their retreat, to engage and vanquish them in their Last Ditch, and give a finishing stroke to the Lost Cause and thus to give to the loyal people of the Nation the fruition of their indomitable struggles, through hope through darkness and doubt, for four long and bloody years; to illuminate the land with joy, and to fill it with a great gladness such as it had not known for generations.
     (583) We marched not very far when we were started on the double-quick along the road, just as day was breaking. We had marched thus rapidly only for a few minutes, when some cavalry were observed coming out of woods on our right at a rather rapid rate, though in good order. It appeared that the Rebels had been driving them, and that they were withdrawing to uncover the infantry. Just as a squadron emerged from the woods opposite our regiment, one of the cavalrymen exclaimed: "Here come the Doe boys!" and then he gave us the further encouragement of assuring us that the Johnnys had up the black flag.
     (584) Every soldier who served any considerable time in the late war will bear out the assertion that in no kind of civil life during the same length of time could a man bear a tithe of the rumors, startling in purport, that he could hear during the war. So the boys had heard too many rumors to be frightened by this story of the black flag. In a few minutes our regiment was halted, the ranks closed up and formed into line upon the road. This road, it is believed, led north, so as to intersect the road the Rebels were on, a short distance west of Appomattox Court-house. Our part of the line did not extend as far as the intersection of the roads, but doubtless the two divisions extended beyond it, so as to completely cut off the retreat of the enemy. We moved in line toward the enemy and at nearly right angle to the road, through some woods in such a manner as to place our regiment in the west line of the closing in lines. Our two divisions from the Army of the James and Sheridan's cavalry were now barring the Rebel retreat. We advanced rather cautiously, moving up a little then, then halting, waiting on the disposition of other troops. It was not long till shells began to crash through the tree tops above us, from the enemy's batteries. They did no harm to us, however.
     (585) We now halted and remained in line for perhaps two hours, expecting to have a battle that day. The boys of the Twelfth seemed confident. There was no disposition shown by any to flinch. They no doubt were cheered by the thought that for once, since joining Grant's army, they were about to get a whack at the Rebs without having to fight them behind breast works; when about 9 o'clock a. m., the order came very unexpectedly and to our great gratification and relief, to cease firing until further orders. We did not then know that a flag of truce had been sent by Gen. Lee; but the boys generally seemed, in the phrase of the present time, to "catch on" to the fact that this probably meant the surrender of Lee's army, the mainstay of the Rebellion; and their countenances accordingly lighted up with the thought of the pleasing prospect of this glorious consummation, which all felt was devoutly to he wished for, and which had been hoped, prayed and fought for through four long years of blood and tears, and tears and blood.
     (586) Soldiers hardly ever have knowledge before hand of any great military movement in which they are to engage. Sometimes they are precipitated into a hazardous undertaking without a minute's notice. They are even sometimes engaged in important movements without knowing definitely what they are doing. A soldier, who was in McClellan's army in its retreat from the Chickahominy to the James, once related that he thought that all the time they were fighting and marching they were going toward Richmond instead of retreating. But, as to the matter of the early knowledge of what was about to be done, for once, that 9th of April, the soldiers got ahead of the Commander of the United States Army, for they had at about 9 o'clock a. m. that eventful day a pretty strong intimation of what was about to take place; while Lee's dispatch to Grant agreeing to surrender on Grant's terms did not reach him until half past eleven o'clock a. m., the latter being considerably in the rear of his forces, passing from the right to the left to communicate with Sheridan. He could not be found till then, and consequently did not know sooner of Lee's acceptance of his terms.
     (587) Perhaps it was shortly after 12 m. that our line moved up toward the Rebel camp into open ground, and soon their camp some half mile distant appeared in view. Not long after this a great volume of cheers was heard rolling round the lines from right to left. This we soon learned was caused by the announcement of the surrender. The cheering war, not precisely continuous, but was rather somewhat intermittent. It would break out in great roars, then subside, then in a few minutes break out again, all the time coming nearer as the news was carried from organization to organization. Pretty soon our commander, Col. Curtis, rode in front of the regiment and repeated the gladsome news of the surrender, saying that the war was virtually over; that we would soon be mustered out, and sent home; that we would get home in time for harvest. The boys, inspired by the thought of final victory, that the "cruel war" was over, and especially by the thought of home, gave three such rousing heart-felt cheers as doubtless never escaped their lips before.
     (588) Such vigorous, frantic and deep-down-from-the-heart cheering was perhaps never before heard on this continent as was heard that day and the boys need not ever expect to bear the like again. Men acted with the delirium of joy, climbing trees, throwing their hats in the air, jumping on them and doing all sorts of frantic things. They forgot all about the long and weary marches they had made; their suffering from sickness, hunger and cold; the dangers, battles and scenes of carnage they had passed through. All thoughts of these things were swept away by the great flood of joy that overwhelmed them, because of the glorious victory of the hosts of Union and Liberty over the hosts of Treason.
     (589) And now a remarkable feature of this almost closing scene in the great drama of the Civil War should not fail of receiving notice, especially as it had not hitherto been alluded to, so far as has been observed, in any other published account of the surrender. About a half hour after the cheering bad ceased on the part of the Union soldiers, there was almost as vigorous cheering in the Rebel camp. This conduct of the enemy had something of the appearance of rejoicing over their own defeat. However, though no explanation is remembered as ever having been given for this demonstration, the reasonable inference is that they were cheering because they had heard the news that they were to be paroled upon the field and sent home, instead of being sent to prison. Like the Union soldiers they were delighted with the prospect that they should soon "breathe the air again of our (their) own beloved home." Be this as it may, this cheering of Lee's defeated veterans was a most extraordinary occurrence. And it is doubtful if a parallel to it can be found anywhere in all previous history. This was a scene the like of which could occur nowhere else, perhaps, on the earth at this time than in this free, enlightened and humane land of ours.
     (590) Some mention here of Lieut. H. R. McCord will perhaps be not without interest. He was mustered in as first sergt. of Company G. During the war he received promotions up to first lieutenant, and when Col. Curtis was put in command of a brigade, McCord was appointed adjutant general on the colonel's staff. The lieutenant had relations living all during the war within the Rebel lines, and he would hear, through letters from them occasionally. He came to believe and so expressed himself during the last year of the war, that the Rebels would never be conquered. Doubtless the die-in-the-last-ditch spirit breathed in those letters was responsible for that belief. He never gave up that idea until the morning of Lee's surrender. This want of faith in final success, however, in nowise interfered with his faithfulness and efficiency as a soldier, for he was ever ready to do his whole duty bravely and well. The cloud of despair that had hung over him was all swept away that memorable morning, as a fog before the breeze. And perhaps there was not a gladder man, nor one that rejoiced more heartily that day in the entire army than he, over the glorious victory and the downfall of the Rebellion.
     (591) Two divisions, of the Twenty-fourth Corps and some other troops remained on the field of surrender while the Rebels were in course of being paroled. At first for about one day our guards kept the soldiers of the two armies apart and from mingling with each other. After that there was no restraint put upon them, and the late deadly enemies met and chatted in a quite amicable and seemingly friendly way, just as if they had never been at war with each other, The Johnnys were disposed to contend that if the number of their men and their means had been equal to those of Uncle Sam, they could not have been conquered. But they said nothing at that time about one Southern man being able to whip five Yankees.
     (592) There was considerable trading going on between the soldiers of the two armies. The boys on either side were disposed to trade almost anything they had. The Johnnys would sell their Confederate money for about anything they could get for it, and they would go to our sutlers and spend any "green-back" or postal-scrip money thus obtained for tobacco, being anxious to get, as they said, some "Yankee tobacco." They quite generally expressed a willingness to give up the struggle; to have the war end immediately, and to submit to the authority of the United States.
     (593) The world has heard much of the hero of Appomattox and the famous apple tree. Gen. Grant rather spoils that story of Lee's surrendering to him under the apple tree, by saying in his memoirs that it had very small basis of fact, viz., that Gen. Lee had met Grant's staff officer, Gen. Babcock, under an apple tree which stood near a road running up through an orchard, which was near the Rebel camp. After all, though this story has a pretty good basis of fact, many a good tale has less. At all events it was quite generally believed by the Union troops, and there was accordingly a scramble among them for fragments of the tree. Many of the Twelfth managed to get pieces of it, for when it came to "confiscating" things and appropriating them to private use this regiment was never far behind.
     (594) As anything relating to that historic field and that memorable day is of interest, the following as related by a soldier of the Twelfth is given:
     (595) On the day of the surrender or perhaps the next day, I was strolling about the field and chanced to approach near to where a colonel of our army and a citizen were in conversation. This citizen, it seemed, was no other than McLean, at whose house Gen. Grant drew up terms of the surrender of Lee's army. Just as I came up McLean was saying, "I own the ground where first battle of the war was fought, Bull Run, and I own the ground where the last battle of the war was fought, at this place." This remark arrested my attention. I knew that it was generally regarded among the on troops that Lee's surrender was the virtual collapse of the Rebellion, but I was interested in having a confirmation of this opinion from a Rebel himself, being the rest of the boys anxious to have the cruel war over; so I could not refrain from saying: "And so you regard the war as being over?" addressing my remark to the citizen. "Yes," said McLean. The colonel answered also, saying, "And one of the greatest generals of the world, General Lee, so regards it." I felt a vaguely defined sense of displeasure at and disapproval of this remark of the colonel, but said nothing.
     (596) Perhaps if this soldier had looked into his mind the motive of this feeling, he would have found it in fact that it was hardly consistent with loyalty to his country, its cause and his comrades to be praising his rebel general whose hands were red with his comrades' blood, who had been fighting against the only free government at that time worthy of the name on the face of earth, endeavoring to set up a government founded the barbarism of human slavery; and whose so-called government had so cruelly treated his comrades at Andersonville and other prisons.
     (597) The officers of the Army of the Potomac seem to have had a very high opinion of the military ability of Gen. Lee. Gen. Grant says in his Memoirs that it was uncommon thing for his staff officers to hear from Eastern officers: "Well, Grant has never met Bobby Lee yet," implying that when Grant should meet him he would meet a greater military antagonist than he had previously met and perhaps an over-match. Events - the hard tug of war for about a year, however, proved that "Old United States Grant" was too much for "Bobby Lee."
     (598) Impartial history will, no doubt, record with substantially one voice that the blacks were innocently the cause of the war. Anything therefore relating to the "contrabands" in connection with the war will not be impertinent, so an incident in regard to one of them is here given. One day during the several days we were camped at Appomattox a colored man came into the camp of the Twelfth. On being engaged in conversation and asked if he knew that his people were now all free, and told that President Lincoln had two years before the then last New Years' declared all the slaves in the land forever free, and being told that he was now, since the Rebels were whipped, as free as any man, be seemed almost struck dumb with amazement, managing, however, to titter some devout ejaculations. He appeared to be though more incredulous if possible, than amazed.
     (599) It may seem to be almost incredible that this black man living not more than 80 miles from our lines, for the then past year, should be ignorant of the Proclamation of Emancipation, at a time more than two years after it had been issued, especially as news is said to have generally traveled fast among the slave population. He, however, did not know of the granting of this great and long prayed for boon to his race by "Massa Linkum," or else he was a very skillful adept in assuming ignorance. It may be remarked here that in whatever degree the slaves may have been ignorant of the existence of the Proclamation, they seemed to know by intuition or otherwise that their interests lay with the success of the Union cause.
     (600) Within three or four days after the surrender Lee's army was all paroled and sent home. April 12th the Second Division (ours) marched for Lynchburg, arriving there on the 14th, and destroyed much war material at that place. The Second Brigade entered the town in advance, and as our men marched along the streets the blacks in great numbers, many of them sent from various place - some from North Carolina - for safe keeping, thronged the streets. They were wild with joy. They threw their arms around each other, shouting "Glory to God! the Yanks am come and we're all free."
     (601) The 16th the command started back from Lynchburg and scarcely, if at all, halting at Appomattox, pushed on toward Richmond. Our division halted a few days at Burkesville, during which time the Twelfth was paid to the first of the past January. We then marched on to Richmond, arriving there the 24th. Our brigade was camped near the city. We remained here nearly two months and during this time, the 16th of June, the Twelfth was mustered out. And it was while we were here that one pleasant June afternoon we were marched to a point nearer the city than our camp, and just as the shades of night were beginning to spread over the landscape, the boys of the Twelfth who had won medals at Fort Gregg were presented them, receiving them as before, written from the hand of Gen. John Gibbon's daughter. This was a proud day for those boys.
     (602) On the 20th of June, the Twelfth took transports for home. They landed us at Baltimore. We took cars there for Wheeling, arriving there the 24th. In a few days the men were paid off and, receiving their discharges, were soon on their way to their several homes to enjoy the peace they had to fight for; and yet as long as they should live, from time to time, fight battles over again. It should be said, however, that before leaving for their homes the boys were given a grand dinner by the generous citizens of Wheeling.
     (603) Col. Curtis died August 25th, 1891. There was always a high respect and filial regard entertained on the part of the members of the regiment for their late commander; and the survivors will be gratified to have here recorded Col. Caldwell's memorial address, before referred to, upon his life and character.


     (604) Comrades and Friends: - General Curtis is gone. He was a grandson of John Curtis, a patriot soldier of 1776.
     (605) General Curtis was born April 18, 1821, on now historic ground where the great battle of Antietam was afterwards fought.
     (607) In 1832 his parents removed to the town of West Liberty, in Ohio county, where on becoming of age he engaged and continued in business as a merchant until he became a soldier in 1862. In 1861 he was a member of the State convention at Wheeling, which organized a loyal State government for Virginia.
     (607) In 1776 one of the members of the Continental Congress advocated unanimity in supporting the immortal declaration of our country's independence by reminding his fellow-congressmen that "they must all hang together, or they would all hang separately." In that Wheeling convention every man had to face the same situation. Each one who cast his lot and his vote there on the Union side risked his life, his fortune and his sacred honor on what was then a doubtful result, and against the vast majority of the people of his State, against the seductions of State sovereignty, and often against the strongest influence of family ties. General Curtis had a brother who was colonel of the Twenty-third Virginia Confederate Regiment and was killed at the battle of Slaughter Mountain.
     (608) If the South succeeded, death or exile, confiscation of property and business and social proscription were sure to each member of that convention. It was a convention of Southerners true to the old flag without an appropriation. From its results was born West Virginia, fair and patriotic, devoted and loyal, in the sisterhood of States.
     (609) It is one of the proud memories that we cherish of our comrade that he served not falteringly among those true and devoted men. In 1861 he raised and tendered to the old war governor, Francis H. Pierpont, a company of volunteers. Again in 1862 he enlisted a company which became Company D of the Twelfth West Virginia Infantry. He was elected captain.
     (610) In 1863 the nine captains of the regiment, other than himself, and the other commissioned officers, elected him major. As such he commanded the regiment until January, 1864, when his worth was again recognized by his election by his fellow-officers of the regiment as colonel, and their choice was ratified by Governor Boreman. Holding that distinguished rank, he commanded generally a brigade, sometimes his regiment, until the close of the war.
     (611) Even while thus serving he suffered from disease but was a soldier who never lost a day's duty in those trying years, or answered a surgeon's roll call. Whoever else was absent, he was always "present for duty."
     (612) At New Market, Piedmont, Lynchburg, at Snicker's Ford, Kearnstown, Winchester, Fisher's Hill, and above all at Fort Gregg, he was the leader not only in rank of his brigade, but in fact. He served under the quick, brilliant and glorious Phil. Sheridan, the Stonewall Jackson of our side, throughout the great campaign of 1864 in Shenandoah Valley.
     (613) At Snicker's Ford on the banks of the beautiful Shenandoah, we were all ranged along the shore of the river behind a low fence of stones surmounted by rails. The Confederates had lately had a blockade runner get through, and wore light blue trousers and jackets, once gray, which time and service had rendered of no particular color. Their skirmishers approached us, walking backwards and turning to fire. Our boys, when they got near, wanted to fire on them, but Colonel Curtis forbade it, saying: "Those are our men."
     (6l4) Directly one of them turned and took deliberate aim at the colonel, who was standing by a rail upright by his side, and blazed away. Tung! went the oak rail as it was struck by the ball close to his head. It was the only time I ever knew the colonel to forget his tactics. "Shoot them, boys, shoot them now!" he said with energy. It was not the regulation command, but it was appropriate and efficient.
     (615) The foremost of all who served, General Grant, in his Personal Memoirs, calls the assault by Curtis's Brigade on Fort Gregg in front of Petersburg, Va., "desperate." In this assault there were 715 men and officers killed and wounded on Sunday, April 2, 1865, yet Col. Curtis captured the fort. His own regiment had three color bearers killed in planting their flag on the ramparts.
     (616) After he had ordered the charge General Foster regarding it as impossible of success, ordered that it should be abandoned after the troops had got near the fort. But American soldiers are men of intelligence. With one mind they thought that they were more certain to be shot down if they turned their backs, than if they went on. They rushed forward through chevaux de fris and ditch and threw themselves on their faces against the sandy front of the ramparts, General Foster exclaimed when they refused to about face: "Well, go on. You'll all be killed anyhow." A two hours' hand to hand contest over the walls of the fort resulted in its capture.
     (617) General Gibbons called it "if not the most desperate, one of the most desperate assaults of the whole war." A few days afterward at a grand review at Richmond, one officer and two privates of the regiment were called to step four paces in front of the line of battle. A general order was then read, naming them for conspicuous personal gallantry in the assault, and soon afterwards bronze medals were presented to them by our National Congress. One of these three was that brave and fearless soldier, Lieut. Mont. Curtis. now deceased, a son of Gen. Curtis.
     (618) For the part he took the eagles upon Colonel Curtis's shoulders were replaced by the general's stars by the President of the United States. The official record in the War Department of the promotion reads: "For gallant service in the capture of Fort Gregg, Virginia." The regiment was presented with a bronze eagle for its conduct. It bears the inscription:
     (619) "Presented to the Twelfth Regiment, West Virginia Volunteer Infantry, by their corps commander, General John Gibbon, for gallant conduct in the assault upon Fort Gregg, near Petersburg, Va., April 2, 1865."
     (620) Richmond was immediately evacuated when this fort surrendered. General Curtis was afterward elected a member of the Legislature and rendered important civil services to the State, and has continually held positions of honor and importance bestowed by his comrades in the G. A. R.
     (621) Owing to declining health he had for some years lived in retirement before his death on the 25th of last August at his home in West Liberty, at which time be was one of our vice presidents. Our deceased comrade was a modest man, but we have no reason to be modest in speaking of him.
     (622) It was the fortune of your speaker to sleep in the same blankets with General Curtis for two years and a half during his service, being his adjutant, and he was the most indulgent, considerate and generous of men, manly and Christian in all his character. He had the rare faculty of attaching those he led to himself in unwavering confidence, and that enthusiastic, affectionate personal regard without which no military captain of any degree can be a success.
     (623) Like the Old Commander who received the sword of Lee at Appomattox, he was level-headed, and never lost his head in the hour of danger; had full possession of his faculties and capabilities in the hour of battle, as well as on dress parade.
     (624) In time of peace he was a man of peace. When war came be became a soldier. When peace returned again, he returned to the paths of peace. He was a splendid type of the citizen-soldier. At the end of his "three score years and ten" he leaves a memory which will be revered, honored and cherished by his comrades, and perpetuated in the history of a grateful country.


     A few words in conclusion are ventured. From a military point of view it would appear that one of the lessons of the war, if not the most important one, teaches that we should not over-estimate our own valor, strength and resources, or underestimate those of the enemy. Accordingly, when it becomes necessary to go to war, making full allowance for any possible inadequacy of estimate in these regards, we should strike with ample and over- whelming force. The force should be double or triple that which would seem to be enough, rather than of doubtful sufficiency. In fact, where there is uncertainty as to the possible magnitude of a war, it is best to be on the certain side, and to strike the first blow with utmost strength, rather than feebly - with the big end of the bludgeon of war, rather than with the little end; and not do as was done by the government in the late war, begin it with an inadequate force. The example of the Prussians in the Franco-Prussian War teaches a lesson in warfare. They struck in the beginning with overwhelming force, and made short work of the war.
     Perhaps the most striking fact in connection with the conduct of our late war was the lack of appreciation of this guiding principle of precaution, or the disregard of it off each side of the contending powers. There are many examples illustrating this fact. The failure of the government to fully measure the task of the suppression of the Rebellion prolonged the war through four years, seriously jeopardized the result, and caused the sacrifice of a million of men, and the expenditure of many millions of money to finally suppress it, which otherwise might have been accomplished with one-tenth of the cost of men and money. Twenty thousand more men on the Union side at Bull Run, for instance, which additional number could easily have been had, would probably have gained the day there, and put an end to the war.
     On the other hand, if the Rebels had not under-estimated the valor of their foes, thinking that one of them could whip five Yankees, and had they made their supreme effort at an earlier stage of the war instead of at the last of it, when they were "robbing the cradle and the grave" to recruit their armies - if for instance they had had at Antietam 110,000 men instead of 80,000 or 70,000, over which McClellan failed to gain a decisive victory, which larger number they could have had as easily as they could bring on the field of Gettysburg 100,000 men almost a year later, after meeting heavy losses at Chancellorsville and on other fields, it is no violent presumption to say that they might have won the day and gained their independence.
     However, regarding the war from a moral and political standpoint, it sometimes seems as if the war did not last long enough. It took years of the terrible scourge of war, it would appear, to convince the people of the seceded states, and to wring from them the acknowledgement that they were better off without slavery than with it. And perhaps if the war had lasted a little longer, and the Rebels had felt still further the scourge of war, those who now have so much respectful regard for the flag of treason, and the Lost Cause and their defenders, might have finally become convinced that one flag and one cause and its defenders are enough to honor; and that there should be no place in the patriotic regard and affection of the people in this free land of ours for the Rebel flag, the Lost Cause or their defenders. Big as this country is it ought to be too little to give room for any display of honor to the Rebel flag, the Lost Cause, or their champions, dead or alive. Therefore, no soldier who would be faithful to his country and the cause for which he fought should join in any ceremony of decorating Rebel graves, of holding reunions with Rebels, or of putting up monuments to them.
     A few years since Gen. Sherman, at a Soldiers' reunion said that it was commendable to decorate Union soldiers' graves, to encourage reunions and to put up soldiers' monuments, as to do these things was to create and nurture a patriotic sentiment. Granting the truth of this, it follows then as the night follows the day that to take part in these or similar ceremones, when done in honor of or with Rebels distinctively as such, in contradistinction to being Union soldiers or citizens, is to engender and to nurture disloyalty. No Union soldier should do it. The reason given by those of them who do so, is that they wish to remove the animosities of the war, and to cultivate a fraternal feeling between the sections. The motive is good, but is it not paying too dearly for kindly feeling and fraternal regard when they are obtained at the cost of the inculcation of disloyalty?
     The people of the late seceded States claim to be now as loyal as those of the rest of the Union, but while there is a growing improvement in respect to the loyalty of the former, there is too much of the old disloyal spirit among them yet. Many instances might be given; but only that of the utterance of the following sentiment by Gen. Early at the unveiling of the monument erected in 1891 to the memory of "Stonewall" Jackson, and the manner in which it was received, is given: "If I am ever known to repudiate the cause for which Lee fought and Jackson died," said Early, "may the lightning of heaven blast me, and the scorn of all brave men and good women be my portion." According to the Charlottesville, (Va.) Chronicle, from which the above quotation is taken, this sentiment was cheered by twenty thousand throats. The fair inference is that Gen. Early and those cheering his sentiment are as much Rebels as they ever were.
     The same newspaper above named says that there were ten thousand Union soldiers present at the unveiling of this monument. While the loyal sentiment of the land thus suffers the inculcation of treason, and itself to be insulted by demonstrations like that of the unveiling of the monument referred to, and others of similar character in honor of late Rebels or the cause for which they fought, by those who lately bore arms against the government - there is no obligation of good feeling or of fraternity that demands of Union soldiers the countenancing and aiding of these traitor-breeding demonstrations, by their presence at them. It is to be hoped that the country is to be spared the humiliating spectacle of many more such disgusting manifestations of falsity on the part of the Union soldiers to the cause for which they fought, as that it had to witness at the unveiling of the monument erected to the memory of "Stonewall" Jackson at Lexington, Va.