We have arrived at that time of year where the “historians” never hesitate to tell us about Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, and the distinct impression given in most articles and history books is the Lee’s surrender was automatically the end of the War. If not stated directly, it is implied that when Lee surrendered the South surrendered. Not quite so. All that Lee surrendered was the Army of Northern Virginia, nothing else. As commander of all the Confederate armies at that time, he could have surrendered them all. He didn’t.
Joe Johnston surrendered his army in North Carolina at the end of April and other Confederate generals surrendered as May and June dragged on. Some, like Jo Shelby, refused to surrender. They buried their battle flags in the Rio Grande and crossed over into Mexico. Others just walked away. *I have been told though I can’t verify it, that Cherokee General Stand Watie did not technically surrender. Rather he signed a “cessation of hostilities” agreement and his men went home with their weapons. A more informed historian than me might know more about that.
More @ Revised History
*On June 23, 1865, at Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation, Watie signed a cease-fire agreement with Union representatives for his command, the First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. He was the last Confederate general in the field to stop fighting.
A good friend of mine who is now gone, most unfortunately, especially for the history of the Cherokee, as he wrote what I consider THE book on Stand Watie. (He was working on another book when he died and his worthless daughter and son were not interested and would not even let me have his writings, so that I could do something with them. I have no use for people that don't love their families.) His wife's grandfather rode with Watie. The book is called Red Fox, Stand Watie's Years in Indian Territory, by Wilfred Knight. He begins the book with this poem that he wrote:
No monuments or marble shafts
Keep silent record of the time
When grey clan ranks of warriors rode
The Indian Nation line.
But mists of time have not eclipsed
The ancient stories of the day,
And still the whispered words are heard,
"Stand Watie passed this way."
The noon of darkness casts its spell:
Dutch Billy's bugle sounds once more
And Watie heads his column out
To ride through legend's door.
Now once again the muskets fire
While "Eagle" Buzzard spirits soars,
And smoothbores spew their deadly hail
As Watie leads to war.
But now - the Red Fox rides no more,
No bands of men, with muffled sound
Slip through the night to strike at dawn;
The fight is thru, the moon is down.
Now who will sing old Watie's song,
And who will tell his tale,
And who will keep the rendezvous
Along the Texas Trail?
(Hollywood Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA Confederate Memorial Day 1992? I'm wearing my father's blue seersucker suit on the left standing beside my friend in the blue blazer, Wilfred Knight, a true Confederate and a gentleman. BT)