It was Over... The South Was Defeated

Isaac Payne rode with the last of his company to Appomattox on April 10 with no inkling of what to expect. He waited outside the perimeter. Enlisted men were not allowed to be present on the streets of the Courthouse area. Only commanding officers. Isaac was emaciated, just like all the other southern patriots who leaned hard against the white picket fence that surrounded the township. Tired, empty, and disheartened, they waited to know the end of the story. One man could scarcely be identified from the next. They all looked the same. Withered and wasted. Isaac dismounted and patted Glory. She was his only earthly possession besides his weapons. His only connection to home. He gripped the bridle and pressed his face to her thin neck, unconsciously rubbing his hand over her protruding bones.

If he looked up in the distance he might see his father and brother riding the dusty road to Appomattox to join him, but how could that be? They were dead. The thought of their absence and the way they had fallen at Gettysburg sent waves of nausea over him. He dismounted and heaved, relieving himself of absolutely nothing. His stomach was empty, hunger a thing of the past. The lack of food no longer meant a thing to Isaac. He needed his mother, Jonathan, Cassie, and the boys. To touch his mother’s face one more time would suffice him. To wrap his arms around her again would be heaven.

A mere remnant of his brave officers accompanied General Lee—Longstreet, Heth, Gordon, Wilcox and a few others. The rest were dead or mangled, unable to travel. From a distance, Isaac could see General Gordon at the head of the column in the epitome of West Point's finest hour. Officers from both sides stood at attention as did Isaac and the scores of other enlisted men who waited outside the gates. They were in awe of what remained of the grandest army of all time. The most fascinating of all generals.

A warm wind rustled the trees about them, the only stir. 
Beyond that was dead silence. 
Not a whisper. 
Just the snap of Gordon’s leather as he mounted. 
Gloom hovered thicker than miasma over the 
bloody pond of Shiloh while the general gave the orders, 
touched the toe of his boot with his sword, 
and in deafening silence—an unthinkable moment became an 
unforgettable memory to both the North and the South.

Isaac thought, General William Gordon from Georgia, Antietam’s patriot. He fought that battle like no other could have. Chills ran up Isaac’s spine as he remembered what he had heard about Gordon. To be in his presence was a privilege Isaac was not taking for granted.

Confederate officers saluted their commanders and walked away in a sort of sadness that begged belief. Word had spread that only officers were allowed to keep their side arms and their horses, but under no circumstances would Isaac leave Appomattox without Glory, nor would he part with the saber and rifle he had taken from two thieving Yanks who tried to steal from his family just a year before he went to fight. Isaac’s eyes were fixed on Longstreet and Heth, Commanders in Lee’s Army, under whom his father, Jonathan, and Albert Henry had served. He stood as tall as possible and saluted them from a distance. They returned salute.

The ragged war-weary veteran, a warm April breeze blowing against his youthful face, rode west-southwest toward Sarepta, Mississippi, memories of the War that took his father and brother vaulting through his mind.

It was over. The South was defeated. 


From Manuscript Isaac's House
Jane B. Gaddy




Gettysburg Photo by Phyl Lippy, Brandon, FL

Comments

  1. I hope you can find a publisher soon for Isaac's House. I know Charlie will be excited too. Yes I wish some in the family could buy the old home place and restore it to what it has been when I saac lived there and raised his family.

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  2. Have you found a publisher? I sure would like to read all of Issac's House, every time I real a little more I get more ancious

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  3. That is such a sad story about Clayton, I am so glad he finally got to come home

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  4. Kay, would you like to read the manuscript of Isaac's House? I can email it to you. I trust you to hide it away and not let anyone else read it. I am getting read to start up again searching for an agent. I have made a few corrections and will need to clean it up a bit, but I know how you feel about needing to read it. I signed on to follow your blog. I am anxious to hear some of your stories about the family. So get to writing!

    By the way, my brother and his wife, my sister, and I drove all over Calhoun County again while I was in MS. We went to Isaac's house again. It is collapsing more with each visit I make. So sad. It's such a beautiful spot.

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  5. Hi Jane, I have not even started my blog, I will get around to it soon I hope. I would love to read the manuscript of Isaac's House & I would never let anyone read it, once the book is published I will buy one and let the family read the book. I do hope you find a agent soon, I an sure it is very upsetting to have not been able to find one.
    IF you go back to Ms could you please take a photo of Isaac's house and email it to me. It had been about 3 or 4 yrs since Sean & I was there. IT is so sad to see it in the condition that I last saw it, it is a shame that someone could not have done something with keeping it in good repair at least for the family. I have been there several times and each time it is worse. The first time I was there my husband & I climbed in through the broken window, it was such a neat old house at that time. There were two old photo's still hanging on the wall. They were in oval wooden frames. The next time I went I took my daughter and the photo were gone. I talked to Charley about them and he remembered them too, but didn't know who got them.
    Did you go by and see him? I understand he is in not the greatest of health, a neighbor of theirs told me on facebook that he is having to use oxygen now.
    Thanks for trusting me with the manuscript.
    Kay

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