The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981 Page: 426
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
most of his army. For the first time, many Texas Confederates ex-
pressed despair. Captain Douglas, in a letter he cautioned not to be
shown "out of our own family," stated, "our country is in much the
worse condition it has ever been. If a great deed is not done this winter,
the Yanks will close the war in the spring." 9
Other Texans remained defiant. Even after Lee's army surrendered
in April, 1865, some Texas Confederates wanted to carry on the strug-
gle. Captain Samuel T. Foster, with Granbury's brigade in North
Carolina, admitted that Lee's surrender had had "a very demoralizing
affect on the army," but still believed "we will whip this fight yet."
George Lee Robertson, serving in South Texas, vowed to fight on. "If
I can't have a confederacy I don't want anything else," he wrote. Even
after he learned of Lee's surrender, W. W. Heartsill believed that if
the southern people would unite as one, "the Trans-Mississippi could
defy the combined powers of all Yankeedom." 94
Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Trans-Mississippi depart-
ment, also believed the war should continue and urged his soldiers to
remain at their posts. Most Texans in the department, however, agreed
with Americus L. ("Lee") Nelms that "it would be folly in us to fight
on this side of the river now." Thus, regiments and companies melted
away in May as men headed home. There was little that Smith could
do but sign the terms of surrender at Galveston on June 2.95
Texas Confederates made their way to their homes as best as they
could. The homeward journey posed few obstacles to Texans in the
Trans-Mississippi, but for those Texans in Virginia and the Carolinas
the trip sometimes took months. Most of them returned with little
more than the clothes on their backs. Many found conditions at home
quite changed. Relatives and loved ones had died or been killed in
war, slaves were now free, money was scarce, and a Union army of
occupation was moving into the state. Most Confederate Texans, how-
ever, felt no bitterness at their sacrifice, but pride that they had fought
gallantly for a cause in which they deeply believed.96
93Douglas (comp. and ed.), Douglas's Texas Battery, 153.
94Brown (ed.), One of Cleburne's Command, 163 (first and second quotations); Robert-
son to Julia, May 8, 1865, Robertson Papers; Heartsill, Fourteen Hundred and 9g Days,
95Weddle, Plow-Horse Cavalry, 158; Oates, "Texas Under the Secessionists," 212.
o6For accounts of the trip home see Hamilton, History of Company M, 69-71; Lasswell
(comp. and ed.), Rags and Hope, 278-280; Fletcher, Rebel Private, Front and Rear, 145-
158; Walton, An Epitome of My Life, 93-94; Brown (ed.), One of Cleburne's Command,
173-187; Weddle, Plow-Horse Cavalry, 162-163.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 84, July 1980 - April, 1981, periodical, 1980/1981; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101225/m1/486/: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.