"That young man has never learned to play the game of 'Brag.'"

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John Hartwell

Forum Host
Aug 27, 2011
Central Massachusetts
At Appomattox, April 1865. From: In Camp and Battle with the Washington Artillery of New Orleans: A narrative of events during the late civil war from Bull Run to Appomattox (1885), by William M. Miller, pp. 383-5

Had it been only Sheridan that barred the way the surrender would not have occurred at Appomattox; but Gordon only drove back the cavalry to find himself confronted by the Army of the James, and their bayonets could now be seen advancing through the trees, and the road was blocked with ten times his number. It was then that the flag of truce was raised, by an agreement with Sheridan and Gordon.
Presently a Federal cavalry officer was observed coming down the road towards our forces; he wore his hair very long, and it was of a light or reddish color. In his hand he carried a white handkerchief, which he constantly waved up and down. He inquired for Gen. Lee, and was directed to Gen. Longstreet upon the hill. Upon approaching the General he dismounted and said, "Gen. Longstreet, in the name of Gen. Sheridan and myself I demand the surrender of this army. I am Gen. Custer."
Gen. Longstreet replied, "I am not in command of this army. Gen. Lee is, and he has gone back to meet Gen. Grant in regard to a surrender."
"Well," said Custer, "no matter about Gen. Grant; we demand the surrender be made to us. If you do not do so we will renew hostilities, and any blood shed will be upon your head!"
"Oh, well!" said Longstreet, "if you do that I will do my best to meet you;" then, turning to his staff, he said, "Col. Manning, please order Gen. Johnson to move his division to the front, to the right of Gen. Gordon. Col. Latrobe, please order Gen. Pickett forward, to Gen. Gordon's left. Do it at once"
Custer listened with surprise depicted upon his countenance; he had not thought so many of our troops were at hand with Longstreet. He, cooling off immediately, said, "General, probably we had better wait until we hear from Grant and Lee. I will speak to Gen. Sheridan about it; don't move your troops yet." And he mounted and withdrew in a much more quiet style than in his approach.
As he passed out of hearing, Longstreet said quietly, with that peculiar chuckle of his, "Ha! ha! that young man has never learned to play the game of 'Brag.'" The divisions of Johnson and Pickett were only a myth, and had no existence whatever after the fight at "Five Forks."

That would make a great painting: Old Pete very cool and confident, and George suddenly looking very nervous.
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