Although the name "Appomattox" is usually associated with the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia and the conclusion of the War Between the States, there was also a battle fought at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. Combined cavalry and infantry forces under Confederate Generals Fitzhugh Lee and John B. Gordon (misspelled in this poem as "Gordan") successfully assailed earthworks constructed by Federal cavalry along Bent Creek Road. Federal infantry, however, quickly began an envelopment of the Confederate right and the II and VI Corps launched an assault on General James Longstreet's rear guard. When Gordon proved unable to clear an avenue of withdrawal to the south, General Robert E. Lee was forced to surrender his army to Ulysses S. Grant.
The "Grimes" mentioned in the poem is Confederate Major General Bryan Grimes, a North Carolinian who graduated from the University of North Carolina rather than West Point and was a successful planter and secession convention delegate before the War. Grimes served with the Army of Northern Virginia from Seven Pines through Spotsylvania Court House in May 1864, when he took over Junius Daniel's brigade following that general's mortal wounding in the "Bloody Angle." Grimes moved further up the command ladder in October of that same year when he assumed command of General Steven Dodson Ramseur's division following Ramseur's death at Cedar Creek during Jubal Early's failed Valley Campaign. Grimes returned to the Army of Northern Virginia in time to take part in the actions at Petersburg, Fort Stedman, Sayler's Creek, and Appomattox Court House. Following the War, he returned to his plantation in North Carolina and was killed by an assassin's bullet in 1880.
"The Last Charge at Appomattox"
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Last modified 16-April-2001