Amid the general rejoicings which followed the announcement of the surrender, one incident occurred which deserves to be recorded.
When the good news first came in, Mr. G. S. Chase, the agent of the Christian Commission, of the Fifth Corps, remarked to Brig. Gen. Gregory, by whose side he chanced to be standing, that no event in American hisotry demanded more hearty thanksgiving to Almighty God, than this glorious termination of the Great Rebellion. General Gregory immediately ordered his brigade to be drawn up in solid column, and then those scarred and bronzed veterans, the heroes of a score of battle-fields, sang together, and with impressive effect, that familiar doxology--"Praise God from whom all blessings flow."
Such was the fitting termination of the bloody scenes which for four years have been enacted on the soil of Virginia. God grant that the sword need never again be drawn in defence of Liberty and Union!
[source: Francis J Parker, The Story of the thirty-second regiment Massachusetts infantry, pp.253-4. Boston: C W Calkins & Co., 1880.]
At 2.30 P.M. we knew that the surrender was a fact, and that it would be officially promulgated at 4 P.M.
Meantime was a season of general and heartfelt mutual congratulations, during which it was noticed that General Gregory's brigade was forming square, off on the near hillside, and several officers of our brigade mounted and rode over to see what was going on.
Brigadier-General Gregory had a gift for prayer and speech, and also a resonant voice. From the centre of his square he made a rousing good speech of congratulation, and then, calling to prayer, commenced a hearty thanksiving to God for the success [p.254] which had attended our arms, and for the reasonable hope of an early return to peaceful homes.
Just then, miles away to our left, a detachment of General Fitz Hugh Lee's cavalry, having sighted a Union supply train--being very hungry and not knowing of the truce, pitched into the escort with artillery and carbines, and the boom, boom, boom of his guns smote upon the ear of Gregory. The general ceased abruptly, listened, and again boom, boom, boom came the sound well known to his practiced ear, and then again his voice rang out: "Never mind the rest, men--reduce square--form brigade line;" and in three minutes all were ready for action.