Tuesday, October 25, 2016

So strange how things come together...
I was searching through a copy of CONFEDERATE VETERAN on the Internet while looking for information on one of my Great-Great Grandfather's Confederate service when I came across a story written by Pattie ( Mrs. Lafayette) Guild entitled JOURNEY TO AND FROM APPOMATTOX. Earlier this month we visited Appomattox for the first time and as I stood in the room where the surrender was signed, I had an overpowering impulse to learn more about Tuscaloosa's Dr. Lafayette Guild because I knew he had been at Appomattox in his capacity as General Lee's personal physician. Well, on October 25, 2016, I got my wish to know more about Dr. Lafayette Guild at Appomattox. I have shared Pattie Guild's story on my blog ZERO, NORTHWEST FLORIDA. http://robertoreg.blogspot.com


 The dear old army had passed away from me forever, and I had been through the Confederacy. It was the last week of the war. Gen. Lee’s army was camped near Petersburg, and I had been there all     winter, at Mrs. Richard Kidder Meade’s, to be near my husband, who was medical director of the Army of Northern Virginia and on Gen. Lee’s staff. Agnes Lee had been on a visit at Mrs. Meade’s, but left Saturday morning for Richmond. Sunday morning I was dressing for church, when my ambulance drove up to Mrs. Meade’s door, and old Wilson, my faithful old soldier driver who had always driven my ambulance, gave me a note from my husband saying: “The enemy are entering Richmond. I do not wish to leave you within their lines. Wilson will know where to take you.” I immediately put some necessary articles in a small trunk and had it put in the ambulance, got in, and Wilson drove off. All that day and all that night we drove and drove. I do not remember eating, but I do know I slept. Once in the night I awoke and heard sounds of sorrow, and was told that they were from Mrs. A. P. Hill’s ambulance, and that Gen. Hill had been killed just before our army left Peters burg.

Well, we went on and on. Occasionally I saw my husband, and other officers would ride up and say: “Mrs. Guild, we have no command; we will rally around your ambulance." Our poor soldiers would come to me and ask for food, and know I had none to give; but each day my husband, I suppose, would man— age to get me something to eat, for I was never hungry. Often on that march my husband or some other officer would ride up hurriedly and speak to old Wilson, and he would whip up the mules, and we would rush across fields in any direction. It would be because the enemy had cut our lines. Finally Col. Baldwin, of Gen. Lee’s staff, came to me and gave me fifty dollars in greenbacks—the first, I believe, I ever had. He said he did not know what would happen, and I might need it; but I was so young and thoughtless in those days I did not dream of danger or surrender. I was even happy on that dreadful march; everything was so strange. I was the only lady. My husband would often ride up to my ambulance and cheer me in every way he could. At last, one evening at sunset, my ambulance stopped, Wilson saying he had orders to halt. By and by several officers came up, and soon the baggage-wagons. My husband ordered his servant. Nathan, whom he had brought from the old plantation, and who had been with him through the war, to get out his best clothes. He and other officers dressed themselves in their best. I asked Dr. Guild why it was, and he replied that they might be captured, and wanted to make a good appearance. Then my husband went with me to a house near by. where I refreshed myself. Returning to the ambulance, I found all the officers lying around on the ground with their military cloaks thrown over their faces, asleep in the moonlight. It was a strange sight. I got in my ambulance, and was soon asleep myself. When I awoke it was daylight, and we were moving. Soon my husband came to me and said there might be a fight there, but that I was in no danger, and must not be frightened. He took me out of the ambulance and put me in a gully, barricaded it with wagons, and told old Wilson to keep the ambulance ready, so he could put me in it, and where to take me if certain things happened; but just then an officer rode up and said there was a house a mile off, and my husband put me in the ambulance and took me there. It was the home of Gen. Morton, and he made me welcome, and took me to a room on the first floor, where my husband bade me good-by and returned to Gen. Lee. He had hardly left me, when a body of our men and a party of the enemy met in a skirmish right in front of my room. When it was over I laid my hat, watch, and chain off, and went to bathe my face, just as my door was burst open and a Dutch soldier, with pistol in his hand, came in, cursing the Rebels. I said not a word, but quietly left the room. I found the whole house filled with soldiers. I saw an officer, and told him what had happened, and he instantly went with me. I found my watch and chain gone, but was too glad to escape with that to murmur. I heard that Gen. John Gibbon, who used to be a dear old army friend, was near, and I asked if I could send him a note. Immediately a man was sent with my little penciled note to Gen. Gibbon, and quickly a reply came, saying he would come to me; and he came even while I was reading his note, the same kind old friend. He put a safe guard around the house; but, notwithstanding that, the next morning a negro soldier came to my room, but, as they had always been my slaves, I did not feel afraid of him. I ordered him out, and he went. Our little Indian boy, Joe, whom we had since he was seven years old (then twelve), was with me. Then my husband came and told me of the surrender, and he broke completely down when he spoke of Gen Lee.

Well, we left Appomattox Courthouse. My ambulance followed Gen. Lee’s, which was empty, he riding with his staff and those of the army who went with him to Richmond. I shall never forget how, as Gen. Lee rode away from Appomattox the Union soldiers cheered and cheered him. He was grander to me on that sad march back to Richmond than he ever was after one of his great victories. Often on that march he would come to my ambulance early in the morning with a cup of coffee, depriving himself for the only woman who was on that sorrowful. hopeless march. We would all, from the highest officer to the humblest soldier, have given him our last drop of water or food, we loved him so; and on that march, when we would camp near a house, they would prepare their best for Gen. Lee; but he would sleep in his tent or on the ground with his staff, and say that I must go and have what was prepared for him. How provoked they must have felt to see a forlorn little woman, instead of Gen. Lee! When we reached Richmond we all separated. I never saw Gen. Lee again, but my husband went back to Richmond to see him; and now I feel sure they are not very far apart in heaven. And for' me,

Would those hours could come again, with their thorns and flowers!

 I would give the hopes of years for those bygone hours.

~Dr. Lafayette Guild was a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and a nephew of the late Judge Jo C. Guild, of Nashville, Tenn. When the great war broke out he was a surgeon in the U. S. Army and on duty in California. He resigned and went on to Richmond, Va., with Gen. A. S. Johnston, and became a surgeon in the Army of Northern Virginia. When Gen. Lee took command of the army he telegraphed: “Send me Dr. Lafayette Guild." Hie appointed him on his staff, and made him medical director of the Army of Northern Virginia. Gen. Lee was very fond of and confidential with Dr. Guild. His report to Gen. Lee of the battle of Gettysburg is a part of the commander’s official report in the “War Records.” After the war Dr. Guild commenced the practice of medicine in Mobile, Ala, in partnership with a brother of Admiral Raphael Semmes. He died, however, soon after going to Mobile.

The link to the article above

The room in Appomattox where the surrender took place.