May 5th is
the anniversary of the last meeting held, and the last order given,
by the Confederate government, which by then consisted of President
Jefferson Davis and some of his cabinet officers and soldiers
fleeing pursuing Yankee troops after the end of the War in 1865.
Robert E. Lee had surrendered about 3 weeks earlier, and the Confederate
government's last official meeting was held in Washington, Georgia
(Wilkes County), with the final order of the government being
given to my great great uncle, Major Raphael Moses, from Columbus,
Georgia, who was General James Longstreet's chief commissary officer.
was given possession of the Confederacy's last supply of gold
and silver bullion, and was ordered to deliver it to help the
thousands of defeated rebel soldiers straggling home, many of
them shoeless, hungry, sick, exhausted, in tattered uniforms,
in desperate need of help.
some brave soldiers to help protect the bullion from mobs of armed
men who were trying to seize it, and succeeded in carrying out
his orders. He got receipts for everything, of course. The complete
story is told in Mel Young's Last
Order of the Lost Cause, and in less detail in several
other publications, including Robert Rosen's authoritative, The
is an interesting but little remembered historical figure, who
pioneered the commercial growing of peaches in Georgia, so it
could be said that he is a major reason Georgia is called The
well and wrote in his memoirs about General Robert E. Lee (with
whom he fought at Gettysburg) and other major Confederate figures.
He is mentioned very favorably in several important books on the
War, including the authoritative Lee's
Lieutenants by Douglas Southall Freeman, who called Moses
"...the best commissary officer of like rank in the Confederate
Longstreet's commissary, he was responsible for supplying and
feeding up to 54,000 troops. General Lee had forbidden him from
entering private homes in search of supplies in raids into Union
territory (such as the incursions into Pennsylvania), even when
food and other provisions were in painfully short supply. The
contrast is striking between the humane Confederate policies and
those of the North, wherein Union generals Sherman, Grant and
Sheridan regularly burned and looted homes, farms, courthouses,
churches, libraries, and entire cities full of civilians, such
as Atlanta and Columbia.
sons also fought for the South, and one was killed at Seven Pines
in May, 1862 after performing acts of amazing valor – Lt. Albert
Moses Luria, at age 19, the first Jewish Confederate to fall in
battle. (The last Confederate Jew to be killed was Major Moses'
nephew, Joshua Lazarus Moses, of Sumter, South Carolina, the brother
of my great grandfather, killed in the battle of Fort Blakeley,
Alabama, a few hours after Lee surrendered. In this battle, Josh's
brothers Perry and Horace were respectively wounded and captured.)
Let us always
work to keep alive the memory of the brave and beleaguered Confederate
soldiers who served their country, against overwhelming odds,
with such valor and honor.