It is only on this theory that we can account for the sudden and, at the time, almost inexplicable collapse of the Southern armies after Lee was driven from Richmond. They disappeared like the mist under the morning sun, while friends and allies both in this country and Europe were confidently predicting a fresh and strenuous guerilla resistance in detail.
Little did those allies know of the sufferings the rank and file had endured in fighting battles in which they had no interest, or how they had skulked, deserted, hid, and been hunted by bloodhounds, and torn from their suffering families under the most heartless and cruel circumstances. Thus oppressed, they only too willingly threw away their arms and returned to the welcome avocations of peace. They were men without a grievance or a complaint. They had never been oppressed, and they knew it. They had never been denied a personal nor a political right enjoyed by the most favored citizen of the republic. Why should they voluntarily continue a war against such a Government? The answer was found in their subsequent action. They never did. They never raised a hand to prolong the contest a day. This striking fact is the testimony of the rank and file in regard to the character of the wrongs the Confederate Government were professedly attempting to right.
We think there is full justification for the statement that a vast majority of the Southern people were entrapped by a handful of ambitious leaders, destitute of the first elements of sound statemanship, into a war for which there was no provocation, and which they would never have deliberately confronted. But, war once begun, they were in a vise. A despotic military government was thenceforth their master. To that is to be imputed all that followed.
The Prostrate State by James Shepherd Pike
D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1874, pages 74-77