Posted in History

Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/8 part 1

179142_4290399343978_390444831_nIt’s Saturday, but no one is still. Both armies move in haste — one running, the other pursuing. But while we were sleeping, Grant received a reply from Lee at midnight last night. It is as follows:

“April 7th, 1865.
General: I have received your note of this date. Though not entertaining the opinion you express of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia, I reciprocate your desire to avoid useless effusion of blood, and therefore, before considering your proposition, ask the terms you will offer on condition of its surrender.
R.E. Lee, General.”

While we were stirring in our camp at 5am this morning, Grant finally replies back to Lee:

“April 8th, 1865.
General R.E. Lee, Commanding C.S.A.:
Your note of last evening in reply to mine of the same date, asking the conditions on which I will accept the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, is just received. In reply I would say that, peace being my great desire, there is but one condition I would insist upon,–namely, that the men and officers surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged. I will meet you, or will designate officers to meet any officers you may name for the same purpose, at any point agreeable to you, for the purpose of arranging definitely the terms upon which the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia will be received.
U.S. Grant, Lieutenant-General”

Only time will tell how Lee will answer…

*Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a mystery souvenir from Appomattox! Earn entries by sharing this blog link (comment below with your link), follow my weekly blog, and/or talk to me in the comments below. Click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up on the previous posts. It’s never too late to enter the giveaway! And please, enter as often as you can!

Souce: “Surrender at Appomattox, 1865,” EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (1997).

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10 thoughts on “Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/8 part 1

    1. As I studied these two during the surrender, I was surprised how civil they were toward each other. You’ll see that more in tomorrow’s posts. I found it so inspiring. They didn’t treat each other like hated enemies but more like brothers. When we think of war, we easily think of enemies. But this war was so different in that it really was a war between brothers. It’s easy to forget that…until we come upon moments like these.
      If you have a minute, read this account. It’ll bless your heart and baffle your mind. 🙂 https://amheathblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/civil-war-letters/

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  1. You know I’m following. 🙂 It sure sounds like, from the tone of his letters, Grant was extremely anxious to discuss terms of surrender. I can’t help but wonder, was he just that eager to avoid more bloodshed, or was he afraid that the Confederates might be stronger than he wanted to believe?

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Kim! And you make an excellent point. I hadn’t thought of it. Lee’s army was in a pretty tough spot and after the fall of Richmond, they were stronger in mind than in body. I’d venture to say that Grant was likely more concerned about bloodshed. You’ll see more into his character as the posts continue, especially tomorrow. But I found Grant to be a very compassionate man. I was truly in awe of him. He was probably the most surprising figures that I had studied so far (not that I’ve studied the generals in great length). I wouldn’t have expected to find that sort of compassion from Sherman so I didn’t think to see it in Grant. 😉

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      1. Actually, Sherman was a very compassionate man. The terms of surrender he offer Johnston was more lenient than the terms that Grant offer Lee. Sherman also loved the South including their culture and the people. A lot of his friends were from the South. Sherman isn’t the monster that people think he is and please don’t buy into the Gone With the Wind myth. The reason he did what he did in the March to the Sea was he knew that would be the best way to quicken the end of the war. That is all that Sherman, Grant and even Lincoln wanted, the end of the war.

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  2. Ha! I should have known the next post would answer my question 😉

    I love how civil they are to each other in these letters, especially in juxtaposition with how bloody the war was. The letters almost come across as them sitting down for a friendly conversation.

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    1. I know what you mean. I can’t help but wonder if we would see the same from our military leaders today? Is this type of gentleman extinct?
      And I thought you’d appreciate my “chapter break” in between replies. 😉

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      1. It’s hard to say. I think we leave some of those “diplomatic” things to ambassadors and such now. Then again, it might be different if it was something happening within the borders of our own country rather than a conflict with another country.

        But I think there has been a loss in values that were once deemed important, unfortunately.

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