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Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/15

253At 7:22 am, Lincoln stood before the throne of God, and the nation, who was in shock the very night before, was now thrown into mourning. News, of course, would take some time to travel across the land and many people actually heard the news days later. Andrew Johnson will be sworn in as President at 10 am this very morning. Our friend, Daniel Chisholm, tells the moment well. Here is his account:

“At dress parade this evening ‘The Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln’ was read to us. A silent gloom fell upon us like a pall. No one spoke or moved, our sorrow was so great that we could scarcely realize what had happened. I always thought that he was most loved by all the Army and people of America, but I am now sure of that. The ‘Stars and Stripes’ was quietly lowered, and old torn shreds of Flags almost quietly dismissed and we moved away slowly to our quarters, as if we each had lost a near and dear friend at home. Quietly, quietly we went to our rest. Was anybody glad, if he was he made no sign, and well for them they did not, for they never would have reached home alive. No drill, No Dress Parade. No Nothing, all quiet, Flags at half mast, lonesome was no word for us. It was like going from busy City to a fastness in the mountains, what a hold Old Honest Abe Lincoln had on the hearts of the soldiers of the army could only be told by the way they showed their mourning for him.”

250*Lincoln’s Funeral Procession

*LAST DAY OF THE SERIES AND GIVEAWAY! IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO CATCH UP ON THE PAST POSTS. 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. Don’t forget to leave your email address at least once during the giveaway. Click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up. THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW MORNING HERE ON THE BLOG!

Source: The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chilsholm: A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army 1864-1865

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Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/14 part 2

94Ford’s is packed, and Harry Hawk is giving a wonderful performance. You’ve strained to take a peek at the Presidential Box, but like all the other times before, Lincoln isn’t visible. Turning your attention back to the actor on stage, you’re drawn into the story. A single shot echoes in the near quiet room. A moment of stunned silence follows as you search the stage to make sense of the sudden gunshot. An ear piercing scream pulls you out of your fuzzy thoughts and the ruckus from the left side of the room steals your attention. You jump up from your seat as people around you begin moving at once. Some kneeling down on the floors, others moving toward the exit, and others, still, craning their neck to find out what happened. A crazed man flies onto the stage as if it was part of the show; only it wasn’t. He shouts something that you can’t quite understand and then runs out the back door. Men follow him out the door in hot pursuit while the attention of everyone else shifts to the sound of the hyper cries of a woman…the woman in the Presidential box…Mary Lincoln, herself. Your heart drops to the floor as you struggle to understand what just happened. Could it be Mary that was shot? Or one of her guests? The crowd is in a full uproar now. Several rush out of the building. Several more rush toward the President’s side. And several murmur from their seats. The women and children cry, part in fear and part in sorrow as word moves about the room that it was our beloved President who was shot. When chance presents itself, you move about the room, searching The Box for some understanding of what is happening. You see very little. Then at once, there was a great movement in the box. You stand transfixed as you watch in agony as several men hoist the very still, very large body of your president. With grunts and quick movements, they are once again out of your sight. Upon finally exiting the theater, it becomes clear where the President is. What isn’t clear is the extent of his injuries. You long to knock on the door of the Peterson House that sits just across the street. The great crowd gathered outside will not allow you to get close enough to the door, but maybe if you came near, you’d learn more of the man’s injuries. You take that chance and dart across the street. The fog is now thicker than before when you walked into Ford’s. Just as you expected, you can’t get any closer to the door, but you gave up that idea already. Instead, you ask around until the message becomes clear — President Lincoln was shot in the head and, although, he still lives, there is little hope that he will continue to for much longer. With a heavy heart, you leave the crowd and try to make sense of all that had happen. But what sense can really be made of such shocking events like these?

*ONLY ONE POST REMAINING! 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. Don’t forget to leave your email address at least once during the giveaway. It’s never too late to enter, so click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up.

Source: Abraham Lincoln’s Last Day

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Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/14 part 1

254 It’s Good Friday and what a day it will be! After four years of war, it’s time to celebrate something. Nothing sounds better at the moment than taking in a play at the Ford’s Theatre. The idea of dressing up and having an evening out has excited you all day and now it’s finally time to prepare for the show. Our American Cousin will be playing tonight, but what you’re most interested in is the chance to see President Lincoln. Rumor has it that he is to attend. You hope, at the very least, to have a seat that can easily see into the Presidential Box.

It’s a misty and foggy sort of night when you finally leave for the Theatre. You can’t help but pick up on the eerie feeling that seems to hang around in the air. With a deep breath, you shove those thoughts aside. With the news of Lee’s surrender, the papers promise only good things for the our country…

*ONLY 2 POSTS REMAINING!! STAY TUNED, WE’VE A LATE SHOW AT FORD’S THEATRE TONIGHT! 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. Don’t forget to leave your email address at least once during the giveaway. It’s never too late to enter, so click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up.

Source: Abraham Lincoln’s Last Day http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln45.html

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Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/13

93The Union army will soon depart while Lee and his men will begin their trek home. It is fitting to share Lee’s Farewell Address with you now, although, it was written on the 10th.

Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 10th April 1865.
General Order

No. 9

After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them.

But feeling that valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.

By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.

— R. E. Lee, General, General Order No. 9

*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. Don’t forget to leave your email address at least once during the giveaway. WE ONLY HAVE 3 DAYS LEFT!!  It’s never too late to enter, so click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up. 

Source: http://www.ask.com/wiki/Lee%27s_Farewell_Address?qsrc=3044

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Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/12

92The terms of surrender were simple: They were to stay in Appomattox until they were paroled and have turned in their arms. Days after their surrender, Confederate soldiers publicly surrendered in the Laying Dow of Arms Ceremony. Solemnly and quietly, they paraded between two rows of Union men and one by one, surrendered. There were no shouts of joy like those that were heard days earlier, this was a solemn event for all that attended it. Those that surrendered were treated with great respect. Hear the account from two different eyewitnesses:

“General Longstreet’s entire corps marched from their camps and formed in line in front of the First Division of this corps and stacked their arms, flags, &c., when they slowly and sorrowfully returned to their camp. It is a sight that cannot be pictured properly to those who have not witnessed it. General Longstreet wore a smile on his face while General Gordon’s expression was very different. General Pendleton disliked to give up Lee’s artillery but did so.”

“The momentous meaning of this occasion impressed me deeply…Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond;—was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured? Instructions had been given; and when the head of each division column comes opposite our group, our bugle sounds the signal and instantly our whole line from right to left, regiment by regiment in succession, gives the soldier’s salutation, from the “order arms” to the old “carry”—the marching salute. Gordon at the head of the column, riding with heavy spirit and downcast face, catches the sound of shifting arms, looks up, and, taking the meaning, wheels superbly, making with himself and his horse one uplifted figure, with profound salutation as he drops the point of his sword to the boot toe; then facing to his own command, gives word for his successive brigades to pass us with the same position of the manual,—honor answering honor. On our part not a sound of trumpet more, nor roll of drum; not a cheer, nor word nor whisper of vain-glorying, nor motion of man standing again at the order, but an awed stillness rather, and breath-holding, as if it were the passing of the dead!”

— Joshua L. Chamberlain

*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. Don’t forget to leave your email address at least once during the giveaway. It’s never too late to enter, so click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up.

Sources: The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle

http://www.ask.com/wiki/Battle_of_Appomattox_Court_House?o=2800&qsrc=999&ad=doubleDown&an=apn&ap=ask.com

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Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/11

91As the news of Lee’s surrender spreads across the country, naturally, it’s met with mixed feelings. From a Union supporter, the experience resembled this account:

“To-day, at ten o’clock, the gratifying news that Lee has surrendered was received at General Steedman’s headquarters, creating the wildest excitement. As the news spread the men gathered in crowds and rent the air with the most vociferous cheers. The Twenty-ninth Indiana was ordered to “fall in” without arms, and then followed a regimental “three times three” that would have done your heart good to hear. At noon the forts that crown the crests of the hills about town fired a salute of one hundred guns, the whistles of the locomotives and machine shops screamed, while everybody feels good.”

But from a stout Confederate supporter, we read:

“After supper we went into the parlor and had music. We tried to sing some of our old rebel songs, but the words stuck in our throats. Nobody could sing, and then Clara Harris played, ‘Dixie,” but it sounded like a dirge.” The same writer goes on to remember the night Georgia seceded. “I shall never forget that night when the news came that Georgia had seceded. While the people of the village were celebrating the event with bonfires and bell ringing and speech making, he (her father) shut himself up in his house, darkened the windows, and paced up and down the room in the greatest agitation. Every now and then, when the noise of the shouting and the ringing of bells would penetrate to our ears through the closed doors and windows, he would pause and exclaim, ‘Poor fools! They may ring their bells now, but they will wring their hands – yes, and their hearts, too – before they are done with it.'”

It’s also amazing to note that neither account was given on the 9th. The first account received the news on the 10th and the second on the 19th.

*The towel in the picture was used by the Confederates as a flag of surrender at Appomattox.

*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. Don’t forget to leave your email address at least once during the giveaway. It’s never too late to enter, so click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up.

Sources: The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle by Robert E. Denney

The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl 1864-1865 written by Eliza Frances Andrews

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Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/10

2050_1231spring20140308Daniel Chisholm describes the day in his journal as only an eye witness can. We’ll turn to his account now:

“Monday, April 10th

We had a rain last night. This morning both armies busy cooking and eating what little grub we have. We have stacked arms a few yards apart. The boys in the Blue and in the Grey are trading everything that is tradeable. Hats, Caps, Penknives, Coffee, Sugar, Tobacco, Hardtack is scarce…The late hostile armies seem to have forgotten they were enemies yesterday morning, and are mixing and chatting the hours away in a very friendly manner. So the time flies. I feel to day that it is good to be here, when I look over our thinned ranks and miss the boys that stood side by side with us let it be rough or smooth. If we could only have them here to day to see what they helped to make possible; but alas! they are sleeping that long last sleep that knows no waking, scattered in unknown graves among the battlefields of Virginia or absent in the Hospital with shattered Health, wounds or amputated limbs.

Our rations that were due us to day came up and were given to the Johnnies and we wait another day without murmuring, for we were very short ourselves, and that makes me think that we are all Americans of the Old School of our Fathers. Oh! shaw, let things go. The Fair is still going on. The Blue and the Grey are all glad it seems to me that the cruel war is over — what a change a few short hours has made. The Shades of night comes on, all is quiet, all quiet on the lines, all quiet, and we try to sleep but cannot for the war is over and we feel so glad, so proud of ourselves, and so sorry for our comrades that have fallen by the wayside, that sleep is almost impossible.”

*All excerpts in this series was copied exactly how the author wrote them…bad grammar and misspellings included. 😉

*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. Don’t forget to leave your email address at least once during the giveaway. It’s never too late to enter, so click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up. I hope you’re enjoying this series, but we’re not done yet. The series and giveaway continues through 4/15.

Source: The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chilsholm: A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army 1864-1865

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Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/9 part 4

246It is done. The great general has finally surrendered. Fiction cannot replace the eyewitness accounts, and so we’ll turn to them now.

“At a little before 4 o’clock General Lee shook hands with General Grant, bowed to the other officers, and with Colonel Marshall left the room. One after another we followed, and passed out to the porch. Lee signaled to his orderly to bring up his horse, and while the animal was being bridled the general stood on the lowest step and gazed sadly in the direction of the valley beyond where his army lay – now an army of prisoners. He smote his hands together a number of times in an absent sort of way; seemed not to see the group of Union officers in the yard who rose respectfully at his approach, and appeared unconscious of everything about him. All appreciated the sadness that overwhelmed him, and he had the personal sympathy of every one who beheld him at this supreme moment of trial. The approach of his horse seemed to recall him from his reverie, and he at once mounted. General Grant now stepped down from the porch, and, moving toward him, saluted him by raising his hat. He was followed in this act of courtesy by all our officers present; Lee raised his hat respectfully, and rode off to break the sad news to the brave fellows whom he had so long commanded.” ~Unknown

“…our Division got the word attention, and an order was read to the effect that Genl Robt E. Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Va to the Army of the Potomac commanded by Genl Ulysses S. Grant. It did not take us by surprise for we had been looking for it for some days. But when we knew it to be a sure thing what a loud, long glorious shout went up. Then the first thing I knew I was rolling in the mud and several of Co “K” boys piled on top and wallowed me in the mud and themselves too pulled one another about, tripped them up. In fact I never seen a crazier set of fellows anywhere before or since. I cannot tell what all was done but I do know that I had to work for two good hours getting the mud off of me. All was busy doing something and such confusion and carrying on was never seen in so short a time. Then the artillery opened. I think there was not one piece but what belched forth the glad tidings, those that were captured and all. It was one continual roar for miles and miles.” ~ Daniel Chisholm

It is done. The greatest army of the South has now surrendered, and it’s widely believed that those remaining will soon do likewise. But this not the end of our journey. We must rise in the morning and continue with these last events.

*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. Don’t forget to leave your email address at least once during the giveaway. It’s never too late to enter, so click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up.

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

The Civil War Notebook of Daniel  Chisholm: A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army 1864-1865

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Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/9 part 3

247

After tossing shell at each other for months without end, the two men meet in the home of Wilmer McLean. One could only imagine what that might have felt like. Grant would likely enter with a sense of ease and notice the pleasantness of the room while Lee would likely think the room to be stifling hot even though it was only early April. He likely wouldn’t notice the colorful carpet in the room or its other furnishings as the heaviness of surrendering fell upon him.

248

No one would fault Lee for his melancholy, so it may surprise you to know that the two men first sat down and talked. Not of the surrender, but of their previous meeting while they both served the United States Army in Mexico. When Lee had enough small talk, he directed Grant back to the subject at hand — the terms of surrender. The terms are as follows:

In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms, to wit:  Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate.  One copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate.  The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands.  The arms, artillery and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them.  This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage.  This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.

245The proposal was accepted by Lee, and a written form of his acceptance was made. *I’m not entirely sure what this document is in the picture. It’s hard to read, but seems to say something about the surrender. I haven’t spotted Lee’s signature. If any of my Civil War buddies has more information, I’d love to hear it!

Grant shares his impressions of the hour,  “What General Lee’s feelings were I do not know.  As he was a man of much dignity, with an impassable face, it was impossible to say whether he felt inwardly glad that the end had finally come, or felt sad over the result, and was too manly to show it.  Whatever his feelings, they were entirely concealed from my observation; but my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on the receipt of his letter [proposing negotiations], were sad and depressed.  I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.  I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us…” 

*Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a surprise 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. OUR DAY IS NOT YET DONE, SO COME BACK! Click on the #ExperHist tag to catch up on the previous posts. It’s never too late to enter.

Sources: http://static.sewanee.edu/faculty/willis/Civil_War/documents/GrantLee.html

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Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/9 part 2

244Lee, in a moment of great strength, did what he never wanted to do — he agreed to meet Grant to discuss terms of surrender. When learning of the severity of his army, he is quoted as saying, “There is nothing left for me to do but to go and see General Grant and I would rather die a thousand deaths.” There is a moment when a man in power must choice between pride and humility. By the grace of God, Lee chose humility that day. Regardless of what side of the lines we find ourselves on, we each can recall a moment in our lives when we were called to humble ourselves and the great damage it had on our pride to do so. There is often greater strength found in the one that bends the knee. What a moment; what an hour!

“April 9th, 1865.
General: I received your note of this morning on the picket-line, whither I had come to meet you and ascertain definitely what terms were embraced in your proposal of yesterday with reference to the surrender of this army. I now ask an interview, in accordance with the offer contained in your letter of yesterday, for that purpose.
R.E. Lee, General.”

“April 9th, 1865.
General R. E. Lee Commanding C. S. Army:
Your note of this date is but this moment (11:50 A.M.) received, in consequence of my having passed from the Richmond and Lynchburg road to the Farmville and Lynchburg road. I am at this writing about four miles west of Walker’s Church, and will push forward to the front for the purpose of meeting you. Notice sent to me on this road where you wish the interview to take place will meet me.
U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General.”

…Those on the field watched in anticipation for what looked to be a heavily fought battle. No one on either side is likely to be excited about another blood bath, but if this one should end the war then it must be endured. While bullets flew from side to side, white flags emerged and a momentary truce is called. A meeting between generals has been called…

*Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a surprise 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. Stay tuned our day is not yet through! Catch up on the previous post by clicking the #ExperHist tag. It’s never too late to enter and you’re welcome to enter as much as humanly possible. 🙂

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

http://www.ask.com/wiki/Battle_of_Appomattox_Court_House?o=2800&qsrc=999&ad=doubleDown&an=apn&ap=ask.com