's actions reveal his thoughts.
On Friday, April 7, he wrote Lee
: “The last week must convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance.
I regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further effusion of blood by asking of you the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia.”
The unsuccessful battles, the dwindling regiments, the starvation, the retreat cut off,--all this was plainly the end; and it stared Lee
in the face.
But on such a sight Lee
had not at first the moral strength to open his eyes.
The pain was too blinding.
In his youth he had taken an oath to support the government.
That government had educated him to be a soldier.
He had been against Secession.
But, when the time came to choose between Secession and his oath, he chose (not without reluctance) to break his oath, and turn against the government the teaching it had given him. And