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[710]

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, April 9, 1865
Lieut.-Gen. U. S. Grant, Commanding U. S. A.:
General: I have received your letter of this date, containing the terms of surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, as proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the 8th inst., they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, R. E. Lee, General

The interview of the two commanders took place at the house of Mr. Wilmer McLean. It was a great occasion; thrilling and wonderful memories must have crowded upon these two men as they stood face to face. But the interview was very simple; there was no theatrical circumstance; there was not a sentimental expression in what was said. No man abhorred anything melo-dramatic more than Gen. Lee. His manner with Grant bordered on taciturnity, but not so as to exhibit temper or mortification. β€œHis demeanour,” writes a Federal observer of the memorable scene, β€œwas that of a thoroughly possessed gentleman who had a very disagreeable duty to perform, but was determined to get through it as well and as soon as he could.”

He had come to the interview attended only by Col. Marshall, one of his aides. With courteous greeting the two commanders proceeded at once and simply to business; some explanations were required by Gen. Lee as to the meaning of certain phrases in the terms of surrender; and without other question or remark the act that was to put out of existence the Army of Northern Virginia was reduced to form at a deal table.

When Gen. Lee had been seen riding to the rear, the rumour of surrender flew like wild-fire through the Confederates. It might have been supposed that the worn and battered troops who watched on their arms for the result of the conference at McLean's house, would have been glad to welcome a termination of their sufferings, come in what form it might; that they would feel a certain joy when a long agony was over. But such was not the display, when about half past 3 o'clock in the evening Gen. Lee was seen thoughtfully riding back to his headquarters, and it was known that the surrender had been completed. His leading officers were assembled, anticipating the result and awaiting his return. When the terms of surrender were announced, they approached their great commander in turn, and shook hands, expressing satisfaction at his course, and regret at parting. The lines of battle that had awaited a possible renewal of the combat, were broken; but there were no huzzas, no scattering, not an indecent shout; but the men broke ranks to rush up to their beloved

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