previous next
[549] forward by the direct road to Appomattox station, where the stage road to Lynchburg, the one Lee was following, reaches and crosses the Southside railroad. Lee turned upon Meade with frequent contention, during 11th 8th, holding him back by his rear guard. Late in the afternoon Sheridan reached Appomattox station, drove away Lee's advance guard and ‘captured twenty-five pieces of artillery, a hospital train, and four trains of cars loaded with supplies for Lee's army,’ writes Grant in his report. About midnight of that day, April 8th, Grant, who accompanied Meade in following after Lee, received the following note from the latter:

General: I received at a late hour your note of today. In mine of yesterday I did not intend to propose the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, but to ask the terms of your proposition. To be frank, I do not think that the emergency has arisen to call for the surrender of this army, but as the restoration of peace should be the sole object of all, I desired to know whether your proposals would lead to that end. I cannot, therefore, meet you with a view to surrender the army of Northern Virginia, but as far as your proposal may affect the Confederate States forces under my command, and tend to the restoration of peace, I should be pleased to meet you at 10 a. m. to-morrow, on the old stage road to Richmond, between the picket lines of the two armies.

R. E. Lee, General.

On the morning of the 9th of April, when Lee found that Grant's infantry had possession of the road he was following toward Lynchburg, he said, with suppressed emotion: ‘There is nothing left but to go to General Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths.’ Then, after a thoughtful pause, he added: ‘How easily I could get rid of this and be at rest. I have only to ride along the line and all will be over. But it is our duty to live. What will become of the women and children of the South, if we are not here to protect them?’ At about this time he received, in reply to his of the 8th, the following note, of the 9th, from General Grant:

General: Your note of yesterday is received. As I have no authority to treat on the subject of peace the meeting proposed for 10 a. m. to-day could lead to no good. I will state, however, General, that I am equally anxious for peace with yourself, and the whole North entertain the same feeling. The terms upon which peace can be had are well understood. By the South laying down their arms they will hasten that most desirable event, save thousands of human lives, and hundreds of millions of property not yet destroyed. Sincerely hoping that all our difficulties may be settled without the loss of another life, I subscribe myself,

U. S. Grant, Lieutenant-General.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Lynchburg (Virginia, United States) (2)
United States (United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
U. S. Grant (7)
R. E. Lee (6)
Everard Meade (2)
Robert E. Lee (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April 9th (1)
April 8th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: