The courtesy of General Grant
, on this memorable and to Lee
soul-trying occasion, could not have been surpassed.
On the suggestion of General Lee
that most of the horses of the Confederate
privates were their personal property, Grant
directed that they should be allowed to retain them; and on intimation that Lee
's men were without rations, he promptly ordered that they should be abundantly supplied from the captured trains.
He showed not the slightest spirit of exultation, in his demeanor, at the grand victory he had achieved, and quickly repressed a disposition, manifested by a portion of his army, to celebrate its triumph with salvos of artillery.
On the morning of the day of the surrender, Lee
had, according to the reports of his ordnance officers, 7,892 organized infantry with arms, less than 2,100 effective cavalry, and but 63 pieces of artillery; a mere handful in contrast with the mighty host of 107,496 (reported as in Grant
's command on the 10th of April) that surrounded him, and a portion of which his half-starved but ever heroic veterans, though few in number, were actually driving before them at the very moment he sent forward a flag of truce.
Dr. Henry Alexander White
describes the feelings of Lee
's veterans who were present at this time (in his Life of R. E. Lee
in ‘The Heroes of the Nations’ series), in these words:
Among the Confederate soldiers themselves there had been scarcely thought of surrender.
When they saw their beloved leader riding back from the place of negotiations, their grief was well-nigh unspeakable.
They halted his horse and gathered in clusters about him. Tears were running down every cheek as the grim, ragged veterans came up to wring his hand.
Only sobs were heard, or prayers uttered in broken words, calling down the benedictions of Heaven upon Lee. The tears in his own eyes formed his answer to the agony of his men. He could only say, in a tone that trembled with sorrow.
‘Men, we have fought through the war together.
I have done the best I could for you. My heart is too full to say more.’