previous next
[551]

Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia, April 9, 1865.
Lieut.-Gen. U. S. Grant:
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 instant, they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect.


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.’

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.

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.
R. E. Lee (6)
U. S. Grant (4)
Robert E. Lee (2)
Henry Alexander White (1)
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, 1865 AD (1)
April 10th (1)
8th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: