were given up on the night of April 2d, and Lee
attempted to reach Danville
The failure of the supplies to reach him at Amelia Courthouse destroyed his last chance of effecting this.
The delay and exhaustion brought about by this cause, together with the rapidity and overwhelming force of the Federal
advance, cut him off from Danville
and forced him to turn toward Lynchburg
The sufferings of the winter found a fit sequel in the privations of that march, when for days a little parched corn was the only ration.
The 30,000 men or more that had left Petersburg
dwindled in a week to 8,000 in ranks at Appomattox
finds it difficult to credit the small number that remained to Lee
at the last, and thinks that many men must have thrown away their arms after the surrender became inevitable.
He is in error.
There were but 8,000 men ready for duty on the morning of the day the surrender was decided upon, and while the Confederate army was still drawn up for battle.
The remainder of the 28,000 who were afterward paroled had already fallen out of ranks from utter exhaustion and lack of food, or had been scattered in the combats that marked the preceding days.
has been criticised for his final operations in this campaign; and failure, under whatever circumstances, invites criticism.
The difficulties which confronted General Lee
in the winter
of 1865 were simply insurmountable.
Human skill and courage were not adequate to the task of turning back the tidal wave which was rapidly engulphing the Confederacy
After the defeat of Hood
and the advance of Sherman
into North Carolina
, the end was inevitable.
No movement within General Lee
's reach could have changed the result.
It was not possible long to delay the catastrophe.
The struggle of Napoleon
against the allies in 1814, as he was forced back upon Paris
, and finally overwhelmed, is perhaps the best modern parallel to this magnificent campaign, but the efforts of the greatest soldier of any age for his capital and his throne were not more brilliant or tenacious, and were far less protracted, than those of the great Virginian
for the government and capital of his native State and of the Confederacy
History contains no finer specimen of the boldness, sagacity and skill with which a comparatively small army may be so handled as to cripple and baffle far larger and better appointed forces.
, for years, sustained the fortunes of his country by a series of splendid achievements; like Hannibal
, he went down at last before the too mighty power of his foe;