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[270] connected with General Lee's surrender to General Grant at Appomattox. The correspondence was elicited by an interesting sketch written by Mrs. Jefferson Davis for the New York World, in which Mrs. Davis inadvertently gave the error a fresh lease of life by her distinguished endorsement, the statement being that General Lee offered his sword to General Grant when he surrendered, which the latter, in the language of Mrs. Davis, ‘did not keep as a trophy, but respectfully returned to the hand which had made its fame as deathless at that of Excalibur.’

To clear up a point of great historical interest and to correct finally and authoritatively an error that was gaining popular currency, Mr. Bird, in May last, addressed the following letter to Colonel Marshall, who was on General Lee's staff and was present during the interview between Lee and Grant:

The truth of history.

I know that I simply voice the sentiments of our comrades when I say it is time that this miserable perversion of the truth, this outrageous error, should be exploded and settled for all time; and it is our opinion that no one living is so well qualified to do this, and let the plain and simple facts go down to history, as yourself. You, who wrote the articles of agreement as General Lee's secretary, and were personally present during the whole time of his interview with General Grant on that memorable occasion, can, with authority which will compel acceptance, even from our late enemies, refute the myth which has been so often repeated that it is now being accepted as truth, that General Lee tendered his sword to General Grant, which the latter refused to accept.

As a matter of fact it should be known to the world that General Lee was careful in arranging the terms of surrender with General Grant to avoid any humiliation, but on the contrary, to protect the dignity of himself and every officer in the Army of Northern Virginia with the express provision that they should retain their sidearms. It follows, of course, that neither General Lee himself, nor a single one of the Confederate officers ever thought for a moment of surrendering, or offering to surrender, his sidearms, but after receiving their paroles, marched out of the Federal lines with their sidearms buckled on, which the writer knows to be a fact from personal observation at the time.

In justice to the peerless Lee and the noble men who were



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