so great a commander.
had undoubtedly the day before given Grant
to suppose that he was willing to make terms of surrender.
He said nothing then about the restoration of peace.
But this was when he was entangled in crossing the Appomattox
; his wagons were ablaze, and his rear-guard was fighting for existence, with Crook
and the Second corps.
When he wrote his second letter, he was far away from Meade
on the Lynchburg
road, and ignorant that Sheridan
was across his path.
He thought himself sure of supplies at Appomattox
, and refused to meet the national general with a view to surrender his army.
Much may be forgiven to a man in his condition, and the hope of escape, of avoiding the humiliation of absolute surrender, is his apology; but the apology is required.
was more direct.
He knew what he was aiming at, and was not to be enticed or entrapped into negotiations for peace.
What he wanted, and meant to have, was the destruction of the army of his antagonist.
Brushing away the cobwebs of artifice, he sent the following answer to Lee
on the morning of the 9th of April: ‘Your note of yesterday is received.
I have no authority to treat on the subject of peace.
The meeting proposed for ten A. M. to-day could lead to no good.
I will state, however, General, that I am equally desirous for peace with yourself, and the whole North
entertains 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.
Seriously hoping that all our difficulties may be settled without the loss of ’