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[598] repeated the assurance that Lee intended to surrender, and was only awaiting the arrival of Grant. Hostilities then ceased until the general-in-chief rode up.

Sheridan had been right in denouncing the conduct of Lee. The rebel chief, in his latest letter to Grant, on the 8th, had peremptorily declined all propositions for surrender, and in accordance with this announcement, on the morning of the 9th he attempted to break through the national lines; but as soon as he discovered the presence of infantry as well as cavalry in his front, he informed Sheridan that he was negotiating for a surrender. But no communication to that effect had yet been made to Grant. Either the rebel statement was untrue, or Lee allowed his advance to attack the national forces after dispatching a letter indicating his willingness to yield. In either event, the last act of war of the rebellion was a subterfuge.

The fact is, that when Lee perceived his inability to force a passage through Sheridan's lines, he was conscious that, unless he quickly submitted to whatever terms Grant chose to impose, he and every man in his army would be annihilated. With Sheridan, Ord, and Griffin in front, and Meade with Humphreys and Wright in rear, there was no possible avenue of escape. One solitary rough country road over the hills was indeed still open to Lynchburg, and by this route one of Lee's nephews, General Fitz-Hugh Lee, even now led a few hundred cavalrymen, in opposition, it is said, to the wish of his uncle, and in direct violation of all military obligations either to his own chief or to his enemy. But it was impossible for Lee to save his army by this road; and all

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