that was left of the host that had so long defended Richmond
was in reality enclosed by the lines of the conqueror.
therefore undoubtedly intended to yield when he declared to Sheridan
that he had already done so. But if he had sent to Grant
, he had no right to fight Sheridan
; and if he had not sent, he had no right to say that he was negotiating.
The dispatch that he wrote to Grant
on the 9th was in these words: ‘I received your note of this morning on the picket line, whither I had come to meet you, and ascertain definitely what terms were embraced in your proposal of yesterday with reference to the surrender of this army.’
Even this was not ingenuous, for Grant
's terms had been explicitly stated; and Lee
evidently understood them, for he continued: ‘I now ask an interview, in accordance with the offer contained in your letter of yesterday
, for that purpose.’
This was definite enough, and doubtless hard enough to say; and a brave man struggling against misfortune and humiliation should receive the generous consideration, especially of victorious enemies.
Nevertheless, there is a noble, manly way of confessing defeat, and Lee
's method of submitting to the inevitable was neither frank nor altogether honorable.
had started for Sheridan
's front at an early hour, and Lee
's communication was sent by the way of Meade
It therefore did not reach the general-in-chief
until nearly mid-day.
He immediately replied: ‘Your note of this date is but this moment (11.50 A. M.) received, in consequence of my having passed from the Richmond
and Lynchburg roads to the Farmville
I am at this writing about four miles west of Walker