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[607] of course acquiesced in the request, and asked how many rations Lee required. But the rebel general declared that he could not answer the question. He had no idea of his own strength. No return of a brigade had been made for several days.1 Besides those lost in battle, killed, captured, or wounded, and left on the roadside, the men had been deserting and straggling by thousands. He could not tell what number he had left. All his public and private papers had been destroyed, to prevent their falling into the national hands. Grant finally inquired if twenty-five thousand rations would suffice; and Lee replied he thought that number would be enough. Twenty-five thousand, therefore, was Lee's estimate at Appomattox of the number he surrendered. Grant turned to the officer of the commissariat on his staff, and directed him to issue twenty-five thousand rations that night to the army of Northern Virginia. The order was obeyed, and before the rebels gave up their arms they were fed by their enemies.

Lee also requested Grant to notify Meade of the surrender, so that no lives might be needlessly lost on that front; and, on account of the distance to Meade's Headquarters, two national officers were again dispatched with a rebel escort through the lines of the army of Northern Virginia, this time carrying the news of the surrender of that army.

The formal papers were now signed; a few more words were exchanged by the men who had opposed

1 In spite of this assertion of his chief, Colonel Taylor, Lee's adjutant-general, has dedicated his work, ‘Four Years with General Lee,’ to the ‘8,000 veterans (the surviving heroes of the army of Northern Virginia) who in line of battle, on the 9th day of April, 1865, were reported present for duty.’ There was no report of the army of Northern Virginia made on the 9th of April, 1865.

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