's staff, met them cordially.
First, of course, the rebels were presented to Grant
, who greeted them with kindness.
Most of them he knew personally.
had been at his wedding; Cadmus Wilcox
was his groomsman; Heth
was a subaltern with him in the Mexican
war. Others he had served with in garrison or on the Pacific coast
They all expressed their appreciation of his magnanimity.
To be allowed not only their lives and liberty, but their swords, had touched them deeply.
One said to him in my hearing: ‘General, we have come to congratulate you on having wound us up.’
‘I hope,’ replied Grant
, ‘it will be for the good of us all.’
Then the other national officers took their turn, shaking hands cordially with men whom they had met in many a battle, or with whom they had earlier shared tent or blanket on the Indian
trail or the Mexican
frontier; with classmates of West Point
and sworn friends of boyhood.
Some shed tears as they hugged each other after years of separation and strife.
Countrymen all they felt themselves now, and not a few of the rebels declared they were glad that the war had ended in the triumph of the nation.
Their humility indeed was marked.
They felt and said that they had staked all and lost.
They inquired if they would be permitted to leave the country, for none dreamed that they would ever regain their property.
They spoke of estates which once they owned, forfeit now by the laws of war and of nations; for they did not scruple to admit that they were defeated rebels.
The absurd idea of their ever again enjoying political rights did not occur to one of them.
They would have thought it