On the morning of the ninth General Ord's command and the Fifth corps reached Appomattox station just as the enemy was making a desperate effort to break through our cavalry. The infantry was at once thrown in. Soon after a white flag was received, requesting a suspension of hostilities pending negotiations for a surrender. Before reaching General Sheridan's headquarters, I received the following from General Lee:April 9, 1865.General: Your note of yesterday is received. I have no authority to treat on the subject of peace; the meeting proposed for A. M. to-day could lead to no good. I will state, however, General, that I am equally anxious 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 another life, I subscribe myself, &c.,
The interview was held at Appomattox Courthouse, the result of which is set forth in the following correspondence:April 9, 1865.General: 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. I now ask an interview in accordance with the offer contained in your letter of yesterday for that purpose.
Appomattox Court-House, Va., April 9, 1865.General: In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the eighth instant, I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of the officers and men to be made in duplicate, one copy to be given to an officer to be designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged; and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery, and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.
The command of Major-General Gibbon, the Fifth Army Corps under Griffin, and McKenzie's cavalry, were designated to remain at Appomattox Court-house until the paroling of the surrendered army was completed, and to take charge of the public property. The remainder of the army immediately retired to the vicinity of Burkesville. General Lee's great influence throughout the whole South caused his example to be followed, and to-day the result is that the armies lately under his leadership are at their homes, desiring peace and quiet, and their arms are in the hands of our ordnance officers. On the receipt of my letter of the fifth, General Sherman moved directly against Joe Johnston, who retreated rapidly on through Raleigh, which place General Sherman occupied on the morning of the thirteenth. The day preceding news of the surrender of General Lee reached him at Smithfield. On the fourteenth a correspondence was opened between General Sherman and General Johnston, which resulted on the eighteenth in an agreement for the suspension of hostilities, and a memorandum or basis for peace, subject to the approval of the President. This agreement was disapproved by the President on the twenty-first, which disapproval, together with your instructions, was communicated to General Sherman by me in person on the morning of the twenty-fourth, at Raleigh, North Carolina, in obedience to your orders. Notice was at onceheadquarters Army of Northern Virginia, April 9, 1865.General: I received your letter of this date containing the terms of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia as proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the eighth instant, they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect.