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Wednesday, April 8, 2015
CIVIL WAR WEEK/ THE FINAL CORRESPONDENCE
APRIL 7, 8 & 9, 1865
--- BREAKING NEWS ON APPOMATTOX See end of blog below. ---
PRELUDE TO SURRENDER--During the days leading up to the
eventual surrender of the South on April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee and
General Ulysses S. Grant had been in correspondence via battlefield memos.Posted here are those historic letters that
are now in the public domain:
R.E. Lee, Commanding C.S.A.:
April 7th, 1865.
of the last week must convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance on
the part of the Army of Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so,
and regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further
effusion of blood by asking of you the surrender of that portion of the
Confederate States army known as the Army of Northern Virginia.
The note was
carried through the Confederate lines and Lee promptly responded:
have received your note of this date. Though not entertaining the opinion you
express of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of
Northern Virginia, I reciprocate your desire to avoid useless effusion of
blood, and therefore, before considering your proposition, ask the terms you
will offer on condition of its surrender.
received Lee's message after midnight and replied early in the morning giving
his terms for surrender:
Lee, Commanding C.S.A.:
Your note of
last evening in reply to mine of the same date, asking the conditions on which
I will accept the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, is just received.
In reply I would say that, peace being my great desire, there is but one
condition I would insist upon,--namely, that the men and officers surrendered
shall be disqualified for taking up arms against the Government of the United
States until properly exchanged. I will meet you, or will designate officers to
meet any officers you may name for the same purpose, at any point agreeable to
you, for the purpose of arranging definitely the terms upon which the surrender
of the Army of Northern Virginia will be received.
continued and as Lee retreated further to the West he replied to Grant's
received at a late hour your note of today. In mine of yesterday I did not
intend to propose the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, but to ask
the terms of your proposition. To be frank, I do not think the emergency has
arisen to call for the surrender of this army, but, as the restoration of peace
should be the sole object of all, I desired to know whether your proposals
would lead to that end. I cannot, therefore, meet you with a view to surrender
the Army of Northern Virginia; but as far as your proposal may affect the
Confederate States forces under my command, and tend to the restoration of
peace, I should be pleased to meet you at 10 A.M. to-morrow on the old state
road to Richmond, between the picket-lines of the two armies.
from stress and suffering the pain from a severe headache, Grant replied to Lee
around 5 o'clock in the morning of April 9.
Your note of yesterday is received. I have not authority to treat on the
subject of peace. The meeting proposed for 10 A.M. today could lead to no good.
I will state, however, that I am equally desirous 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 would 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
suffering his headache, General Grant approached the crossroads of Appomattox
Court House where he was over taken by a messenger carrying Lee's reply.
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
immediately dismounted, sat by the road and wrote the following reply to Lee.
E. Lee Commanding C. S. Army:
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 road to the Farmville and Lynchburg
road. I am at this writing about four miles west of Walker's Church, and will
push forward to the front for the purpose of meeting you. Notice sent to me on
this road where you wish the interview to take place will meet me.
U. S. Grant,
and Lee met on April 9, 1865, at the home of Wilmer McLean in the village named
Appomattox Courthouse. The meeting lasted approximately two and one-half hours
and at its conclusion the bloodliest conflict in the nation's history neared
GENERAL PORTER’S EYEWITNESS DESCRIPTION OF THE SIGNING OF THE SURRENDER
BREAKING NEWS FOR TOMORROW:
BELLS RING AT
APPOMATTOX--For the past four years, the National Park Service and many other
organizations and individuals have been commemorating the 150th Anniversary of
the Civil War and the continuing efforts for human rights today. On April 9,
1865, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant met Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to set the
terms of surrender of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.
In conjunction with a major
event at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, the National Park
Service and its partners invite communities across the nation to join in this
commemoration. The bells will ring first at Appomattox at 3:00 p.m. on April 9,
2015. The ringing will coincide with the moment the historic meeting between
Grant and Lee in the McLean House at Appomattox Court House ended. While Lee’s
surrender did not end the Civil War, the act is seen by most Americans as the
symbolic end of four years of bloodshed.
After the ringing at
Appomattox, bells will reverberate across the country. Churches, temples,
schools, city halls, public buildings, historic sites, and others are invited
to ring bells precisely at 3:15 pm for four minutes (each minute symbolic of a
year of war). If you have access to any such organizations, please encourage
them to participate.
The Gettysburg Foundation
and Gettysburg National Military Park will be participating in Bells Across the
Land by having ringing bells in the Visitor Center lobby and at the Gettysburg
Lincoln Railroad Station at 3:15 pm on Thursday, April 9. And on the West Coast
that would be Noon.