AppomattoxFriday, May 31, 2013
I dreamt last night that there was wind and rain.
I got up and looked out, but all was strange;
A muddy track across a wooded plain;
A distant tumult; angry cries, exchange
O fire. And then, out of that dreadful night,
Appeared a scarecrow army, staggering,
Defiant, famished. In the quenched starlight
They marched on to their bitter reckoning.
Their sleepless, bloodshot eyes were turned to me.
Their flags hung black agains the pelting sky.
Their jests and curses echoed whisperingly,
As though from long-lost years of sorrow -Why,
You're weeping! What, then? What more did you see?
A grey man on a grey horse rode by.
|Uncredited cover to Richard Adams' novel Traveller|
General Lee, who had led the Army of Northern Virginia in all these contests, was a very highly estimated man in the Confederate army and States, and filled also a very high place in the estimation of the people and press of the Northern States. His praise was sounded throughout the entire North after every action he was engaged in: the number of his forces was always lowered and that of the National forces exaggerated. He was a large, austere man, and I judge difficult of approach to his subordinates. To be extolled by the entire press of the South after every engagement, and by a portion of the press North with equal vehemence, was calculated to give him the entire confidence of his troops and to make him feared by his antagonists. It was not an uncommon thing for my staff officers to hear from Eastern officers, “Well Grant had never met Bobby Lee yet.” There were good and true officers who believe now that the Army of Northern Virginia was superior to the Army of the Potomac man to man. I do not believe so. Before the end I believe the difference was the other way. The Army of Northern Virginia became despondent and saw the end. It did not please them. The National army saw the same thing, and were encouraged by it.
Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
Before stating what took place between General Lee and myself, I will give all there is of the story of the famous apple tree.
Wars produce many stories of fiction, some of which are told until they are believed to be true. The war of the rebellion was no exception to this rule, and the story of the apple tree is one of those fictions based on a slight foundation of fact. As I have said, there was an apple orchard on the side of the hill occupied by the Confederate forces. Running diagonally up the hill was a wagon road, which, at one point, ran very near one of the trees, so that the wheels of the vehicles had, on that side, cut off the roots of this tree, leaving a little embankment. General Babcock, of my staff, reported to me that when he first met General Lee he was sitting upon the embankment with his feet in the road below and his back resting against the tree. The story had no other foundation than that. Like many other stories, it would be very good if it was only true. [For a time after the war there was a rumor that the surrender occurred under an apple tree. There is no truth to this legend. Lee did for a while rest on a pile of fence rails near an apple tree shortly before he went to see Grant].
I had known General Lee in the old army, and had served with him in the Mexican War; but did not suppose, owing to the difference in our age and rank, that he would remember me; while I would more naturally remember him distinctly, because he was the chief of staff of General Scott in the Mexican War.
When I had left the camp in that morning I had not expected so soon the result that was then taking place, and consequently was in rough garb. I was without a sword, as I usually was when on horseback on the field, and wore a soldiers blouse for a coat, with the shoulder straps of my rank to indicate to the army who I was. When I went into the house I found General Lee. We greeted each other, and after shaking hands took our seats. I had my staff with me, a good portion of whom were in the room during the whole interview.
What General Lee’s feelings were I do not know. As he was a man of much dignity, with an impassable face, it was impossible to say whether he felt inwardly glad that the end had finally come, or felt sad over the result, and was too manly to show it. Whatever his feelings, they were entirely concealed from my observation; but my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on the receipt of his letter, were sad and depressed.
[April 9, 1865
General: - I received your note this morning on the picket-line wither I had come to meet you and ascertain definitely what terms were embraced in your proposal yesterday with reference to the surrender of this army. I now request an interview in accordance with the offer contained in your letter of yesterday for that purpose.
R.E. Lee - General]
I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us.
General Lee was dressed in a full uniform which was entirely new, and was wearing a sword of considerable value, very likely the sword which had been presented by the State of Virginia; at all events, it was an entirely different sword from the one that would ordinarily be worn on the field. In my rough traveling suit, the uniform of a private with the straps of a lieutenant-general, I must have contrasted very strangely with a man so handsomely dressed, six feet high and of faultless form. But this was not a matter that I though of until afterwards.
|General Ely S. Parker|
Then we gradually fell of again into conversation about matters foreign to the subject which had brought us together. This continued for some little time, when General Lee interrupted the course of the conversation by suggesting the terms I proposed to give his army ought to be written out. I called to General Ely S. Parker, secretary of my staff, for writing materials, and commenced writing the following terms:
Appomattox C.H. Va.,
Ap’l 9th, 1865
Gen. R.E. Lee
Gen.: In accordance with the substance of my letter to you on the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms, to wit: Roll of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate. One copy to be given to an officer 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 officer 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 Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant
|Painting by John Leon Gerome Ferris|