On the morning of April 10, 1865, rain was falling steadily — a rain that prepared Virginia fields for new planting, even though in the dark woods around Appomattox, along the red clay roads, it seemed to deepen the gloom that enshrouded the dead army.
Lee went about the duties of April 10 calmly but with an occasional evidence of abstraction. He felt that he should prepare a report of the campaign, and he sent a circular to the corps chiefs directing them to prepare brief accounts of their operations from March 29 "to the present time." Longstreet and Gordon were to procure and to forward reports from the division commanders, including those who had been assigned to their corps after the retreat had begun. The only reference in this circular to the surrender was the statement of Taylor, who wrote it, that Lee wished the documents "before the army is dispersed, that he may have some data on which to base his own report."1 Lee must have sent a somewhat similar circular to the principal officers of the general staff whom he directed to report the extent and condition of the supplies and equipment in their charge on April 8.2
About 10 o'clock Lee called for the draft of a farewell address to the army which he had instructed Marshall to write after the crowd had scattered and night had fallen on the 9th, when he had sat for a short time with some of his staff officers around a camp fire outside his tent. The draft was not forthcoming. Marshall had been so occupied amid all the coming and going around the camp that he had found no time for the task. Lee told him to go into his ambulance, which had been drawn up near his p150 headquarters tent, and to stay there until he finished the document. To make it certain that Marshall would not be interrupted, and to keep intruders away, Lee posted an orderly by the door of the ambulance.3
Soon there came word that General Grant had ridden over from the courthouse to call on him that he had been stopped and told he must wait until General Lee's instructions could be given the pickets who had been put out the previous day to prevent personal collisions among the men of the two armies. Chagrined at this display of a lack of proper consideration for a distinguished visitor, Lee immediately mounted Traveller. Wearing the uniform he had used the previous day, and wrapped in a blue military overcoat, he proceeded at a gallop to meet Grant. He found him on a little knoll to the right of the road to Lynchburg, just south of the north fork of the Appomattox and between the lines of the two armies. As he approached, Lee lifted his hat, as did Grant. The officers who had attended the Federal commander were equally polite, and, after a moment, withdrew in a semicircle behind Grant, out of earshot. Grant began by telling Lee that his interest was in peace and in the surrender of the other Confederate armies. Lee replied that South was a large country and that the Federals might be compelled to march over it three or four times before the war was entirely ended, but the Federals could do this, he said, because the South no longer could resist. For his own part, he hoped there would be no further sacrifice of life, but he could not foresee the result. Thereupon Grant said there was no man in the South whose influence with the soldiers and with the people was as great as Lee's, and that if Lee would advise the surrender of all the armies he believed they would lay down their arms. Lee knew far better than Grant possibly could the weakness of the Confederate forces still in the field. Weeks before, he had told the Secretary of War that he did not believe the troops east of the Mississippi, outside the Army of Northern Virginia, could offer effective resistance.4 But Grant's proposal had to do with a question the President would have to decide, a question that Lee felt he could not urge on his own initiative. He promptly said that he could not advise the remaining Confederate p151 armies without first consulting the President. Grant understood Lee's viewpoint and did not attempt to persuade him.5
Shifting the subject, Lee talked of the paroling of the army and asked that the instructions of the officers who were arranging the details of the surrender should be made so explicit that no misunderstanding could arise. Grant called up Gibbon, one of the commissioners, and gave assurance that this would be done.6 Then, as Lee was preparing to say farewell and to return to his lines, General Sheridan, General Rufus Ingalls, and General Seth Williams, who were anxious to have a closer look at the Army of Northern Virginia, asked General Lee if they might go over and call on some of their old army friends. General Lee immediately consented, and, after a little, lifted his hat once more to General Grant and rode off. The conversation had lasted more than half an hour and, according to Grant, was "very pleasant."7
Lee did not see his adversary again until May 1, 1869, when he made a visit to Baltimore and stopped in Washington on his way home to call on Grant at the White House, where he had been advised the President would be glad to receive him.8 It is a curious fact that the two whose names are more closely linked than those of any two opponents in American history, Marshall and Jefferson p152 not excepted,º should have seen each other only four times, or perhaps five times, during their lives.
General Lee was returning to his camp and was close to it when he met a cavalcade in blue and was greeted with a cheery "good morning, General" from a bearded man, who removed his cap as he spoke. For the moment Lee did not recognize the speaker, but the latter recalled himself as none other than George Gordon Meade, commanding the Army of the Potomac, and an old friend of kindly days.
"But what are you doing with all that gray in your beard?" Lee asked.
"You have to answer for most of it!" Meade magnanimously replied.9
It was explained quickly that Meade had ridden over on a visit of courtesy and, not finding Lee at headquarters, was just starting back when he met him. Meade introduced his two aides, Colonel Theodore Lyman and Captain George Meade, his son. Lee shook their hands "with all the air of the oldest blood in the world," according to Lyman. "In manner," Lyman observed, Lee was "exceedingly grave and dignified — this, I believe, he always was; but there was evidently added an extreme depression, which gave him an air of a man who kept up his pride to the last, but who was entirely overwhelmed. From his speech I judge he was inclined to wander in his thoughts."10
As Lee and Meade rode toward the Confederate headquarters, the graycoats began to cheer and to yell, as they had done whenever Lee had appeared that day.11 Unwilling to appear in a false light, Meade said to his color bearer, who had the flag rolled up, "Unfurl that flag." Quickly the answer came from a cadaverous soldier by the roadside: "Damn your old rag! We are cheering General Lee."12
p153 Lee invited Meade into his tent and chatted with him for some time. The talk was of the recent fighting and of the siege of Petersburg. As one professional soldier to another, Meade asked how many men Lee had in front of him on the morning of April 2. Lee replied that by the last returns he had 33,000 muskets.
"You mean that you had 33,000 men in the lines immediately around Petersburg?" Meade said.
Lee answered that the 33,000 were all he had on the whole line from the Chickahominy to Dinwiddie Courthouse.
Meade expressed his surprise and said candidly that he had on the south side of the James over 50,000 men.
Lee found consolation in knowing that he actually had fought against as heavy odds as he had supposed. After his visitor had left, Lee told Taylor and Long what Meade had said, and he inquired particularly of Taylor if his memory was correct and that he had only 33,000 infantry at the date of the last return. Taylor confirmed the figures.13
Later in the day Lee had another visitor in the person of the ablest of the Federal artillerists, General Henry J. Hunt. He found Lee "weary and care-worn, but in this supreme hour the same self-possessed, dignified gentleman that I had always known him." Lee conversed pleasantly with Hunt for half an hour, until General Wise and, after him, General Wilcox, came in. The last-named offered to accompany Hunt to the station of Long, who had been a lieutenant in Hunt's battery before the war. Lee had already informed Hunt where he might find his former subordinate. "Long will be very glad to see you," he said, and he went on to tell what had befallen that officer.14
After dining frugally with his staff,15 Lee had still other visitors and not a few routine duties. He received the formal terms of surrender as accepted by his commissioners and forwarded by Colonel Latrobe,16 and from Grant's headquarters he got a copy of the Federal order under the terms of which paroled Confederates were to be allowed to pass through the Federal lines and p154 to travel free on government transports and military railroads in order to reach their homes.17
When Marshall had finished his pencilled draft of the farewell order, Lee went over it, struck out a paragraph that seemed to him calculated to keep alive ill-feeling, and changed one or two words. Marshall then wrote a revised draft, which he had one of the clerks at headquarters copy in ink. General Lee signed this and additional copies made by various hands for the corps commanders and for the chiefs of the bureaus of the general staff. Other individuals made copies of their own which they brought to General Lee to sign as souvenirs.18 This accounts for the multiplicity of "originals," most of which are owned by persons who believe them the authentic first draft. As a matter of fact, there is no "original." Marshall probably destroyed or misplaced the pencilled text which General Lee revised. The language of the eliminated paragraph is not even known. An amended draft, in Marshall's autograph, is in the hands of his descendants, but cannot be affirmed positively to be the paper given by Marshall to the copyist.19 In hasty transcription and frequent reprinting the language of the order has assumed several versions. That which follows is from General Lee's letter book, into which it was copied, after Appomattox, by Custis Lee.
Hd. qrs. Army of N. Va.
After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.
I need not tell the brave survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them; but feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of p155 the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.
By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that a Merciful God will extend to you His blessing and protection.
With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.
R. E. Lee
The next day, April 11, Lee began to receive the reports of his subordinates. Some of them were hurried and perfunctory, but others were well-considered. Those of the field officers concerned operations only. The general staff wrote in some instances of the problems of the retreat, and confirmed Lee's judgment as to the necessity of surrendering when he did. General W. H. Stevens, the chief engineer, was most explicit. "From a careful study of our position and resources," he wrote, "the route pursued was the only one open to a chance of success, and I give it as my opinion that to have prolonged the effort to escape would have resulted in consequences frightful to contemplate and perhaps criminal to have ordered." The trains and army were surrounded: "To have attempted to cut a passage would have resulted in a frightful loss of life, giving no results at all commensurate with such a loss."21 The report of the chief of ordnance, Lieutenant Colonel B. G. Baldwin, showed to what a pitiful number of armed men the divisions had been reduced, and how scanty was the ammunition available in Virginia for them and for the artillery.22 Mahone affirmed that his men, to the very end, were well in hand and ready to give battle, but he revealed that from p156 his command, one of the two divisions on which Lee had felt he could count as late as the morning of the 9th, 39 officers and 1231 enlisted men were missing.23 Speaking of the army as a whole, straggling, said Stevens, "from the start was frightful"24 — a hackneyed but accurately descriptive adjective repeated several times in his report.
With this material and doubtless with Marshall's assistance in the usual way, Lee set about preparing his own report. When completed, it was a document of some 1200 words and was designed to be preliminary to a longer report that Lee then purposed to write. The only personal reference was in the opening sentence: "It is with pain that I announce to your Excellency the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia." With no further preliminaries, he sketched operations from the arrival at Amelia Courthouse to the surrender. The outcome was attributed primarily to failure to find at Amelia the provisions he expected would be there. The army, he explained, had been forced to halt a day in order to seek food in the surrounding country. "This delay," he said, "was fatal, and could not be retrieved." The nearest approach to blame for any individual was the statement, in reference to Sayler's Creek, that "General Anderson, commanding Pickett's and B. R. Johnson's, became disconnected with Mahone's division, forming the rear of Longstreet."
Proceeding then to the events that ended in the capitulation, he said of his action in accepting Grant's terms: "I deemed this course the best under all the circumstances by which we were surrounded. On the morning of the 9th, according to the reports of the ordnance officers, there were 7892 organized infantry with arms, with an average of 75 rounds of ammunition per man. The artillery, though reduced to sixty-three pieces, with ninety-three rounds of ammunition, was sufficient. These comprised all the supplies of ordnance that could be relied on in the State of Virginia. I have no accurate report of the cavalry, but believe it did not exceed 2100 effective men. The enemy was more than five times our numbers. If we could have forced our way one day longer, it would have been at a great sacrifice of life, and at its end I did not see how a surrender could have been avoided. We p157 had no subsistence for man or horse, and it could not be gathered in the country. The supplies ordered to Pamplin's Station from Lynchburg could not reach us, and the men, deprived of food and sleep for many days, were worn out and exhausted." That was the closing sentence.25
This report is dated April 12, "near Appomattox Courthouse," and it doubtless was finished and signed that morning. By the time it was completed Lee had said farewell to many of his officers, had given his autograph to some of them,26 had written his pledge not to take up arms against the United States "until properly exchanged,"27 and had signed Taylor's individual parole, the only one that required his personal attention. Taylor as A. A. G. had attested those of the other staff officers.28
GENERAL LEE'S PAROLE,
SIGNED ALSO BY CERTAIN OF HIS STAFF OFFICERS
The fifth name, almost illegible, is that of Colonel Charles Marshall.
After the original in the Confederate Museum, reproduced by permission of its owner, Mrs. Madge Ould Powers, daughter of the late Judge Robert Ould.
As the paroling had begun on April 10, Lee might have started home that day. He never explained why he remained until the 12th, but doubtless he stayed because he did not wish to leave his men to bear without him the humiliation of stacking their arms and giving over their cherished old battleflags. He did not witness that sad ceremony on the morning of April 12, for it occurred out of sight of his camp and nearer Appomattox,29 but he did not break camp till the surrender was over and his tearful soldiers had turned away from the field of their last parade.
p158 There was no theatrical review, no speech-making, no pledge to keep the cause alive in loyal hearts. All that was behind Lee. Quietly and unceremoniously he left his last headquarters on the 12th and started home.30 With him rode Taylor, Marshall, and Cooke, the last-named sick and in an ambulance lent by the Federals. They took with them their headquarters wagon and General Lee's old ambulance, which Britt drove.31 Colonel Venable started with them but parted company very soon, as his route to reach his family in Prince Edward County was different from theirs. Some Federal officer, probably Gibbon, who was the senior Union general remaining at Appomattox, sent over a handsomely mounted escort of twenty-five cavalrymen to attend Lee to Richmond if he desired it. When Lee declined, the troopers still insisted on doing him the honor of accompanying him some distance from the camp.
The worst of the strain was over now. Rest had begun to restore the nerves of the men, who had scarcely relaxed from the time they left Petersburg until they surrendered.32 They already had exhausted the fighting and its outcome as a theme of conversation, and as they went homeward through the budding trees, away from the sounds of rumbling wagon trains and marching columns, they talked freely and of many things,33 but little of the p159 war. When Lee did speak of the struggle and its outcome, his thought, as always, was of those around him rather than of himself. He urged the young officers to go home, to take whatever work they could find, and to accept the conditions necessary for their participation in the government.34
The road they were following led northeastward from Appomattox to Buckingham Courthouse and thence eastward to Cumberland Courthouse, where it struck the old stage road from Lynchburg to Richmond by way of Farmville. As evening drew on, General Lee passed through Buckingham Courthouse, where he was identified and greeted. •Two miles beyond the village he came, according to Lawley, to the bivouac of Longstreet,35 and there he decided to make his camp, in woods owned by Mrs. Martha Shepherd. Although his tent was speedily and quietly pitched, the coming of even so small a cavalcade attracted attention. Mrs. Shepherd learned who her visitor was and sent him an invitation to spend the evening at her home. For fear of inconveniencing her, he declined, precisely as he had scores of times during the war. If Lawley was correct in saying that Longstreet was camped in the same woods, the two spent their last evening together and parted the next day to meet no more, though they continued to correspond irregularly. Longstreet was bitter. Acknowledging that for months he had felt the Southern cause hopeless, he affirmed that the next time he fought he would be sure it was necessary.36 If this remark came to Lee's ears he overlooked it. "My interest and affection for you will never cease," Lee wrote Longstreet the next January, "and my prayers are always offered for your prosperity."37
In some way the news of Lee's coming spread ahead of him. Women hastened to cook provisions and brought them out to the road, where they waited for him. "These good people are kind, too kind," he is reported to have said. "Their hearts are as full as when we began our first campaigns in 1861. They do too much p160 — more than they are able to do — for us." His only concern over food was about some oats he had procured for Traveller,38 and was afraid some one else might take. As the day wore on, Traveller cast a shoe and became lame. Lee soon stopped at Flanagan's Mill, Cumberland County, where he spent the night under the friendly roof of Madison Flanagan. The mount was shod that night and was ready for the road the next morning.39
On the 14th Major Cooke, who was still sick, bade his chief farewell and turned off the road.40 Accompanied now only by Taylor and Marshall and the drivers, Lee continued on his way. Ere long he overtook one of his youthful veterans, limping barefooted along the same road. The boy had procured a mule at Appomattox, along with his parole, but had lost the animal when it had bolted from him. "My boy," said Lee, "you are too badly off for the long journey ahead of you; you have no shoes. I am going to spend the night at the home of my brother, Charles Carter Lee, who lives a few miles ahead at Pine Creek Mills. I will find you a pair of shoes and you must stop there to get them."41
At evening Lee reached his brother's farm in Powhatan County. He was made welcome, of course, but as the house was crowded he insisted on using his own tent. He was then invited to "spend the night" in familiar Virginia phrase, at the residence of John Gilliam, whose farm adjoined that of C. C. Lee. He asked, instead, that the available room be given a sick officer and his wife, who had driven up. Learning from his brother's family that the Gilliams were disappointed at his refusal and were very anxious that he at least eat a meal at their table, he sent word that if it were agreeable he would take breakfast with them. Then, having procured a pair of shoes for the soldier to whom he had promised them, he went into camp, immediately in front of the Gilliam home. It was his final bivouac, the last night he ever slept under canvas.
The next morning he ate with the Gilliam family. It probably was at this time, and in answer to a question from Mr. Gilliam, p161 that he said many people would wonder why he did not make his escape before the surrender, when that course was practicable. The reason, he explained, was that he was unwilling to separate his fate from that of the men who had fought under him so long.42 He was unrestrained in his conversation and made much of a little girl of about ten, the daughter of the Gilliams, who was presented to him. He took her on his knee and caressed her. "Polly," he said, "come with me to Richmond and I will give you a beau."43
The company was swelled that morning by the arrival of Rooney Lee and the General's nephew, John Lee.44 Riders and vehicles soon got under way — there were twenty horses altogether — and went down the River road, through Powhatan and Chesterfield Counties. As they neared the capital of the dying Confederacy, in the midst of a gloomy spring downpour, General Lee and two of his officers went ahead of the wagons and of the ambulance. Ere long they reached Manchester, which was then a separate municipality on the south side of James River, opposite Richmond. While the rain was at the heaviest he passed in the town the home of a Baptist minister who chanced to see the General, and later wrote of the scene in these moving words: "His steed was bespattered with mud, and his head hung down as if worn by long travelling. The horseman himself sat his horse like a master; his face was ridged with self-respecting grief; his garments were worn in the service and stained with travel; his hat was slouched and spattered with mud and only another unknown horseman rode with him, as if for company and for love. Even in the fleeting moment of his passing by my gate, I was awed by his incomparable dignity. His majestic composure, his rectitude and his sorrow, were so wrought and blended into his visage and so beautiful and impressive to my eyes that I fell into violent weeping. To me there was only one where this one was. . . ."45
The streets through which General Lee rode in Manchester p162 cut off his view of Richmond until he was close to the James River, which he had made renowned in military history. Then he could see how deep and how hideous were the scars on the face of the city. Both bridges were gone: a line of Federal pontoons afforded the only crossing. Nearly the whole waterfront had been consumed in the fire of April 2‑3 that had followed the evacuation. Arsenal, factories, flouring mills, tobacco warehouses, stores, dwellings, — all were destroyed. On his left, in the middle of the stream, Belle Isle prison camp lay deserted. Beyond it, as his eyes swept across the river, the Tredegar Iron Works was intact, but east of it were gaunt, blackened walls, the only sentinels over the once-busy plants that had supplied him with shell and with small arms. Thence eastward for nearly a mile the fire had levelled the city from the north bank of the James to the hill beyond the business district. Scarcely a wall now stood shoulder-high in the whole area, for safety had required the wrecking of those the flames and the fall of floors had left standing. The streets that had shown the proudest bustle in the days of the Confederacy now were mere track amid débris that had been hastily pushed back to the sidewalk to afford a passageway. They seemed to divide plots of tangled roofing and charred timbers in a garden of desolation. Above them, as boldly set as if the terraces of gray and black and red had been made for no other purpose than to display it, was the sharply cut facade of the capitol that Jefferson had designed, the capitol in which Houdon's statue of Washington stood, the capitol where Lee himself had received command of the Virginia troops, the capitol where Jackson's body had lain in state after Chancellorsville, the capitol through whose corridors had run the defiant voices of the Confederate Congress, swearing that the new nation should never know subjection and would never seek reunion. And now over its roof, in the easy pride of assured possession, the Union flag was flying. Against the gray sky of the dark April afternoon, above the waste and wretchedness of the city, that colorful flag must have seemed to dominate Richmond as the symbol of conquest.46
p163 General Lee probably was forced to wait a while at the pontoon bridge, for his wagons and companions overtook him and followed him across the river and up the streets of Richmond. If there was a halt, General Lee did not prolong it an unnecessary minute, for he was anxious to avoid a demonstration of any sort. Rumor had spread on the 12th that he had arrived, but it had been ascertained then that the General Lee who had come to town was Custis, who had been carried as a prisoner of war from Sayler's Creek to City Point and had been allowed to visit his mother.47 Still, it had been the supposition of all loyal Confederates that Lee would return directly from Appomattox to his family in Richmond. A certain informal lookout for him had been kept. Now word spread quickly that he was riding uptown. As many as could reach Main Street before he passed, hurriedly turned out to see him.
What met their gaze was not a pageant to stir martial ardor. He had put aside his best uniform and had on one that had seen long service, but he still wore a sword, though apparently not the handsome weapon he had carried at Appomattox. His mount was Traveller. With him now rode five others, Taylor, Marshall, and Rooney Lee among them. These officers also carried their side arms, but all their horses were gaunt and jaded. Behind them rattled the General's old ambulance and the wagons the Federals had permitted the officers to bring away from Appomattox for the transportation of their personal effects. In these vehicles, along with the possessions of the others, were General Lee's camp equipment and those of the headquarters records that had escaped destruction on the road to Appomattox. No attempt was made to dress up the vehicles for a formal showing. One of them, lacking a canvas, was covered with an old quilt. But those who looked at the sad little procession understood and choked and wept. Along a ride of less than a mile, from the pontoons to the residence at 707 East Franklin Street, the crowd grew thicker with each block. Cheers broke out, in which the Federals joined heartily. Hats went off, and uniform caps of blue along with them. General Lee acknowledged the greeting by uncovering repeatedly, but he was manifestly anxious to finish his journey as quickly as he could.
Arriving in front of the house, he turned his horse over to one of the men attending the wagons.48 The heart-broken civilians of Richmond, widows, old men, maidens, thronged him as the soldiers had at Appomattox. They wanted to speak to him and to shake his hand, and if that was impossible, at the least to touch his uniform. He grasped as many outstretched palms as he could. In a moment, with his emotions strained almost to tears, he made his way to the iron gate, and up the granite steps. Bowing again to the crowd, he entered the house and closed the door. The cheers of the crowd died out, and it began to scatter. His marching over and his battles done, Robert E. Lee unbelted his sword forever.49
1 Copy of the circular in Pickett and His Men, 393.
2 This is safely inferred from the reference of nearly all the officers of the general staff to the status of affairs at that time.
3 Marshall in 4 B. and L., 747.
5 2 Grant, 497. Horace Porter's account (4 B. and L., 745) was based on his recollection of what Grant told his staff that evening after the interview. There is nothing in Porter's narrative that could not have been said, but internally it seems a bit embroidered with time, and it has the emphasis in the wrong place. As Porter's is second-hand, Grant's version must, of course, be preferred to it. Porter's statement is as follows: "Grant began by expressing a hope that the war would soon be over, and Lee replied by stating that he had for some time been anxious to stop the effusion of blood, and he trusted that everything would be done to restore harmony and conciliate the people of the South. He said the emancipation of the Negroes would be no hindrance to the restoring of relations between the two sections of the country, as it probably would not be the desire of the majority of the Southern people to restore slavery then, even if the question were left open to them. He could not tell what the other armies would do or what course Mr. Davis would take, but he believed it would be best for their other armies to follow his example, as nothing could be gained by further resistance in the field. Finding that he entertained these sentiments, General Grant told him that no one's influence in the South was so great as his, and suggested to him that he should advise the surrender of the remaining armies and thus exert his influence in favor of immediate peace. Lee said he could not take such a course without consulting President Davis first. Grant then proposed to Lee that he should do so, and urge the hastening of a result which was admitted to be inevitable. Lee, however, was averse to stepping beyond his duties as a soldier, and said the authorities would doubtless arrive at the same conclusion without his interference." Other second- or third-hand accounts are Gibbon's, op. cit., 326‑27, and Dana's in O. R., 46, part 3, pp716‑17. The last-named seems to be based chiefly on staff gossip.
6 Gibbon, 326‑27, 341‑42, confusing much that was said on the 9th with the conversation on the 10th.
7 2 Grant, 497.
8 R. E. Lee, Jr., 349.
9 There are numerous versions of this episode. Long, 426, quoted that of Colonel de Chenal. In 2 Meade, 270, there is a brief reference to the meeting. The account the writer has preferred is that of Colonel Theodore Lyman, written April 23, 1865, when the events were still fresh in his mind. His version appears in his letters, which are of extraordinary interest, published under the title Meade's Headquarters, 1863‑1865, edited by George R. Agassiz. The assumption that Lee was returning from the interview with Grant when he met Meade is fully borne out by Grant's and Lyman's statements of the roads they followed. A very good account of Meade's ride through the lines is given by General Field in 14 S. H. S. P., 562. Field escorted Meade to Lee's tent.
10 Lyman, op. cit., 360‑61.
11 W. A. McClendon: Recollections of War Times, 234.
12 Mixson, 120.
13 Taylor's Four Years, 154; cf. a different and later account in Long, 426, For the version of F. M. Colston, to whom Taylor repeated what Lee told him, see 38 S. H. S. P., 13.
14 Hunt, quoted in Long, 426‑27.
15 Major Giles B. Cooke in Richmond News Leader, Jan. 19, 1923, p14.
17 Lee MSS. — N. Lee discussed with Gibbon and with Longstreet the possible embarrassment of his soldiers because their paroles were not signed by Federal officers (Gibbon, 336).
18 General Perry, for instance, 20 S. H. S. P., 61; cf. Ranson in 122 Harper's Monthly Magazine, 336.
19 Reproduced in Marshall, 276‑77.
20 Marshall's own account, written in 1887, appears in 4 B. and L., 747. The view here expressed as to the "originals" is based on lengthy investigations by the late W. W. Scott and by Virginius Dabney of Richmond. Mr. Dabney's conclusions were summarized in The Richmond News Leader of Sept. 27, 1924, p26, and Nov. 12, 1924, p20. Mr. Dabney kindly placed at the writer's disposal the large correspondence he collected in preparing his articles.
21 Lee MSS. — L.
23 Lee MSS. — L.
24 Lee MSS. — L.
26 For instance, 38 S. H. S. P., 14.
27 Original in Confederate Museum, Richmond; text in O. R., 46, part 1, p667. None of those around Lee mention the time of the signing of the parole or the circumstances attending it. As there are among the Lee papers several blank Federal paroles of the same form as that signed by himself and his personal staff, it seems likely that the printed sheets were sent him and received the signatures at his headquarters.
28 38 S. H. S. P., 13; Taylor's General Lee, 296.
29 The Confederates left their wagons parked and their artillery in the road, and marched to an open field near the courthouse, under the command of General Gordon. As they approached the ground where they were to stack arms and pile up their ragged battleflags, General Joshua L. Chamberlain, who commanded the Maine brigade that faced the field, gave orders for his men to present arms. Gordon immediately saluted and passed a like order down the ranks of the heartbroken survivors of the Army of Northern Virginia. The veterans wept as they placed on the ground the flags they had so often borne victoriously forward. Some of the soldiers, rather than surrender their banners, tore them into bits and divided them among themselves. In a few instances, color bearers concealed the flags under their shirts and bore them home as relics. In one North Carolina regiment, as General Bryan Grimes shook hands with each man in turn, one soldier said to him, "Good-bye, General; God bless you; we will go home, make three more crops and then try them again" (Grimes, quoted in 5 N. C. Regts., 256). Most of the men realized, however, that the defeat of the army meant the end of all hope of a separate Southern government and left Appomattox, grateful for the consideration shown them and determined to labor peaceably for a restored Union. Both General Chamberlain (Passing of the Armies, 260 ff.) and General Gordon (op. cit., 448 ff.) left moving accounts of the surrender (cf. Jones, 308).
30 Taylor's General Lee, 296‑97; Statement of Major Giles B. Cooke to the writer. The movements of General Lee immediately after the surrender are variously given in the biographers. Taylor in his Four Years, 154, stated that his chief arrived in Richmond April 12. McCabe (op. cit., 636) and Miss Mason (op. cit., 316) gave the same date, as, inferentially, did Cooke (op. cit., 466). All of them apparently were misled by contemporary newspaper accounts, which confused the return of General Lee with that of Custis. Obviously, the General could not have returned so soon to Richmond, as the journey by road was nearly •100 miles and he was certainly at Appomattox on the 10th. Colonel Taylor evidently saw his error, for in his later General Lee, 296, he wrote that Lee left Appomattox on the 12th. Lawley (Fortnightly Review, September, 1865, p10) also gave the 12th as the date of departure. Both Captain R. E. Lee (op. cit., 155) and the Richmond correspondent of The New York Herald (cited infra, p163, n47) put the time of the General's arrival in Richmond as the 15th. Inasmuch as he is known to have spent three nights on the road, this would make the 12th the date of breaking camp at Appomattox. The only contemporary witness who gives a positively contrary date is Major Giles B. Cooke. In his Just Before and After Lee Surrendered, 7, he quoted his diary, which fixed the time for the start as the 11th. It is manifest, however, from the internal evidence of this entry that it was made at sometimes time subsequent to the 13th, perhaps several days thereafter. The major must have been wrong in his chronology by one day. Furthermore, the date of Lee's report to President Davis is almost conclusive evidence. This is headed "Near Appomattox Court-House, Va., April 12, 1865."
31 Giles B. Cooke: Just Before and After Lee Surrendered to Grant, 7.
32 Lyman, op. cit., p361, quoted Marshall as saying he got no sleep whatever for seventy-two hours.
33 Taylor's General Lee, 297. W. H. Taylor to Charles M. Graves, MS., Nov., n. d., 1904 — Taylor MSS.
34 Taylor's General Lee, 297.
35 Lawley, loc. cit., 10. Major Cooke, who accompanied General Lee on this part of the journey, has no recollection of overtaking Longstreet. He is satisfied that if Longstreet was camped in the same woods he was not close to Lee.
36 Philadelphia Weekly Times, July 27, 1879, p8. Longstreet denied having said, as some other officer alleged, that if there were another war he would not fight under Lee.
37 Longstreet, 654‑55.
38 Cooke, 465, 466.
39 Statement of Doctor T. Latané Driscoll, grandson of Lee's host. Doctor Driscoll courteously verified all the facts of this forgotten halt on the road to Richmond.
40 Statement to the writer.
41 Judge D. C. Richardson, giving his own experience, in 38 Virginia Magazine, 69.
42 17 S. H. S. P., 361‑62.
43 Cf. "Lee and the Ladies," 78 Scribner's Magazine, 468; personal statements of the Gilliam family received through the kindness of Miss Nannie Jones of Richmond; note in 15 S. H. S. P., xxvii; MS. Recollections of Miss Polly Gilliam.
44 R. R. Lee to the writer, MS., Dec. 16, 1925. Mr. Lee was then at the home of his father, Charles Carter Lee.
45 William E. Hatcher: Along the Trail of the Friendly Years, 118‑19. Doctor Hatcher must have been mistaken in saying Lee had only one companion.
46 The fullest accounts of the evacuation of Richmond, the fire, and the arrival of the Federals are: Alex. W. Weddell: Richmond, Virginia, in Old Prints, 171 ff.; Mrs. Mary A. Fontaine to Mrs. Marie Burrows Sayre, April 30, 1865, Calendar of Confederate Papers, 274 ff.; W. A. Christian: Richmond: Her Past and Present, 259 ff.; Mrs. Emmie Crump (p163)Lightfoot: Evacuation of Richmond, MS. Numerous papers on the subject will be found in 13, 23, 24, 25, and 32 S. H. S. P. Cf. E. A. Moore, 277.
47 New York Herald, April 16, 1865, p2, col. 4.
48 Request was speedily made to the post quartermaster, Lieutenant H. S. Merrell, for forage and stabling for all twenty of the animals — the first official notice the Union authorities had that he had reached Richmond. He "looked exceedingly robust," to a Federal newspaper correspondent who saw him for the first time as he prepared to enter the house. He was "certainly a most splendid specimen of a soldier and gentleman."
49 New York Herald, April 18, 1865, p5, col. 2; eye-witness, Mrs. Julia Page Pleasants, in Mary Newton Stanard's Richmond, p213; cf. 34 Virginia Magazine, 9.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
Robert E. Lee
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 26 Jan 15