The Surrender Of Lee

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"HEADQUARTERS

"ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES, April 9, 1865.

"GENERAL R. E. LEE, Commanding Confederate States Armies: "Your note of yesterday is received. I have no authority to treat on the subject of peace; the meeting proposed for 10 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. Sincerely hoping that all our difficulties may be settled without the loss of another life, I subscribe myself, etc., U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General."

I proceeded at an early hour in the morning, still suffering with the headache, to get to the head of the column. I was not more than two or three miles from Appomattox Court House at the time; but to go direct I would have to pass through Lee's army or a portion of it. I had therefore to move south in order to get upon a road coming up from another direction.

When the white flag was put out by Lee, as already described, I was in this way moving toward Appomattox Court House, and consequently could not be communicated with immediately and be informed of what Lee had done. Lee, therefore, sent a flag to the rear to advise Meade, and one to the front to Sheridan, saying that he had sent a message to me for the purpose of having a meeting to consult about the surrender of his army, and asked for a suspension of hostilities until I could be communicated with. As they had heard nothing of this until the fighting had got to be severe and all going against Lee, both of these commanders hesitated very considerably about suspending hostilities at all. They were afraid it was not in good faith, and we had the Army of Northern Virginia where it could not escape except by some deception. They, however, finally consented to a suspension of hostilities for two hours, to give an opportunity of communicating with me in that time, if possible. It was found that, from the route I had taken, they would probably not be able to communicate with me and get an answer back within the time fixed unless the messenger should pass through the Confederate lines.

Lee, therefore, sent an escort with the officer bearing this message through his lines to me:

"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. R. E. LEE, General.

"Lieutenant-General U. S. GRANT, Commanding United States Armies."

When the officer reached me I was still suffering with the sick-headache; but the instant I saw the contents of the note I was cured. I wrote the following note in reply and hastened on:

"April 9, 1865

GENERAL R. E. LEE, Commanding Confederate States Armies:

"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, Lieutenant- General."

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