Lee, in a moment of great strength, did what he never wanted to do — he agreed to meet Grant to discuss terms of surrender. When learning of the severity of his army, he is quoted as saying, “There is nothing left for me to do but to go and see General Grant and I would rather die a thousand deaths.” There is a moment when a man in power must choice between pride and humility. By the grace of God, Lee chose humility that day. Regardless of what side of the lines we find ourselves on, we each can recall a moment in our lives when we were called to humble ourselves and the great damage it had on our pride to do so. There is often greater strength found in the one that bends the knee. What a moment; what an hour!
“April 9th, 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.”
“April 9th, 1865.
General R. 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, Lieutenant-General.”
…Those on the field watched in anticipation for what looked to be a heavily fought battle. No one on either side is likely to be excited about another blood bath, but if this one should end the war then it must be endured. While bullets flew from side to side, white flags emerged and a momentary truce is called. A meeting between generals has been called…
*Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a surprise souvenir from Appomattox! Earn entries by sharing this blog link (comment below with your link), follow my weekly blog, and/or talk to me in the comments below. Stay tuned our day is not yet through! Catch up on the previous post by clicking the #ExperHist tag. It’s never too late to enter and you’re welcome to enter as much as humanly possible. 🙂
Source: “Surrender at Appomattox, 1865,” EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (1997).