It is done. The great general has finally surrendered. Fiction cannot replace the eyewitness accounts, and so we’ll turn to them now.
“At a little before 4 o’clock General Lee shook hands with General Grant, bowed to the other officers, and with Colonel Marshall left the room. One after another we followed, and passed out to the porch. Lee signaled to his orderly to bring up his horse, and while the animal was being bridled the general stood on the lowest step and gazed sadly in the direction of the valley beyond where his army lay – now an army of prisoners. He smote his hands together a number of times in an absent sort of way; seemed not to see the group of Union officers in the yard who rose respectfully at his approach, and appeared unconscious of everything about him. All appreciated the sadness that overwhelmed him, and he had the personal sympathy of every one who beheld him at this supreme moment of trial. The approach of his horse seemed to recall him from his reverie, and he at once mounted. General Grant now stepped down from the porch, and, moving toward him, saluted him by raising his hat. He was followed in this act of courtesy by all our officers present; Lee raised his hat respectfully, and rode off to break the sad news to the brave fellows whom he had so long commanded.” ~Unknown
“…our Division got the word attention, and an order was read to the effect that Genl Robt E. Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Va to the Army of the Potomac commanded by Genl Ulysses S. Grant. It did not take us by surprise for we had been looking for it for some days. But when we knew it to be a sure thing what a loud, long glorious shout went up. Then the first thing I knew I was rolling in the mud and several of Co “K” boys piled on top and wallowed me in the mud and themselves too pulled one another about, tripped them up. In fact I never seen a crazier set of fellows anywhere before or since. I cannot tell what all was done but I do know that I had to work for two good hours getting the mud off of me. All was busy doing something and such confusion and carrying on was never seen in so short a time. Then the artillery opened. I think there was not one piece but what belched forth the glad tidings, those that were captured and all. It was one continual roar for miles and miles.” ~ Daniel Chisholm
It is done. The greatest army of the South has now surrendered, and it’s widely believed that those remaining will soon do likewise. But this not the end of our journey. We must rise in the morning and continue with these last events.
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Sources: “Surrender at Appomattox, 1865,” EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (1997).
The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chisholm: A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army 1864-1865
5 thoughts on “Experiencing History: Reliving the End of the Civil War, Moment by Moment: 4/9 part 4”
I imagine that the relief for either side had to be great. While, it is never “fun” to be on a losing side, for these men, who had been away from home for so long and have seen such horrors, the relief that it was over had to be great.
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I think so too. I enjoyed playing into that idea in, In the Shadow of Thy Wings. And Daniel’s account was a great inspiration for me, but I’m guessing it wasn’t hard for you to spot. 😉
It is very inspiring to me how the Southern soldiers were treated with such respect. Grant and the Northern officers saluting Lee is such an amazing thing. If only we could all show that kind of respect and love to our enemies, this world would be a lot better place.
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I feel the same way. This is one of my favorite posts from the series. You’ll find a similar story on the 12th…another favorite. 😉 Thanks again for sharing!