Sunday, March 25, 2012

Surrender - Finale

Greetings Cosmic Americans!

It did not take long for Grant and Lee to dispense with the proceedings for which they had met. Grant wrote up the terms - Lee reminded him that his officers owned their own horses, Grant made adjustments to the terms to allow the men to retain their mounts, and Lee agreed.

And there it was - the grand Army of Northern Virginia was no more. The two generals exchanged a few words and Lee, with his aide-de-camp, left the building. Below is an eyewitness account of what next transpired:

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.

The following day, Lee issued his Farewell Address to his army:

Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 10th April 1865.
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 survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them.

But feeling that valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I have 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 an affectionate farewell.

His words would inform legions of Lost Cause advocates later in the nineteenth century. Overwhelming numbers and resources soon became the cornerstone of the an argument - persisting until today - suggesting the the Rebels wore themselves out defeating the Yankees.



1 comment:

  1. The 7th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 15th West Virginia Infantry and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd WV Cavalry regiments were at Appomattox, on the Union side. Surely this indicates part of the reason why the rebellion failed - many of their fellow Southerners fought against them.