Lee Recommends that Davis Seeks Peace

Richmond, Virginia April 20, 1865 Mr. President The apprehensions I expressed during the winter, of the moral [sic] condition of the Army of Northern Virginia, have been realized. The operations which occurred while the troops were in the entrenchments in front of Richmond and Petersburg were not marked by the boldness and decision which formerlyRead More

‘A Final and Fitting Tribute’ – The Formal Surrender of Lee’s Army

April 12, 1865 (Wednesday) “It was a chill gray morning, depressing to the senses. But our hearts made warmth.” – General Joshua Chamberlain 12 Though Robert E. Lee had surrendered on the 9th, the formal ceremony did not occur until this date. During this, the arms would be stacked and the flags folded. This wasRead More

Both Davis and Lincoln Remain Hopeful

April 11, 1865 (Tuesday) Confederate President Jefferson Davis heard of General Lee’s surrender the night previous. He had re-established what was left of the government in Danville, Virginia, some eighty miles to the south of Appomattox. Almost immediately he began to make plans for another evacuation, fearing now that Federal cavalry would swarm down uponRead More

‘I bid you an affectionate farewell’ – General Lee to His Troops

April 10, 1865 (Monday) There came then soft rains, falling only slightly thicker than mist upon the blue and gray soldiers bivouacked in and around Appomattox Court House. Though General Lee had surrendered, the Union picket lines still held their formation, and mixing between the two armies, save higher ranking officers, had not yet comeRead More

The Surrender of General Lee – Appomattox Court House (Part 2)

This is Part Two. To read Part One, please click here. April 9, 1865 (Sunday – Afternoon through evening) General Grant, from his Memoirs: Before stating what took place between General Lee and myself, I will give all there is of the story of the famous apple tree. Wars produce many stories of fiction, someRead More

‘My Command Has Been Fought to a Frazzle’ – Appomattox Court House (Part 1)

April 9, 1865 (Sunday – Morning and early afternoon) The night which passed at Appomattox Court House was chilling and cold, lonely and hopeless. General Lee had crafted one last plan to break through the enemy lines before him, which he thought to be only cavalry. For this, he had assembled 9,000 veterans under theRead More

‘We Have Yet Too Many Bold Men’ – Lee Rebuffs Any Thought of Surrender

April 8, 1865 (Saturday) The night previous a number of Confederate generals met to discuss the situation, the highest ranking among them, General William Pendleton. With neither Lee nor Longstreet within earshot, they came to the agreement that surrender was swiftly approaching. It was inevitable, they concluded, wishing now to discuss this with Lee. ButRead More

‘Country Be Damned! There is No Country!’ – Lee’s Troops Sense Their Fate

April 7, 1865 (Friday) “If the thing is pressed,” wrote General Philip Sheridan to General Grant the night previous, “I think that Lee will surrender.” Grant forwarded the message via telegram to President Lincoln, still at City Point. His reply, which came on the morning of this date read simply: “Let the thing be pressed.”Read More

‘Hemmed in On Every Side’ – The Battle of Sailor’s Creek

April 6, 1865 Generals George Meade and Philip Sheridan were of two minds. As they gathered at Jetersville, south of the Appomattox River and west of Richmond, Meade believed that Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, now in retreat, was entrenched at Amelia Court House, along the Danville Railroad, ten miles northeast. Sheridan, onRead More

‘Our Army is Ruined, I Fear’ – Lee’s Way to Johnston Blocked by Sheridan

April 5, 1865 (Wednesday) General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had been marching since the night of the 2nd. Leaving their entrenchments at Petersburg and Richmond, they strode along the Danville Railroad knowing that the van of Grant’s command was never far behind and to his left. Just prior to leaving, Lee had ordered suppliesRead More