The Civil War nears its end: Lee surrenders to Grant (1865)

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The important events described below were the beginning of the end of the Civil War, though the official declaration was signed on May 10, 1865.

The Latest From Grant.



Lee Asks for Terms !




Grant has fought it out on his own chosen line! The arms of the Union are victorious! Lee has surrendered! Domestic treason is utterly suppressed and punished — freedom extended to all the people — the South conquered — the rebellion at an end — and peace with a Union restored and purified nigh at hand. Such is the result of Lee’s surrender. Let the people everywhere rejoice, and bless God for this triumph of right over wrong — of freedom over oppression.


CLIFTON HOUSE, VA., April 9, 1865. — Hon. E. M. Stanton: The following correspondence has taken place between Gen. Lee and myself. There has been no relaxation in pursuit during its pendency. U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Gen.

Correspondence between Grant and Lee

APRIL 7, 1865. — Gen. R. E. Lee: The result of the last week must have convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so, and regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further effusion of blood, by asking of you, the surrender of that portion of the C. S. A. armies known as the Army of Northern Virginia. Very respectfully, U.S. GRANT, Lieut. Gen.

Raftsman's journal clearfield pa April 12, 1865

APRIL 7. — General: I have received your note of this date. Though not entirely of the opinion you express of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia, I respect your desire to evade the useless effusion of blood, and therefore, before considering your proposition, ask the terms you will offer of condition of surrender. R. E. LEE.

APRIL 8. — Your note of last evening, in reply to mine of same date, asking on what conditions I will accept the surrender of the Army of the Northern Virginia, is received. In reply I would say that peace being my first desire, there is but one condition I insist on, viz: that the men surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged. I will meet you, or designate officers to meet any officers you may name for the same purpose, at any point agreeable to you, for the purpose of arranging definitely the terms on which the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia will be received. Very respectfully, U.S. GRANT, Lieut. Gen.

HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF C. S. A., April 9, 1865. — General: I received at a late hour a note, in answer to mine of yesterday. I did not intend to propose the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, but to ask the terms of your proposition; but to be frank, I do not think the emergency has arisen to call for the surrender, but as the restoration of peace should be the sole object of all, I desire to know whether your proposal would tend to that end. I cannot, therefore, meet you with a view to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia, but as far as your proposition may affect the C. S. A. forces under my command, and tend to the restoration of peace, I should be pressed to meet you at [unknown] to-morrow, at the old stage road to Richmond, between the picket lines of the two armies. Very respectfully, R. E. LEE.

TO GEN. GRANT., U.S.A. APRIL 9. — Your note of yesterday is received. As I have no authority to treat on the subject of peace the meeting is 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 entertain the same feeling. Terms by which peace can be had are well understood by the south. By laying down their arms they will hasten that most desirable event; save those bands 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 very respectfully. U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Gen.

APRIL 9. — 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 proposition of yesterday, with reference to the surrender of this army. I now request an interview in accordance with the officer contained in yours of yesterday, for that purpose. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, R. E. LEE, General.

To Lieut. Gen. GRANT. APPOMATTOX, C. H., April 9. — Gen. R. E. Lee, etc.: In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, on the following terms, to-wit:

Civil War-era dresses for women (1861-1867)

Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate — one copy to be given to any officer designated by me; the other to be retained by such officer as you may designate, the officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands; the arms, artillery and public property, to be packed, stacked, and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side arms of the officers, nor their private horses, or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to go to their homes, not to be disturbed by the United States authorities so long as they observe their parole and the laws in force where they may reside. Very respectfully, U. S. GRANT, Lieut. Gen.

April 9, 1865.

Lieut Gen. Grant: I have received your letter of this date, containing terms of surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, as proposed by you, and as they are the same expressed in your letter of the 8th inst., they are accepted. I will propose to designate the proper officers to carry stipulations into effect. Very respectfully, R. E. LEE, General.

WASHINGTON, April 9. — To Lieut. Gen. Grant: Thanks to Almighty God for the great victory with which he has this day crowned you and the gallant army under your command. The thanks of this Department, of the Government, and of the people of the United States; their reverence and honor have been deserved, and will be rendered to you and the brave soldiers and officers of your army for all time to come. (Signed) E. M. STANTON.

WASHINGTON, April 9 — 10 p.m.

Ordered that a salute of two hundred guns be fired at the headquarters of every army and navy department, and every arsenal in the United States, and at the Military Academy at West Point, on the day of the receipt of this order, in commemoration of the surrender of Gen. R. E. Lee and his army to Lieut. Gen. Grant. (Signed) E. M. STANTON.

Top image: “Let Us Have Peace” by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Civil war leaders (1863-1865)

These four drawings come from “A history of the Civil War, 1861-1865, and the causes that led up to the great conflict,” by Benson John Lossing compiled from the official records of the War Department and published in 1912, by the War Memorial Association.
Hooker at Chancellorsville – May 3, 1863

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Grant in the wilderness – May 5, 1864

Grant in the wilderness - May 5, 1864

Sherman at Kenesaw Mountain – October 4, 1864

Sherman at Kenesaw Mountain - October 4, 1864

Sheridan at Five Forks – April 1, 1865

Sheridan at Five Forks - April 1, 1865

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