Friday, April 10, 2015

I Bid You All An Affectionate Farewell

The Appomattox Campaign

The Confederate cavalry surrendered on the 10th with officers and men giving their parole.  EP Alexander encountered many of his former colleagues:
I met at the Federal headquarters many old army friends & acquaintances & the courtesy, consideration & good will of every one of them was shown in every way possible.  Indeed, Gen. Grant's spirit of kindness seemed to imbue his whole army down to the private soldiers & the teamsters one met upon the roads, who would turn out into the mud for any Confederate officer, & salute him . . .
He refers to running into one of his former classmates who offers him money to help get Alexander back to Georgia, remarking of the offer:
It is only a fair sample of the spirit that breathed everywhere, & which I believe would have animated the North every where but for the assassination of Lincoln.
It was also the day that both commanding generals took leave of their armies.

Robert E Lee issued a farewell to his troops:
General Order
No. 9

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.
The next morning he left Appomattox to ride to Richmond where he resided for two months before accepting an offer to become President of Washington College (now Washington & Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia, a position he held until his death in 1870.

U.S. Grant left Appomattox Court House to make his way back to City Point and from there left for  Washington DC on April 12.  On the 14th, Grant would attend a Cabinet Meeting where President Lincoln would invite the General and his wife to join he and Mrs Lincoln in his box at Ford's Theater later that evening.  Grant declined as he and his wife had plans to travel later that day by train to Burlington, New Jersey to see their children.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the read, well written. Learned something, too. dm