Surrender at Appomattox

 

Abraham Lincoln

Summary of Surrender at Appomattox
Short Summary: The Surrender at Appomattox
heralded the start of the end of the Civil War. On April 9, 1865 General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia. The conditions terms of surrender at Appomattox were favorable as President Lincoln required a lasting peace to come to a unified nation refer to End of the Civil War.

Surrender at Appomattox
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th American President who served in office from March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865. One of the key events during his presidency was the Surrender at Appomattox and the fall of the Confederate Army of General Robert E. Lee.

What led to the Surrender at Appomattox?
Prior to the surrender at Appomattox General Robert E. Lee had withdrawn from his entrenchments at the nine month Siege of  Petersburg and the Confederacy capital of Richmond was finally abandoned. His remaining army had attempted to escape to the mountains, but were soon trapped by Union soldiers. General Robert E. Lee had no alternative but to surrender. The remaining soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia laid down their arms and General Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox.

Who was involved at the Surrender of Appomattox?
The above picture shows who was involved at the surrender at Appomattox. From left to right of the picture the 15 men depicted in the illustration of the Surrender at Appomattox are Lt. Col. Charles Marshall (Lee's Aid-de-Camp), Confederate office who accompanied General Robert E. Lee. The Union contingent at the Surrender at Appomattox consisted of Lt. Col. Orville E. Babcock, Brig. Gen. Seth Williams, Lt. Col. Ely S. Parker, Lt. Col. Theodore S. Browers, Maj. Gen. Edward Ord, Lt. Gen Ulysses S. Grant, Lt. Col. Horace Porter, Brig. Gen. John A. Rawlins, Brig. Gen. Frederick T. Dent, Brig. Gen. John G. Barnard, Lt. Col. Adam Badeau, Brig. Gen. Rufus Ingalls and Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan.

Surrender at Appomattox

Surrender at Appomattox

Surrender at Appomattox: Picture of the Surrender at Appomattox
The picture represents the meeting of Grant and Lee at the Surrender of Appomattox. General Lee was accompanied to the Surrender at Appomattox by just one other - Lt. Col. Charles Marshall. General Robert E. Lee arrived first at the meeting place in the parlor of the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. He was dressed in his finest dress uniform, his clothes and boots were clean and he wore fine spurs. At his side he carried a long sword which had been presented to him by the State of Virginia. The sword was of exceedingly fine workmanship, the hilt being studded with jewels.
General Ulysses S. Grant was accompanied by a group of Union officers and poorly for the surrender formalities wearing a simple private's uniform with only his Lieutenant-General shoulder straps indicating his rank. He wore an ordinary pair of top-boots, with his trousers tucked inside, and was without spurs. The boots and portions of his clothes were spattered with mud from his ride to the surrender meeting.
 

Surrender at Appomattox: The McLean House at Appomattox Court House
The Wilmer McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House was where General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant. General Robert E. Lee, realizing he had no alternative but to surrender, had sent Lt. Col. Charles Marshall, his Aid-de-Camp, to the village of Appomattox Court House where the formal surrender was to take place. Marshall was to arrange for a suitable location for the surrender meeting of the two generals. One of the finest houses in the village was the Wilmer McLean house. Lt. Col. Charles Marshall approached Wilmer McLean who agreed that the meeting and surrender could be conducted in the McLean house.

Surrender at Appomattox: Before the Meeting of General Lee and General Grant
The time before the meeting to discuss the conditions and terms of surrender was stressful for both Grant and Lee. General Robert E. Lee was of course dreading the meeting of surrender at Appomattox. When discussing his course of action he ended the debate by saying  "... then there is nothing left me but to go and see General Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths..." He then wrote a letter to Grant suggesting the surrender meeting. General Ulysses S. Grant suffered from a severe headache, brought on by the stressful and emotional task in hand. General Grant stated in his memoirs that as soon as he read General Lee’s note suggesting they meet to formalize the surrender of the Confederate army, his headache disappeared. 

Surrender at Appomattox: The Meeting of General Lee and General Grant
The two generals had met before the Surrender at Appomattox during the Mexican-American War. Ulysses S. Grant had enormous respect for the older military man and found the meeting highly stressful and very emotional. General Grant made small talk for some considerable time before General Lee finally raised the subject of the terms and conditions of surrender.

Surrender at Appomattox: Terms of Surrender
What were the Terms of Surrender at Appomattox? The terms of surrender at Appomattox applied to all soldiers and officers and were as follows.

Terms of Surrender 1To surrender their arms and artillery (not including the swords of officers)
Terms of Surrender 2To return to their respective homes
Terms of Surrender 3To observe the conditions of their parole, not to take up arms against the Government
Terms of Surrender 4To abide by the laws of their individual states
Additional Terms of Surrender at AppomattoxIn addition food was granted for the starving army and permission was granted allowing soldiers to keep their own horses and mules for use in the spring planting

General Ulysses S. Grant had previously discussed terms of surrender with President Abraham Lincoln. The terms of the Surrender at Appomattox were generous as President Lincoln wanted to eliminate any further cause for rebellion and wanted a lasting peace to come to the unified nation. The terms of Surrender at Appomattox were more than General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army could have ask for. Although crushed at having to surrender, they could not dispute the fairness of the terms of surrender. The conditions and terms of surrender had even allowed the dignity of retaining their personal swords. General Robert E. Lee accepted the terms and the two men signed the final surrender agreement in the parlor of the McLean House. The host of solemn officers looked on in silence. General Robert E. Lee shook hands with General Ulysses Grant, bowed to the other officers, and left the room with Colonel Marshall. The meeting on the Surrender at Appomattox had ended

Events following the Surrender at Appomattox: The Paroles
The conditions and terms of surrender at Appomattox included paroles. A Parole was an official document authorizing the release of a prisoner of war, based on the promise that if released he would not again take up arms against his captors. The commands of paroles of the Army of Northern Virginia following the Surrender at Appomattox read:

The within named men will not be disturbed by United States authorities
so long as they observe their parole and the laws in force where they may reside.

Events following the Surrender at Appomattox: Inventories
After the surrender terms and conditions had been agreed at  Appomattox there was a great deal of administration work to be completed. Lists or rolls of each command had to be completed and paroles issued following the Surrender at Appomattox. It was then necessary to make inventories of all the artillery, arms, ammunition, wagons, ambulances, horses, mules, harnesses, accouterments and  stores. Rolls of the all the officers and men were made in duplicate, one list was given to an officer designated by General Grant to recieve the items following the Surrender at Appomattox, the other list to an officer designated by General Lee.

 

Surrender at Appomattox

General Lee after surrender at Appomattox
After the surrender at Appomattox General Lee left the McLean house and mounted his horse to ride to the valley where his army lay  - now an army of prisoners. At his sad arrival in the valley he said to his officers "Men, we have fought through the war together; I have done my best for you; my heart is too full to say more." He rode through  the ranks and crushingly and completely overwhelmed, the starving, exhausted and defeated  Army of Northern Virginia laid down its arms. The Confederate officers were given individual paroles and each company commander had to sign a parole for the men of their commands. The arms and artillery handed over to a Union officer. The Confederate Officers were allowed to keep their side arms, personal horses. and baggage. Finally each man was allowed to return to his home, not to be disturbed by US authorities so long as they observed their paroles and the laws of the land and their states. The formalities of the surrender at Appomattox were over and the men stated their long, sad journeys home. The remaining, small isolated bands of the Confederate army all follow the same terms of surrender and the humiliating Surrender of the South would finally end in May 1865.

General Lee after surrender at Appomattox

 

Presidential Seal

 

Appomattox Court House: The McLean House - The Civil War started in his yard and ended in his parlor
The choice of the McLean house for the surrender meeting at Appomattox  was a curious coincidence. Wilmer McLean is later supposed to have said "The war began in my front yard and ended in my front parlor". By one of those strange twists of fate the first battle of the Civil War (the Battle of Bull Run) took place on the land covering the farm plantation belonging to Wilmer McLean in Manassas, Virginia. The house of Wilmer McLean in Manassas had served as Confederate headquarters. Following the outbreak of the Civil War Wilmer McLean became a sugar broker supplying the Confederate States Army and moved to south to Appomattox Court House to conduct his business away from the Union Army presence. So he could rightly say that the "American Civil War started in his front yard". His house in Appomattox Court House became the 'Surrender House' and the Civil War could rightly be referred to as having "ended in his front parlor".

Facts about the Surrender at Appomattox
The following short fact sheet provides interesting facts and information about the Surrender at Appomattox, during the American Civil War
(April 12, 1861 and continued until May 10, 1865).

Surrender at Appomattox: FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions for kids)

Facts for KidsQuestions and Answers on the Surrender at Appomattox
Surrender at Appomattox Fact 1Q. Why did Lee surrender at Appomattox?
A. General Lee had no alternative. The number of deaths and casualties could not continue indefinitely. There were few men left to replace the depleted Confederate forces. His men were starving and his supplies were cut off. The farmlands at home were suffering. Their uniforms were in rags. There shoes and boots were in tatters. The Union Blockade had prevented clothes and shoes from reaching the C.S.A. The South was unable to trade and there was little money left in the Confederacy.
 
Surrender at Appomattox Fact 2Q. Who accepted Lee's Surrender at Appomattox?
A. It was accepted by General Ulysses S. Grant on behalf of President Abraham Lincoln
 
Surrender at Appomattox Fact 3Q. What year did Lee Surrender at Appomattox?
A. The Surrender at Appomattox was made in the year of 1865. The exact date of the surrender was April 9, 1865
 
Surrender at Appomattox Fact 4Q. Who was involved at the Surrender of Appomattox?
A. At least 15 people that are known to have attended at least part of the meeting. Lt. Col. Charles Marshall accompanied General Lee. General Grant was accompanied by Lt. Col. Orville E. Babcock, Brig. Gen. Seth Williams, Lt. Col. Ely S. Parker, Lt. Col. Theodore S. Browers, Maj. Gen. Edward Ord, Lt. Col. Horace Porter, Brig. Gen. John A. Rawlins, Brig. Gen. Frederick T. Dent, Brig. Gen. John G. Barnard, Lt. Col. Adam Badeau, Brig. Gen. Rufus Ingalls and Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan.
 

Surrender at Appomattox: FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions for kids)

Surrender at Appomattox - President Abraham Lincoln Video
The article on the Surrender at Appomattox provides an overview of one of the major events in  his presidential term in office. The following Abraham Lincoln video will give you additional important facts and dates about the political events experienced by the 16th American President whose presidency spanned from March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865.

 

 

 

Surrender at Appomattox
 
Interesting Facts about Surrender at Appomattox for kids and schools
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The Surrender at Appomattox, a major event in US history
Lee and Grant at the Surrender at Appomattox
Surrender at Appomattox in the McLean house
Foreign & Domestic policies of President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln Presidency and Surrender at Appomattox for schools, homework, kids and children

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