One hundred forty-five years ago in these United States
April 6th 1865, the states in America remained divided with Federal Union troops chasing the Northern Virginia Confederates who sought to join their fleeing comrades in Richmond. General Lee’s 28,000 troops were starving and on the run through the countryside where supplies were spent.
If you were a soldier in the Confederate army, you would see some in your ranks disappear because they simply took off, trying to find their way home and away from the war. Most, however, would not break ranks and were loyal to General Lee who did all that he could to find essential supplies.
The Federal Generals were in such hot pursuit that some actually ran ahead of the enemy leaving the Confederates surrounded. Imagine the sleepless nights spent by General Lee who saw any option of escape evaporate. At this point, he knew that it would be a fight to the finish, or surrender. The decision was upon him.
In a couple of days, he would decide to spare bloodshed and to make peace once again with his fellow Americans.
Americans enjoy states rights, but must remember also that state boundaries were arbitrary in their formation, and what divides us by a line on a map, should not divide commitment to the Constitution and universal values therein.
“Apr 9, 1865:
Robert E. Lee surrendersPrevious Day April 9 Calendar Next Day
At Appomattox, Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders his 28,000 troops to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the American Civil War. Forced to abandon the Confederate capital of Richmond, blocked from joining the surviving Confederate force in North Carolina, and harassed constantly by Union cavalry, Lee had no other option.
In retreating from the Union army's Appomattox Campaign, the Army of Northern Virginia had stumbled through the Virginia countryside stripped of food and supplies. At one point, Union cavalry forces under General Philip Sheridan had actually outrun Lee's army, blocking their retreat and taking 6,000 prisoners at Sayler's Creek. Desertions were mounting daily, and by April 8 the Confederates were surrounded with no possibility of escape. On April 9, Lee sent a message to Grant announcing his willingness to surrender. The two generals met in the parlor of the Wilmer McLean home at one o'clock in the afternoon.
Lee and Grant, both holding the highest rank in their respective armies, had known each other slightly during the Mexican War and exchanged awkward personal inquiries. Characteristically, Grant arrived in his muddy field uniform while Lee had turned out in full dress attire, complete with sash and sword. Lee asked for the terms, and Grant hurriedly wrote them out. All officers and men were to be pardoned, and they would be sent home with their private property--most important, the horses, which could be used for a late spring planting. Officers would keep their side arms, and Lee's starving men would be given Union rations.
Shushing a band that had begun to play in celebration, General Grant told his officers, "The war is over. The Rebels are our countrymen again." Although scattered resistance continued for several weeks, for all practical purposes the Civil War had come to an end.”