Washington and Lee University

An Aide-De-Camp of Lee
Charles Marshall



THERE have been great events in our history. Yorktown was a great event, Saratoga was a great event, and there have been great events in our history since the war of the Revolution; but the greatest was that which occurred on April 9th, 1865, at the little village of Appomattox, when General Lee met General Grant and the question of the indissoluble union of these States passed into history, never to be revived.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of that occasion was the fact that there American soldiers met together, who dealt with each other as American soldiers. If the officers of General Grant's army had been instructed how to act; if they had learned their parts; if they had been taught by the greatest actors how to play them, how to act at a time when one of the loftiest souls that God ever sent upon earth was humbled, how to act so as to show their respect and veneration, they could not have done better than they did. They could not have done better, because they were and behaved as American soldiers; they loved their enemies and they did good to those who hated them.

I shall begin my narrative of this stirring episode with the opening of the correspondence between General Lee and General Grant.

After the disaster of Sailor's Creek,1 the Army of Northern Virginia, reduced to two corps under the command of Generals Longstreet and Gordon, moved through Farmville, where rations were issued to some of the starving troops. A close pursuit by the overwhelming army of General Grant made it necessary to remove the wagon trains before all the men could be supplied, and the remnant of the great Army of Northern Virginia, exhausted by fight and starvation, moved on the road to Appomattox Court House. On the afternoon of the 7th of April, 1865, General Grant sent to General Lee the first letter. It read:—

April 7th, 1865

General R. E. Lee, Commanding C.S.A.

The result of the last week must 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 Confederate States Army known as the Army of Northern Virginia. Very respectfully, your obedient servant

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant General

There was some difference of opinion among the general officers as to the nature of the reply to be made to General Grant's letter, some thinking it was yet possible to save the remnant of the army.2 It was greatly reduced; it was starving; but it was as brave an army as ever carried a gun, and General Lee had such confidence in it as, I believe, would have made him risk anything, if there had been any chance of success. Finally, of course under General Lee's instructions, I wrote the following answer to General Grant's letter:—

April 7th, 1865


I have received your note of this date. Though not entertaining the opinion you express of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia, I reciprocate your desire to avoid the useless effusion of blood, and therefore before considering your proposition, ask the terms you will offer on condition of its surrender. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General

To Lieut.-Gen. U. S. Grant, Commanding Armies of the United States

The next day Grant replied as follows:—

April 8th, 1865

General R. E. Lee, Commanding C.S.A.

Your note of last evening in reply to mine of same date, asking the conditions on which I will accept the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, is just received. In reply, I would say, peace being my great desire, there is but one condition that I insist on, namely, that the men and officers surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms against the Government of the United States, until properly exchanged.

I will meet you, or will designate officers to meet any officers you name for the same purpose, at any point agreeable to you, for the purpose of arranging definitely the terms upon which the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia will be received. Very respectfully, your obedient servant

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant General

It will be observed that General Grant, in this letter, manifested that delicate consideration for his great adversary which marked all his subsequent conduct towards him. He offered to have the terms of the capitulation arranged by officers to be appointed for the purpose by himself and General Lee, thus sparing the latter the pain and mortification of conducting personally the arrangements for the surrender of his army.

I have no doubt that this proposition proceeded from the sincere desire of General Grant to do all in his power to spare the feelings of General Lee, but it is not unworthy of remark that when Lord Cornwallis opened his correspondence with General Washington which ended in the surrender at Yorktown, his lordship proposed in his letter of October 17, 1781, “a cessation of hostilities for 24 hours, and that two officers may be appointed by each side to meet at Mr. Moore's house to settle terms of surrender of the posts of York and Gloucester.”

In view of this letter, and of the fact that Cornwallis declined to attend the ceremony of the surrender of his army, deputing General O'Hara to represent him on that occasion, it is very plain that his lordship shrunk from sharing with his army the humiliation of surrender.

General Grant's letter offered General Lee an opportunity to avoid the trial to which the British commander felt himself unequal. But General Lee was made of different stuff. It is not without interest to recall what General Lee's father, Light Horse Harry Lee, says of the conduct of Cornwallis at Yorktown.

In Lee's (Light Horse Harry's) Memoirs of the War, the author, who was a witness of what occurred, says:—

Every eye was turned searching for the British Commander-in-Chief, anxious to look at that man, heretofore so much the object of their dread. All were disappointed. Cornwallis held himself back from the humiliating scene, obeying emotions which his great character ought to have stifled. He had been unfortunate; not from any false step or deficiency on his part, but from the infatuated policy of his superior and the united power of his enemy brought to bear upon him alone. There was nothing with which he could reproach himself; there was nothing with which he could reproach his brave and faithful army; why not then, appear at its head in the day of its misfortune, as he had always done in the day of triumph? The British general in this instance deviated from his general line of conduct, dimming the splendour of his long and brilliant career.

Little did the father think when he wrote those words that he was marking the arduous path of duty along which his son was one day to be called upon to walk. That son was worthy of such a father and of such teaching.3

The march was continued during the 8th of April with little interruption from the enemy, and in the evening we halted near Appomattox Court House, General Lee intending to march by way of Campbell Court House, through Pittsylvania County, toward Danville, with a view of opening communication with the army of General Joseph E. Johnston, then retreating before General Sherman through North Carolina. General Lee's purpose was either to unite with General Johnston in order to attack Sherman or call Johnston to his aid in resisting Grant, whichever might be found best. The exhausted troops were halted for rest on the evening of April 8th near Appomattox Court House, and the march was ordered to be resumed at 1 o'clock A.M.

I can convey a good idea of the condition of affairs by telling my own experience. When the army halted on the night of the 8th, General Lee and his staff turned out of the road into a dense wood to seek some rest. The General had a conference with some of the principal officers, at which it was determined to try to force our way the next morning with troops of Gordon, supported by the cavalry under General Fitz Lee, the command of Longstreet bringing up the rear. With my comrades of the staff, and staff officers of Generals Longstreet and Gordon, I then sought a little much needed repose.

We lay upon the ground near the road, with our saddles for pillows, our horses, picketed near by, eating the bark of trees for want of better provender, our faces covered with the capes of our greatcoats to keep out the night air. Soon after 1 o'clock I was roused by the sound of a column of infantry marching along the road. We were so completely surrounded by the swarming forces of General Grant that at first when I woke I thought the passing column might be Federal soldiers.

I raised my head and listened intently. My doubts were quickly dispelled. I recalled the order to resume the march at that early hour and knew that the troops I heard were moving forward to endeavour to force our way through the lines of the enemy at Appomattox Court House. I soon knew that the command that was passing consisted, in part at least, of Hood's old Texas brigade.

It was called the Texas brigade, although it was at times composed in part of regiments from other states. Sometimes there was a Mississippi regiment, sometimes an Arkansas regiment, sometimes a Georgia regiment mingled with the Texans, but all the strangers called themselves Texans, and all fought like Texans.

On this occasion I recognised these troops as they passed along the road in the dead of night by hearing one of them repeat the Texan version of a passage of scripture with which I was familiar—I mean with the Texan version.

The race is not to them that's got
    The longest legs to run,
Nor the battle to that people
    That shoots the biggest gun!

This simple confession of faith assured me that the immortal brigade of Hood's Texans was marching to battle in the darkness.

Soon after they passed we were all astir and our bivouac was at an end. We made our simple toilet, consisting mainly of putting on our caps and saddling our horses. We then proceeded to look for something to satisfy our now ravenous appetites.

Somebody had a little cornmeal, and somebody else had a tin can, such as is used to hold hot water for shaving. A fire was kindled, and each man in his turn, according to rank and seniority, made a can of cornmeal gruel and was allowed to keep the can until the gruel became cool enough to drink. General Lee, who reposed, as we had done, not far from us, did not, as far as I remember, have even such refreshment as I have described. This was our last meal in the Con- federacy. Our next was taken in the United States.

As soon as we had all had our turn at the shaving can, we rode toward Appomattox Court House, when the sound of guns announced that Gordon had already begun the attempt to open the way.

He forced his way through the cavalry of the enemy only to encounter a force of infantry far superior to his own wearied and starving command. He informed General Lee that it was impossible to advance further, and it became evident that the end was at hand.

General Lee had replied to the letter of General Grant of the 8th of April:—

April 8th, 1865

To Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant, Commanding Armies of the United States

I received at a late hour your note of to-day. In 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. To be frank, I do not think the emergency has arisen to call for the surrender of this army; but as the restoration of peace should be the sole object of all, I desire to know whether your proposals will lead to that end. I cannot, therefore, meet you with a view to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia; but as far as your proposal may affect the Confederate States' forces under my command, and tend to the restoration of peace, I should be pleased to meet you at 10 A.M. to-morrow, on the old stage road to Richmond, between the picket lines of the two armies. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE, General

No reply to this letter had been received when, early on the morning of April 9, General Lee, after receiving Gordon's report, directed me to come with him and go down on the Lynchburg road to meet General Grant, expecting that he would meet him in accordance with the terms of his letter. An orderly by the name of Tucker, a soldier from Maryland and one of the bravest men that ever fought,—he was with A. P. Hill when he was killed and brought Hill's horse off the place where he sacrificed his life so unnecessarily,—4 accompanied us. The flag of truce was a white handkerchief, and Tucker rode ahead of us carrying it. General Lee and myself rode side by side until we came to our rear line, which was composed of the remnants of Longstreet's corps.

The men in the last hours of the Confederacy cheered General Lee to the echo, as they had cheered him many a time before. He waved his hand to suppress the cheering, because he was afraid the sound might attract the fire of the enemy, and we rode on through the line. Longstreet's men had thrown up breastworks, and could have held their position against a strong force. We rode on down the Lynchburg road with Tucker ahead of us, until he was halted by the skirmish line of the Federal Army. Our own skirmish line had been thrown forward and there was some fighting going on between the two bodies of the skirmishers.

As soon as Tucker was halted, General Lee directed me to go forward and seek the Federal commanding officer. I took off my sword and disarmed myself, and walked forward with a handkerchief in my hand, and an officer met me. It was Lieutenant Colonel Whittier. He was a staff officer of General Humphreys, whose division was immediately at our rear. We had a very agreeable correspondence with each other afterwards. He was an old officer of the engineer service in the United States Army, and one of the most accomplished officers in that service. I met with him and he gave me a letter from General Grant in reply to the letter that was written the day before on the subject of general pacification. General Grant said:—

April 9th, 1865

To General R. E. Lee, Commanding C.S.A.

Your note of yesterday is received. As I have no authority to treat on the subject of peace, the meeting 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 of the North entertains the same feeling. The terms upon which peace can be had are well understood. By the South laying down their arms they will hasten that most desirable event, save thousands 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, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General

Colonel Whittier gave me this letter and I walked back, I suppose about one hundred yards, to where General Lee was, and read it to him. After a few moments' reflection he said, “Well, write a letter to General Grant and ask him to meet me to deal with the question of the surrender of my army, in reply to the letter he wrote me at Farmville.” I sat down and wrote:—

April 9, 1865

Lieut-Gen. U. S. Grant, Commanding United States Armies

I received your note this morning in 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 offer contained in your letter of yesterday for that purpose. Very respectfully, your obedient servant

R. E. LEE, General

I took the letter after General Lee had signed it, and walked up to the skirmish line, and Colonel Whittier met me. I said, “Colonel, here is a letter General Lee wants forwarded to General Grant, but it requires a suspension of hostilities.”

“Well,” Colonel Whittier said, “I do not think my commanding officer has any power to suspend hostilities.”

Then I said to him, “Let him read this letter, and when he sees it he will probably find the contents of it of a nature to justify him in taking authority to suspend.”

He went away with the letter and came back in about five minutes. His commanding officer must have been very near. We were in very thick woods into which I could not see plainly, but the skirmish line was all round.

He told me that he had reported my request that hostilities be suspended pending the correspondence, but that he had been directed to say that an attack had been ordered and that the officer in command of the force in our rear had no discretion. He added that General Grant had left General Meade some time before, and that General Lee's letter could not reach him in time to receive orders as to the intended attack.

I expressed my regret, and again asked him to request the officer commanding the troops then moving to the attack to read General Lee's letter to General Grant, saying that perhaps that officer would feel authorized under the circumstances to suspend the movement and avoid the useless sacrifice of life.

I have said that as General Lee passed through his rear guard on his way to the place where this conference took place the men cheered him as of old. They were the flower of the old Army of Northern Virginia, and I felt quite sure that if the officer commanding the advancing Federal troops should consider himself bound by his orders to refuse my request for a suspension of hostilities until General Lee's letter could reach General Grant, the rear guard of the Army of Northern Virginia would secure all the time necessary.

What occurred at that time I never heard till long after the war. General Meade, who was commanding the troops approaching us at that time, had been sick, and he was some two miles to the rear of the troops that were attacking us or about to attack us.

General Horace Porter told me several years afterwards, at a meeting of the Army of the Potomac, that when Whittier brought back the letter to his commanding officer, whose name I do not recall, a staff officer was sent at once to General Meade, who was lying in his ambulance, indisposed. Porter told me—I may possibly make a little error, and I certainly do not want to make one to the discredit of General Porter—my recollection is that General Porter told me that he himself went back and pulled General Meade out of his ambulance and told him what was going to happen. General Meade immediately rode forward and joined the troops that were advancing to attack our rear guard.5

Whittier came back and told me that General Meade had come on the ground and that he had taken the liberty to suspend the attack until about 12 o'clock. I think this was after 10 o'clock. I told him I was glad to hear it; but he said General Grant was about four miles away—that he had gone round on our right—and that an officer had been sent to carry General Lee's letter to him. Just after Meade had given his order suspending operations, we heard guns in front and General Lee mounted his horse, rode forward rapidly, and got right up in front of Appomattox Court House in time to see General Fitz Lee bring in about two hundred prisoners; and that was the last fighting that was done in the war. Dearing was killed there, and I think Fitz Lee captured about two hundred prisoners and four pieces of artillery.

As soon as we arrived we stopped Fitz's activities and told him to be a good boy and not fight any more. Then we went down the slope of the hill on the other side of which stands Appomattox Court House. There was a bridge across a stream that ran at the foot of the hill, and we stopped on our side of the bridge, and, down near the foot of the hill, we made a little couch for General Lee under an apple tree. We put some rails down there, spread some blankets over them, and General Lee, who had been in the saddle all night long and who was very much fatigued, lay down and went to sleep. We stayed about him for an hour, perhaps, and then all saw an officer coming over the side of the hill from Appomattox Court House with a white flag—an officer with an orderly. I reported to General Lee that somebody was coming with a flag of truce, and he told me to go out and meet him. I went out and met Colonel Babcock, who was an officer on Grant's staff. Babcock told me that General Grant had received General Lee's letter which had been sent away around to him, and was coming on the road to Appomattox Court House. He said he was ordered to ask General Lee to appoint a place of meeting either in our own lines or in the Federal lines, whichever was preferable.

Colonel Babcock was then conducted to General Lee and delivered him the following letter:—

April 9, 1865

GENERAL R. E. LEE, Commanding C.S.A.—

Your note of this date is but this moment (11:59 A.M.) received. In consequence of my having passed from the Richmond and Lynchburg road to the Farmville and Lynchburg road, I am at this writing about four miles west of Walker's church, and will push forward to the front for the purpose of meeting you. Notice sent to me on this road where you wish the interview to take place will meet me.

U. S. GRANT, Lieut. General

General Lee got up and talked with Babcock a little while, and at last he called me and told me to get ready to go with him. I was in a very dilapidated state and I had to make some preparation before I could go. My friend Colonel Henry Young, of Charleston, who was Judge Advocate General of the Army, had a dress sword which he let me have. I had a very shabby sword that General Stuart had given me, one that he took from a Yankee, as we called them, on the field of battle. He gave it me and I have got it yet. I did n't care to wear that plain thing, so I borrowed Young's sword, which was very handsome. He also had a pair of gauntlets, a thing I did n't possess, and I put them on. He also lent me a clean shirt collar. I forget whether he gave me anything else or not. Then I mounted my horse and we started off General Lee, Colonel Babcock, Colonel Babcock's orderly, one of our orderlies, and myself.

We struck up the hill towards Appomattox Court House. There was a man named McLean who used to live on the first battle field of Manassas, at a house about a mile from Manassas Junction. He did n't like the war, and having seen the first battle of Manas- sas, he thought he would get away where there wouldn't be any more fighting, so he moved down to Appo- mattox Court House. General Lee told me to go for- ward and find a house where he could meet General Grant, and of all people, whom should I meet but McLean. I rode up to him and said, “Can you show me a house where General Lee and General Grant can meet together?” He took me into a house that was all dilapidated and that had no furniture in it. I told him it would n't do. Then he said, “Maybe my house will do!” He lived in a very comfortable house, and I told him I thought that would suit. I had taken the orderly along with me, and I sent him back to bring General Lee and Babcock, who were coming on behind. I went into the house and sat down, and after a while General Lee and Babcock came in. Colonel Babcock told his orderly that he was to meet General Grant, who was coming on the road, and turn him in when he came along. So General Lee, Babcock and myself sat down in McLean's parlour and talked in the most friendly and affable way.

In about half an hour we heard horses, and the first thing I knew General Grant walked into the room. There were with him General Sheridan, General Ord, Colonel Badeau, General Porter, Colonel Parker, and quite a number of other officers whose names I do not recall.

General Lee was standing at the end of the room opposite the door when General Grant walked in. General Grant had on a sack coat, a loose fatigue coat, but he had no side arms. He looked as though he had had a pretty hard time. He had been riding and his clothes were somewhat dusty and a little soiled. He walked up to General Lee and Lee recognized him at once. He had known him in the Mexican war. General Grant greeted him in the most cordial manner, and talked about the weather and other things in a very friendly way. Then General Grant brought up his officers and introduced them to General Lee.

I remember that General Lee asked for General Lawrence Williams, of the Army of the Potomac. That very morning General Williams had sent word by somebody to General Lee that Custis Lee, who had been captured at Sailor Creek and was reported killed, was not hurt, and General Lee asked General Grant where General Williams was, and if he could not send for him to come and see him. General Grant sent somebody out for General Williams, and when he came, General Lee thanked him for having sent him word about the safety of his son.

After a very free talk General Lee said to General Grant: “General, I have come to meet you in accordance with my letter to you this morning, to treat about the surrender of my army, and I think the best way would be for you to put your terms in writing.” General Grant said: “Yes; I believe it will.” So a Colonel Parker, General Grant's Aide-de-Camp, brought a little table over from a corner of the room, and General Grant wrote the terms and conditions of surrender on what we call field note paper, that is, a paper that makes a copy at the same time as the note is written. After he had written it, he took it over to General Lee.

General Lee was sitting at the side of the room; he rose and went to meet General Grant to take that paper and read it over. When he came to the part in which only public property was to be surrendered, and the officers were to retain their side arms and personal baggage, General Lee said: “That will have a very happy effect.”

General Lee then said to General Grant: “General, our cavalrymen furnish their own horses; they are not Government horses, some of them may be, but of course you will find them out any property that is public property, you will ascertain that, but it is nearly all private property, and these men will want to plough ground and plant corn.”


General Grant answered that as the terms were written, only the officers were permitted to take their private property, but almost immediately he added that he supposed that most of the men in the ranks were small farmers, and that the United States did not want their horses. He would give orders to allow every man who claimed to own a horse or mule to take the animal home.

General Lee having again said that this would have an excellent effect, once more looked over the letter, and being satisfied with it, told me to write a reply. General Grant told Colonel Parker to copy his letter, which was written in pencil, and put it in ink. Colonel Parker took the table and carried it back to a corner of the room, leaving General Grant and General Lee facing each other and talking together. There was no ink in McLean's inkstand, except, some thick stuff that was very much like pitch, but I had a screw boxwood inkstand that I always carried with me in a little satchel that I had at my side, and I gave that to Colonel Parker, and he copied General Grant's letter with the aid of my inkstand and my pen.

There was another table right against the wall, and a sofa next to it. I was sitting on the arm of the sofa near the table, and General Sheridan was on the sofa next to me. While Colonel Parker was copying the letter. General Sheridan said to me, “This is very pretty country.”

I said, “General, I have n't seen it by daylight. All my observations have been made by night and I have n't seen the country at all myself.”

He laughed at my remark, and while we were talking I heard General Grant say this: “Sheridan, how many rations have you?” General Sheridan said: “How many do you want?” and General Grant said, “General Lee has about a thousand or fifteen hundred of our people prisoners, and they are faring the same as his men, but he tells me his have n't anything. Can you send them some rations?”

“Yes,” he answered. They had gotten some of our rations, having captured a train.

General Grant said: “How many can you send?” and he replied “Twenty-five thousand rations.”

General Grant asked if that would be enough, and General Lee replied “Plenty; plenty; an abundance;” and General Grant said to Sheridan “Order your commissary to send to the Confederate Commissary twenty-five thousand rations for our men and his men.”

After a while Colonel Parker got through with his copy of General Grant's letter and I sat down to write a reply. I began it in the usual way: “I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of such a date,” and then went on to say the terms were satisfactory. I took the letter over to General Lee, and he read it and said: “Don't say, ‘I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of such a date’; he is here; just say, ‘I accept these terms.’ ” Then I wrote:—


April 9, 1865

I received your letter of this date containing the terms of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the 8th instant, they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect.

Then General Grant signed his letter, and I turned over my letter to General Lee and he signed it. Parker handed me General Grant's letter, and I handed him General Lee's reply, and the surrender was accomplished. There was no theatrical display about it. It was in itself perhaps the greatest tragedy that ever occurred in the history of the world, but it was the simplest, plainest, and most thoroughly devoid of any attempt at effect, that you can imagine.

The story of General Grant returning General Lee's sword to him is absurd, because General Grant proposed in his letter that the officers of the Confederate Army should retain their side-arms. Why, in the name of common, sense, anybody should imagine that General Lee, after receiving a letter which said that he should retain his side-arms, yet should offer to surrender his sword to General Grant, is hard to understand. The only thing of the kind that occurred in the whole course of the transaction—which occupied perhaps an hour—was this: General Lee was in full uniform. He had on the handsomest uniform I ever saw him wear; and he had on a sword with a gold, a very handsome gold and leather, scabbard that had been presented to him by English ladies. General Grant excused himself to General Lee towards the close of the conversation between them, for not having his side arms with him; he told him that when he got his letter he was about four miles from his wagon in which his arms and uniform were, and he said that he had thought that General Lee would rather receive him as he was, than be detained, while he sent back to get his sword and uniform. General Lee told him he was very much obliged to him and was very glad indeed that he had n't done it.6

After that a general conversation took place of a most agreeable character. I cannot describe it. I cannot give you any idea of the kindness, and generosity, and magnanimity of those men. When I think of it, it brings tears into my eyes.

After having this general conversation we took leave of General Grant, and went off to appoint commissioners to attend to the details of the surrender.

The next day General Grant sent a message to General Lee asking him to meet him. I did not accompany him on that occasion, but I think it was then he met General Grant under that famous apple tree, because I saw some Federal soldiers cutting down the tree the next day. General Lee told me when he came back that General Grant asked him if he would go and meet Mr. Lincoln. He said he did not know where Mr. Lincoln was. He might be at Richmond, at City Point, at Fortress Monroe, or in Washington, he could not tell where but he said, “I want you to meet him. Whatever you and he agree upon will be satisfactory to the reasonable people of the North and South.” He said: “If you and Mr. Lincoln will agree upon terms, your influence in the South will make the Southern people accept what you accept, and Mr. Lincoln's influence in the North will make reasonable people of the North accept what he accepts, and all my influence will be added to Mr. Lincoln's.”

By Courtesy of Harper and Brothers

General Lee was very much pleased and would have been delighted to do anything in the world that he could to bring about a pacification, but he said: “General Grant, you know that I am a soldier of the Confederate Army, and I cannot meet Mr. Lincoln. I do not know what Mr. Davis is going to do, and I cannot undertake to make any terms of that kind.”

General Grant then said he would go himself at once, and while he understood the reasons of General Lee's position, he regretted that he could not go.

I think myself, and have always thought, that if General Lee and Mr. Lincoln would have met as General Grant proposed, we could have had immediate restoration of peace and brotherhood among the people of these States.

There remained a last duty to perform. On the night of April 9th after our return from McLean's house General Lee sat with several of us at a fire in front of his tent, and after some conversation about the army and the events of the day in which his feelings towards his men were strongly expressed, he told me to prepare an order to the troops.

Facsimile of Lee's last order, from a copy in the handwriting of
Colonel Marshall, believed to be the original copy signed by Lee.

The next day it was raining and many persons were coming and going, so that I was unable to write without interruption until about 10 o'clock, when General Lee finding that the order had not been prepared, directed me to get into his ambulance, which stood near his tent, and placed an orderly to prevent anyone from approaching us. I made a draft in pencil and took it to General Lee who struck out a paragraph, which he said would tend to keep alive the feeling existing between the North and the South, and made one or two other changes. I then returned to the ambulance, recopied the order and gave it to a clerk in the office of the Adjutant General to write in ink.

After the first draft of the order had been made and signed by General Lee, other copies were made for transmission to the corps commanders and the staff of the army. All these copies were signed by the General and a good many persons sent other copies which they had made or procured and obtained his signature. In this way many of the orders had the General's name signed as if they were originals.

[The facsimile of the farewell order has been kindly supplied me by Mr. Charles A. Marshall. It was made from the copy found in his father's papers, which copy he believes to be the original one signed by Lee. Strictly, the original copy of an order is that signed by the issuing authority. There appears to be little doubt that Colonel Marshall's first draft which was amended by Lee has disappeared, but as this draft was not signed by Lee it cannot be considered as the original of the order.

The copy here reproduced is in Colonel Marshall's handwriting and is believed by his family to be his second pencil draft which was signed by Lee and then sent to the clerk to be copied. There is no doubt that Colonel Marshall thought that he had the original in his possession, but he appears also to have been under the impression that he had loaned the original and that it had not been returned to him. After Colonel Mar- shall's death the copy now in Mr. Charles Marshall's hands was found, and it was believed by the family that after all the original had been returned. This draft was retouched in ink in 1909, but Mr. Marshall does not remember if it was in ink or in pencil, for it was so badly faded as to make it difficult to read. If it was not in pencil it is not the original, and there is therefore some element of doubt. But the fact remains that Colonel Marshall frequently spoke in his lifetime of having had the original in his possession, and never referred to his possession of a second copy. It seems highly improbable that he should have retained for himself two copies of so precious a document, and equally improbable that he should not have mentioned the fact had he done so.

There is another claimant to the possession of the original in Mr. B, Bouldin. Mr. Bouldin's copy is in the handwriting of his wife's brother, William L. Ward, whom he believes to have been a member of Lee's headquarters staff, and the clerk to whom Colonel Marshall gave his original draft to have it copied in ink and signed by General Lee. There is no record that Mr. Ward was attached to the headquarters staff, but in the circumstances of the time that is not conclusive. His name may have been overlooked. It is not, however, very probable that a clerk should have been permitted to retain the original of an important order signed by the Commander in Chief. There is, however, other evidence which seems to me more conclusive. There is a difference in the wording of Mr. Marshall's and Mr. Bouldin's copies. In the former the second sentence in the third paragraph runs:—“You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed.” In the latter the corresponding sentence is:—“you will take with you the consciousness of duty faithfully performed.” Now, having spent nearly two years in examining Colonel Marshall's papers and having read most of his drafts of Lee's dispatches, I have become familiar with his style, and I am convinced that what he wrote was the sentence as it is in the copy which his son possesses. Further, while it is not unnatural that a copyist should, in making his transcript, abbreviate what appeared to him redundant, it is not natural that he should add words which are not essential to the sense of the original. On these grounds it seems to me to be certain that Mr. Bouldin's is a later copy, and I am of opinion that the balance of evidence is in favour of Mr. Marshall's contention that he possesses the original copy of the famous order.]