this done each man be
allowed return to their homes
not to be disturbed
I have long been fascinated by the United States Civil War.
Fascinated by the romance of it.
Fascinated by the accounts of battles that read along the lines of, “Our losses were small. 30 killed and 300 wounded.”
I watch the news and see what 30 killed look like today.
How was any less 160 years ago.
More and more (not or less) takes the romance out of it.
Today, April 9th, is the anniversary of the surrender of Confederate forces at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.
When asked for terms of surrender, General US (the initials famous for Unconditional Surrender or pretty much, ‘You admit we won and you have to take what comes’) Grant wrote in his own hand:
APPOMATTOX C. H., VA., Ap 9th, 1865. GEN. R. E. LEE, Comd'g C. S. A. GEN: In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate. One copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers 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 parked and stacked, and turned over to the officer 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 return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside. Very respectfully, U. S. GRANT, Lt. Gen.
And that was that.
After 4 years of doing there best to kill each other, Grant told the other side to:
Give their paroles.
Give up their arms.
Did Grant include a warning or a threat?
He included a promise.
A promise that once they gave their parole, gave up their arms and got home they would not to be disturbed by United States authority.
He handed it the other General who, after a sort discussion of plow horses, signed it and said, “. . . that this would have a happy effect upon his army.”
Grant signed it.
End of negotitions.
End of a war.