archive-org.com » ORG » H » HISTORY-WORLD.ORG

Total: 1156

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • The American Civil War, Tubman, Harriet (1820?-1913)
    other slaves out of bondage In 1851 she returned for her husband but found he had remarried Tubman worked closely with the Underground Railroad Often she left fugitives in the care of other conductors after leading them part of the way herself She maintained strict discipline during the perilous journeys to the North If a runaway lagged behind or lost faith and wished to turn back she forced him on at gunpoint Before the Civil War she freed her parents and most of her brothers and sisters as well as hundreds of other slaves Slaveowners were constantly on the lookout for Tubman and offered large rewards for her capture but they never succeeded in seizing her or any of the slaves she helped escape during her work for the Underground Railroad Much later in life she proudly recalled I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger Tubman supported her parents and worked to raise money for her missions into the South She spoke at abolitionist meetings and at women s rights assemblies often concealing her name for protection from slave hunters Her forceful leadership led the white abolitionist John Brown to refer to her admiringly as General Tubman She helped Brown plan his October 1859 raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry W Va and promised that many of the slaves she had freed would join him Only illness prevented her from fighting at Brown s side during the raid itself Civil War Roles During the Civil War Tubman served the Union Army She nursed and cooked for white soldiers for example as well as for sick and starving blacks who sought protection behind Union lines She acted as both a scout and a spy often bravely leading Union raiding parties into Confederate

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/tubman.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The American Civil War, The slavery controversy
    to epitomize this culture The war involved Georgians at every level Coastal attacks and sporadic raids into the state were a prelude to the attack on Atlanta in the late summer of 1864 when General William T Sherman launched his March to the Sea In mid November Sherman initiated a plan to cut a 50 mile wide swath across Georgia Starting from Atlanta the left wing moved along the route of the Georgia Railroad to Madison and Milledgeville while the right wing went overland to the southeast leaving a broad belt of almost total destruction The aftermath of the Civil War has been seen as a return to essentially frontier conditions in Georgia Georgians no longer enjoyed mastery over their environment and new modes of social and economic organization emerged in efforts to regain such mastery Agriculture still appeared to hold Georgia s most promising future but the relationship between land and labor was changed dramatically After some experimentation with various contractual arrangements for farm labor following emancipation the system of sharecropping or paying the owner for use of the land with some portion of the crop became a generally accepted institution in Georgia and throughout the South The system

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/slavery_controversy_and_the_civi.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The American Civil War, Frederick Douglass
    But Auld declared that learning would make him unfit for slavery and Frederick was forced to continue his education surreptitiously with the aid of schoolboys in the street Upon the death of his master he was returned to the plantation as a field hand at 16 Later he was hired out in Baltimore as a ship caulker He tried to escape with three others in 1833 but the plot was discovered before they could get away Five years later however he fled to New York City and then to New Bedford Mass where he worked as a labourer for three years eluding slave hunters by changing his name to Douglass At a Nantucket Mass antislavery convention in 1841 Douglass was invited to describe his feelings and experiences under slavery These extemporaneous remarks were so poignant and naturally eloquent that he was unexpectedly catapulted into a new career as agent for the Massachusetts Anti Slavery Society From then on despite heckling and mockery insult and violent personal attack Douglass never flagged in his devotion to the Abolitionist cause To counter skeptics who doubted that such an articulate spokesman could ever have been a slave Douglass felt impelled to write his autobiography in 1845 revised and completed in 1882 as Life and Times of Frederick Douglass Douglass account became a classic in American literature as well as a primary source about slavery from the bondsman s viewpoint To avoid recapture by his former owner whose name and location he had given in the narrative Douglass left on a two year speaking tour of Great Britain and Ireland Abroad Douglass helped to win many new friends for the Abolition Movement and to cement the bonds of humanitarian reform between the continents Douglass returned with funds to purchase his freedom and also to start

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/frederick_douglass.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The American Civil War, Slave Survey
    shore quietly lying at anchor with her small row boat dancing at her stern was a large sloop the Sally Lloyd called by that name in honor of the favorite daughter of the Colonel These two objects the sloop and mill as I remember awakened thoughts ideas and wondering Then here were a great many houses human habitations full of the mysteries of life at every stage of it There was the little red house up the road occupied by Mr Sevier the overseer a little nearer to my old master s stood a long low rough building literally alive with slaves of all ages sexes conditions sizes and colors This was called the long quarter Perched upon a hill east of our house was a tall dilapidated old brick building the architectural dimensions of which proclaimed its creation for a different purpose now occupied by slaves in a similar manner to the long quarters Besides these there were numerous other slave houses and huts scattered around in the neighborhood every nook and corner of which were completely occupied Old master s house a long brick building plain but substantial was centrally located and was an independent establishment Besides these houses there were barns stables store houses tobacco houses blacksmith shops wheelwright shops cooper shops but above all there stood the grandest building my young eyes had ever beheld called by everyone on the plantation the great house This was occupied by Col Lloyd and his family It was surrounded by numerous and variously shaped out buildings There were kitchens wash houses dairies summer houses green houses hen houses turkey houses pigeon houses and arbors of many sizes and devices all neatly painted or whitewashed interspersed with grand old trees ornamental and primitive which afforded delightful shade in summer and imparted to the scene a high degree of stately beauty The great house itself was a large white wooden building with wings on three sides of it In front a broad portico extended the entire length of the building supported by a long range of columns which gave to the Colonel s home an air of great dignity and grandeur It was a treat to my young and gradually opening mind to behold this elaborate exhibition of wealth power and beauty The carriage entrance to the house was by a large gate more than a quarter of a mile distant The intermediate space was a beautiful lawn very neatly kept and cared for It was dotted thickly over with trees and flowers The road or lane from the gate to the great house was richly paved with white pebbles from the beach and in its course formed a complete circle around the lawn Outside this select enclosure were parks as about the residences of the English nobility where rabbits deer and other wild game might be seen peering and playing about with none to molest them or make them afraid The tops of the stately poplars were often covered with red winged blackbirds making all nature vocal with the joyous life and beauty of their wild warbling notes These all belonged to me as well as to Col Edward Lloyd and whether they did or not I greatly enjoyed them Not far from the great house were the stately mansions of the dead Lloyds a place of somber aspect Vast tombs embowered beneath the weeping willow and the fir tree told of the generations of the family as well as their wealth Superstition was rife among the slaves about this family burying ground Strange sights had been seen there by some of the older slaves and I was often compelled to hear stories of shrouded ghosts riding on great black horses and of balls of fire which had been seen to fly there at midnight and of startling and dreadful sounds that had been repeatedly heard Slaves knew enough of the Orthodox theology at the time to consign all bad slaveholders to hell and they often fancied such persons wishing themselves back again to wield the lash Tales of sights and sounds strange and terrible connected with the huge black tombs were a great security to the grounds about them for few of the slaves had the courage to approach them during the day time It was a dark gloomy and forbidding place and it was difficult to feel that the spirits of the sleeping dust there deposited reigned with the blest in the realms of eternal peace Here was transacted the business to twenty or thirty different farms which with the slaves upon them numbering in all not less than a thousand all belonged to Col Lloyd Each farm was under the management of an overseer whose word was law Mr Lloyd at this time was very rich His slaves alone numbering as I have said not less than a thousand were an immense fortune and though scarcely a month passed without the sale of one or more lots to the Georgia traders there was no apparent diminution in the number of his human stock The selling of any to the State of Georgia was a sore and mournful event to those left behind as well as to the victims themselves The reader has already been informed of the handicrafts carried on here by the slaves Uncle Toney was the blacksmith Uncle Harry the cartwright and Uncle Abel was the shoemaker and these had assistants in their several departments These mechanics were called Uncles by all the younger slaves not because they really sustained that relationship to any but according to plantation etiquette as a mark of respect due from the younger to the older slaves Strange and even ridiculous as it may seem among a people so uncultivated and with so many stern trials to look in the face there is not to be found among any people a more rigid enforcement of the law of respect to elders than is maintained among them I set this down

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/a_general_survey_of_the_slave_pl.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Black Regiments in the American Civil War
    reconsidering the ban As a result on July 17 1862 Congress passed the Second Confiscation and Militia Act freeing slaves who had masters in the Confederate Army Two days later slavery was abolished in the territories of the United States and on July 22 President Lincoln presented the preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his Cabinet After the Union Army turned back Lee s first invasion of the North at Antietam MD and the Emancipation Proclamation was subsequently announced black recruitment was pursued in earnest Volunteers from South Carolina Tennessee and Massachusetts filled the first authorized black regiments Recruitment was slow until black leaders such as Frederick Douglass encouraged black men to become soldiers to ensure eventual full citizenship Two of Douglass s own sons contributed to the war effort Volunteers began to respond and in May 1863 the Government established the Bureau of Colored Troops to manage the burgeoning numbers of black soldiers By the end of the Civil War roughly 179 000 black men 10 of the Union Army served as soldiers in the U S Army and another 19 000 served in the Navy Nearly 40 000 black soldiers died over the course of the war 30 000 of infection or disease Black soldiers served in artillery and infantry and performed all non combat support functions that sustain an army as well Black carpenters chaplains cooks guards laborers nurses scouts spies steamboat pilots surgeons and teamsters also contributed to the war cause There were nearly 80 black commissioned officers Black women who could not formally join the Army nonetheless served as nurses spies and scouts the most famous being Harriet Tubman who scouted for the 2d South Carolina Volunteers Because of prejudice against them black units were not used in combat as extensively as they might

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/black_regiments.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The American Civil War, James Longstreet
    Forrest C S A Lee Monument Gettysburg George Meade Staff The dead U S Grant J Davis Joshua L Chamberlain Robert E Lee Abraham Lincoln James Longstreet James McClellan wife Union soldiers 1862 Devil s Den Gettysburg The wheat field

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/images_from_the_american_civil_w.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The American Civil War, James Longstreet
    Secession Map

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/secession_map.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • The American Civil War, The End: Appomattox
    on to talk at some length in a very pleasant vein about the prospects of peace Lee was evidently anxious to proceed to the formal work of the surrender and he brought the subject up again by saying I presume General Grant we have both carefully considered the proper steps to be taken and I would suggest that you commit to writing the terms you have proposed so that they may be formally acted upon Very well replied General Grant I will write them out And calling for his manifold order book he opened it on the table before him and proceeded to write the terms The leaves had been so prepared that three impressions of the writing were made He wrote very rapidly and did not pause until he had finished the sentence ending with officers appointed by me to receive them Then he looked toward Lee and his eyes seemed to be resting on the handsome sword that hung at that officer s side He said afterward that this set him to thinking that it would be an unnecessary humiliation to require the officers to surrender their swords and a great hardship to deprive them of their personal baggage and horses and after a short pause he wrote the sentence This will not embrace the side arms of the officers nor their private horses or baggage When he had finished the letter he called Colonel afterward General Ely S Parker one of the military secretaries on the staff to his side and looked it over with him and directed him as they went along to interline six or seven words and to strike out the word their which had been repeated When this had been done he handed the book to General Lee and asked him to read over the letter It was as follows APPOMATTOX CT H VA April 9 1865 GENERAL R E LEE Commanding C S A GENERAL In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia 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 to be 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 to 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 officers 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 his home not to be disturbed by the United States authorities so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside Very respectfully U S GRANT Lieutenant General Lee took it and laid it on the table beside him while he drew from his pocket a pair of steel rimmed spectacles and wiped the glasses carefully with his handkerchief Then he crossed his legs adjusted the spectacles very slowly and deliberately took up the draft of the letter and proceeded to read it attentively It consisted of two pages When he reached the top line of the second page he looked up and said to General Grant After the words until properly the word exchanged seems to be omitted You doubtless intended to use that word Why yes said Grant I thought I had put in the word exchanged I presumed it had been omitted inadvertently continued Lee and with your permission I will mark where it should be inserted Certainly Grant replied Lee felt in his pocket as if searching for a pencil but did not seem to be able to find one Seeing this and happening to be standing close to him I handed him my pencil He took it and laying the paper on the table noted the interlineation During the rest of the interview he kept twirling this pencil in his fingers and occasionally tapping the top of the table with it When he handed it back it was carefully treasured by me as a memento of the occasion When Lee came to the sentence about the officers side arms private horses and baggage he showed for the first time during the reading of the letter a slight change of countenance and was evidently touched by this act of generosity It was doubtless the condition mentioned to which he particularly alluded when he looked toward General Grant as he finished reading and said with some degree of warmth in his manner This will have a very happy effect upon my army General Grant then said Unless you have some suggestions to make in regard to the form in which I have stated the terms I will have a copy of the letter made in ink and sign it There is one thing I would like to mention Lee replied after a short pause The cavalrymen and artillerists own their own horses in our army Its organization in this respect differs from that of the United States This expression attracted the notice of our officers present as showing how firmly the conviction was grounded in his mind that we were two distinct countries He continued I would like to understand whether these men will be permitted to retain their horses You will find that the terms as written do not allow this General Grant replied only the officers are permitted to take their private property Lee read over the second page of the letter again and then said No I see the terms do not allow it that is clear His face showed plainly that he was quite anxious to have this concession made and Grant said very promptly and without giving Lee time to make a direct request Well the subject is quite new to me Of course I did not know that any private soldiers owned their animals but I think this will be the last battle of the war I sincerely hope so and that the surrender of this army will be followed soon by that of all the others and I take it that most of the men in the ranks are small farmers and as the country has been so raided by the two armies it is doubtful whether they will be able to put in a crop to carry themselves and their families through the next winter without the aid of the horses they are now riding and I will arrange it in this way I will not change the terms as now written but I will instruct the officers I shall appoint to receive the paroles to let all the men who claim to own a horse or mule take the animals home with them to work their little farms This expression has been quoted in various forms and has been the subject of some dispute I give the exact words used Lee now looked greatly relieved and though anything but a demonstrative man he gave every evidence of his appreciation of this concession and said This will have the best possible effect upon the men It will be very gratifying and will do much toward conciliating our people He handed the draft of the terms back to General Grant who called Colonel T S Bowers of the staff to him and directed him to make a copy in ink Bowers was a little nervous and he turned the matter over to Colonel afterward General Parker whose handwriting presented a better appearance than that of any one else on the staff Parker sat down to write at the table which stood against the rear side of the room Wilmer McLean s domestic resources in the way of ink now became the subject of a searching investigation but it was found that the contents of the conical shaped stoneware inkstand which he produced appeared to be participating in the general breaking up and had disappeared Colonel Marshall now came to the rescue and pulled out of his pocket a small boxwood inkstand which was put at Parker s service so that after all we had to fall back upon the resources of the enemy in furnishing the stage properties for the final scene in the memorable military drama Lee in the meantime had directed Colonel Marshall to draw up for his signature a letter of acceptance of the terms of surrender Colonel Marshall wrote out a draft of such a letter making it quite formal beginning with I have the honor to reply to your communication etc General Lee took it and after reading it over very carefully directed that these formal expressions be stricken out and that the letter be otherwise shortened He afterward went over it again and seemed to change some words and then told the colonel to make a final copy in ink When it came to providing the paper it was found we had the only supply of that important ingredient in the recipe for surrendering an army so we gave a few pages to the colonel The letter when completed read as follows HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA April 9th 1865 LIEUTENANT GENERAL U S GRANT GENERAL I received your letter of this date containing the terms of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia as proposed by you As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the 8th inst they are accepted I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect R E LEE General While the letters were being copied General Grant introduced the general officers who had entered and each member of the staff to General Lee The General shook hands with General Seth Williams who had been his adjutant when Lee was superintendent at West Point some years before the war and gave his hand to some of the other officers who had extended theirs but to most of those who were introduced he merely bowed in a dignified and formal manner He did not exhibit the slightest change of features during this ceremony until Colonel Parker of our staff was presented to him Parker was a full blooded Indian and the reigning Chief of the Six Nations When Lee saw his swarthy features he looked at him with evident surprise and his eyes rested on him for several seconds What was passing in his mind probably no one ever knew but the natural surmise was that he at first mistook Parker for a Negro and was struck with astonishment to find that the commander of the Union armies had one of that race on his personal staff Lee did not utter a word while the introductions were going on except to Seth Williams with whom he talked quite cordially Williams at one time referred in rather jocose a manner to a circumstance which occurred during their former service together as if he wanted to say something in a good natured way to break up the frigidity of the conversation but Lee was in no mood for pleasantries and he did not unbend or even relax the fixed sternness of his features His only response to the allusion was a slight inclination of the head General Lee now took the initiative again in leading the conversation back into business channels He said I have a thousand or more of your men as prisoners General Grant a number of them officers whom we have required to march along with us for several days I shall be glad to send them into your lines as soon as it can be arranged for I have no provisions for them I have indeed nothing for my own men They have been living for the last few days principally upon parched corn and we are badly in need of both rations and forage I telegraphed to Lynchburg directing several train loads of rations to be sent on by rail from there and when they arrive I shall be glad to have the present wants of my men supplied from them At this remark all eyes turned toward Sheridan for he had captured these trains with his cavalry the night before near Appomattox Station General Grant replied I should like to have our men sent within our lines as soon as possible I will take steps at once to have your army supplied with rations but I am sorry we have no forage for the animals We have had to depend upon the country for our supply of forage Of about how many men does your present force consist Indeed I am not able to say Lee answered after a slight pause My losses in killed and wounded have been exceedingly heavy and besides there have been many stragglers and some deserters All my reports and public papers and indeed my own private letters had to be destroyed on the march to prevent them from falling into the hands of your people Many companies are entirely without officers and I have not seen any returns for several days so that I have no means of ascertaining our present strength General Grant had taken great pains to have a daily estimate made of the enemy s forces from all the data that could be obtained and judging it to be about 25 000 at this time he said Suppose I send over 25 000 rations do you think that will be a sufficient supply I think it will be ample remarked Lee and added with considerable earnestness of manner and it will be a great relief I assure you General Grant now turned to his chief commissary Colonel now General M R Morgan who was present and directed him to arrange for issuing the rations The number of officers and men surrendered was over 28 000 As to General Grant s supplies he had ordered the army on starting out to carry twelve days rations This was the twelfth and last day of the campaign Grant s eye now fell upon Lee s sword again and it seemed to remind him of the absence of his own and by way of explanation he said to Lee I started out from my camp several days ago without my sword and as I have not seen my headquarters baggage since I have been riding about without any side arms I have generally worn a sword however as little as possible only during the actual operations of a campaign I am in the habit of wearing mine most of the time remarked Lee I wear it invariably when I am among my troops moving about through the army General Sheridan now stepped up to General Lee and said that when he discovered some of the Confederate troops in motion during the morning which seemed to be a violation of the truce he had sent him Lee a couple of notes protesting against this act and as he had not had time to copy them he would like to have them long enough to make copies Lee took the notes out of the breast pocket of his coat and handed them to Sheridan with a few words expressive of regret that the circumstance had occurred and intimating that it must have been the result of some misunderstanding After a little general conversation had been indulged in by those present the two letters were signed and delivered and the parties prepared to separate Lee before parting asked Grant to notify Meade of the surrender fearing that fighting might break out on that front and lives be uselessly lost This request was complied with and two Union officers were sent through the enemy s lines as the shortest route to Meade some of Lee s officers accompanying them to prevent their being interfered with At a little before 4 o clock General Lee shook hands with General Grant bowed to the other officers and with Colonel Marshall left the room One after another we followed and passed out to the porch Lee signaled to his orderly to bring up his horse and while the animal was being bridled the general stood on the lowest step and gazed sadly in the direction of the valley beyond where his army lay now an army of prisoners He smote his hands together a number of times in an absent sort of a way seemed not to see the group of Union officers in the yard who rose respectfully at his approach and appeared unconscious of everything about him All appreciated the sadness that overwhelmed him and he had the personal sympathy of every one who beheld him at this supreme moment of trial The approach of his horse seemed to recall him from his reverie and he at once mounted General Grant now stepped down from the porch and moving toward him saluted him by raising his hat He was followed in this act of courtesy by all our officers present Lee raised his hat respectfully and rode off to break the sad news to the brave fellows whom he had so long commanded General Grant and his staff then mounted and started for the headquarters camp which in the meantime had been pitched near by The news of the surrender had reached the Union lines and the firing of salutes began at several points but the general sent orders at once to have them stopped and used these words in referring to the occurrence The war is over the rebels are our countrymen again and the best sign of rejoicing after the victory will be to abstain from all demonstrations in the field About 9 o clock on the morning of the 10th General Grant with his staff rode out toward the enemy s lines but it was found upon attempting to pass through that the force of habit is hard to overcome and that the practice which had so long been inculcated in Lee s army of keeping Grant out of his lines was not to be overturned in a day and he was politely requested at the picket lines to wait till a message could be sent to headquarters asking for instructions As soon as Lee heard that his distinguished opponent was approaching he was prompt to correct the misunderstanding at the picketline and rode out at a gallop to receive him They met on a knoll that overlooked the lines of the two armies and saluted respectfully by each raising his hat The officers present gave a similar salute and then grouped themselves around the two chieftains in a semicircle but withdrew out of earshot General Grant repeated to us that evening the substance of the conversation which was as follows Grant began by expressing a hope that the war would soon be over and Lee replied by stating that he had for some time been anxious to stop the further effusion of blood and he trusted that everything would now be done to restore harmony and conciliate the people of the South He said the emancipation of the Negroes would be no hindrance to the restoring of relations between the two sections of the country as it would probably not be the desire of the majority of the Southern people to restore slavery then even if the question were left open to them He could not tell what the other armies would do or what course Mr Davis would now take but he believed it would be best for their other armies to follow his example as nothing could be gained by further resistance in the field Finding that he entertained these sentiments General Grant told him that no one s influence in the South was so great as his and suggested to him that he should advise the surrender of the remaining armies and thus exert his influence in favor of immediate peace Lee said he could not take such a course without consulting President Davis first Grant then proposed to Lee that he should do so and urge the hastening of a result which was admitted to be inevitable Lee however was averse to stepping beyond his duties as a soldier and said the authorities would doubtless soon arrive at the same conclusion without his interference There was a statement put forth that Grant asked Lee to see Mr Lincoln and talk with him as to the terms of reconstruction but this was erroneous I asked General Grant about it when he was on his deathbed and his recollection was distinct that he had made no such suggestion I am of opinion that the mistake arose from hearing that Lee had been requested to go and see the President regarding peace and thinking that this expression referred to Mr Lincoln whereas it referred to Mr Davis After the conversation had lasted a little more than half an hour and Lee had requested that such instructions be given to the officers left in charge to carry out the details of the surrender that there might be no misunderstanding as to the form of paroles the manner of turning over the property etc the conference ended The two commanders lifted their hats and said good bye Lee rode back to his camp to take a final farewell of his army and Grant returned to McLean s house where he seated himself on the porch until it was time to take his final departure During the conference Ingalls Sheridan and Williams had asked permission to visit the enemy s lines and renew their acquaintance with some old friends classmates and former comrades in arms who were serving in Lee s army They now returned bringing with them Cadmus M Wilcox who had been General Grant s groomsman when he was married Longstreet who had also been at his wedding Heth who had been a subaltern with him in Mexico besides Gordon Pickett and a number of others They all stepped up to pay their respects to General Grant who received them very cordially and talked with them until it was time to leave The hour of noon had now arrived and General Grant after shaking hands with all present who were not to accompany him mounted his horse and started with his staff for Washington without having entered the enemy s lines Lee set out for Richmond and it was felt by all that peace had at last dawned upon the land The charges were now withdrawn from the guns the camp fires were left to smolder in their ashes the flags were tenderly furled those historic banners battle stained bullet riddled many of them but remnants of their former selves with scarcely enough left of them on which to imprint the names of the battles they had seen and the Army of the Union and the Army of Northern Virginia turned their backs upon each other for the first time in four long bloody years General Gordon remembers Appomattox GENERAL LONGSTREET S forces and mine at Appomattox numbered together less than 8000 men but every man able to bear arms was still resolute and ready for battle There were present three times that many enrolled Confederates but two thirds of them were so enfeebled by hunger so wasted by sickness and so foot sore from constant marching that it was difficult for them to keep up with the army They were wholly unfit for duty It is important to note this fact as explaining the great difference in the number of those who fought and those who were to be fed At the final meeting between General Lee and General Grant rations were ordered by General Grant for 25 000 Confederates Marked consideration and courtesy were exhibited at Appomattox by the victorious Federals from the commanding generals to the privates in the ranks General Meade who had known General Lee in the old army paid after the surrender an unofficial visit to the Confederate chieftain After cordial salutations General Lee said playfully to his former comrade in arms that years were telling upon him General Meade who had fought Lee at Gettysburg and in many subsequent battles made the strikingly gracious and magnanimous answer Not years but General Lee himself has made me gray Some of the scenes on the field immediately after the cessation of hostilities and prior to the formal surrender illustrate the same magnanimous spirit and were peculiarly impressive and thrilling As my command in worn out shoes and ragged uniforms but with proud mien moved to the designated point to stack their arms and surrender their cherished battle flags they challenged the admiration of the brave victors One of the knight liest soldiers of the Federal army General Joshua L Chamberlain of Maine who afterward served with distinction as governor of his State called his troops into line and as my men marched in front of them the veterans in blue gave a soldierly salute to those vanquished heroes a token of respect from Americans to Americans a final and fitting tribute from Northern to Southern chivalry General Chamberlain describes this incident in the following words At the sound of that machine like snap of arms General Gordon started caught in a moment its significance and instantly assumed the finest attitude of a soldier He wheeled his horse facing me touching him gently with the spur so that the animal slightly reared and as he wheeled horse and rider made one motion the horse s head swung down with a graceful bow and General Gordon dropped his sword point to his toe in salutation By word of mouth the general sent back orders to the rear that his own troops take the same position of the manual in the march past as did our line That was done and a truly imposing sight was the mutual salutation and farewell Bayonets were affixed to muskets arms stacked and cartridge boxes unslung and hung upon the stacks Then slowly and with a reluctance that was appealingly pathetic the torn and tattered battle flags were either leaned against the stacks or laid upon the ground The emotion of the conquered soldiery was really sad to witness Some of the men who had carried and followed those ragged standards through the four long years of strife rushed regardless of all discipline from the ranks bent about their old flags and pressed them to their lips And it can well be imagined too that there was no lack of emotion on our side but the Union men were held steady in their lines without the least show of demonstration by word or by motion There was though a twitching of the muscles of their faces and be it said their battle bronzed cheeks were not altogether dry Our men felt the import of the occasion and realized fully how they would have been affected if defeat and surrender had been their lot after such a fearful struggle When the proud and sensitive sons of Dixie came to a full realization of the truth that the Confederacy was overthrown and their leader had been compelled to surrender his once invincible army they could no longer control their emotions and tears ran like water down their shrunken faces The flags which they still carried were objects of undisguised affection These Southern banners had gone down before overwhelming numbers and torn by shells riddled by bullets and laden with the powder and smoke of battle they aroused intense emotion in the men who had so often followed them to victory Yielding to overpowering sentiment these high mettled men began to tear the flags from the staffs and hide them in their bosoms as they wet them with burning tears The Confederate officers faithfully endeavored to check this exhibition of loyalty and love for the old flags A great majority of them were duly surrendered but many were secretly carried by devoted veterans to their homes and will be cherished forever as honored heirlooms There was nothing unnatural or censurable in all this The Confederates who clung to those pieces of battered bunting knew they would never again wave as martial ensigns above embattled hosts but they wanted to keep them just as they wanted to keep the old canteen with a bullet hole through it or the rusty gray jacket that had been torn by canister They loved those flags and will love them forever as mementoes of the unparalleled struggle They cherish them because they represent the consecration and courage not only of Lee s army but of all the Southern armies because they symbolize the bloodshed and the glory of nearly a thousand battles Some narrow but very good and patriotic people object to this expression of Southern sentiment It was not so however with William McKinley that typical American who while living and while dying exhibited in their fulness and strength the virtues of a true and lofty manhood That chivalric Union soldier far seeing statesman and truly great President saw in this Southern fidelity to past memories the surest pledge of loyalty to future duties William McKinley fought as bravely as the bravest on the Union side but he was broad enough to recognize in his Southern countrymen a loyal adherence to the great fundamental truths to which both sides were devoted He was too wise and too just to doubt the South s fealty to the Constitution or to the doctrines of the Declaration of Independence for Madison was father of the one and Jefferson of the other He was great enough to trust implicitly the South s renewed allegiance to the Union and its flag for hers was the most liberal hand in studding its field with stars He did not hesitate to trust Southern pluck and patriotism to uphold the honor of the country and give liberty to Cuba for he remembered Washington and his rebels in the Revolution Jackson and his Southern volunteers at New Orleans Zachary Taylor and his Louisianians Clay and his Kentuckians Butler and his South Carolinians and Davis and his Mississippians in Mexico The heartstrings of the mother woven around the grave of her lost child will never be severed while she lives but does that hinder the continued flow of maternal devotion to those who are left her The South s affections are bound with links that cannot be broken around the graves of her sons who fell in her defence and to the mementoes and memories of the great struggle but does that fact lessen her loyalty to the proud emblem of a reunited country Does her unparalleled defence of the now dead Confederacy argue less readiness to battle for this ever living Republic in the making and the administering of which she bore so conspicuous a part If those unhappy patriots who find a scarecrow in every faded riddled Confederate flag would delve deeper into the philosophy of human nature or rise higher say to the plane on which McKinley stood they would be better satisfied with their Southern countrymen with Southern sentiment with the breadth and strength of the unobtrusive but sincere Southern patriotism They would see that man is so constituted the immutable laws of our being are such that to stifle the sentiment and extinguish the hallowed memories of a people is to destroy their manhood During these last scenes at Appomattox some of the Confederates were so depressed in spirit so filled with apprehensions as to the policy to be adopted by the civil authorities at Washington that the future seemed to them shrouded in gloom They knew that burnt homes and fenceless farms poverty and ashes would greet them on their return from the war Even if the administration at Washington should be friendly they did not believe that the Southern States could recover in half a century from the chaotic condition in which the war had left them The situation was enough to daunt the most hopeful and appall the stoutest hearts What are we to do How are we to begin life again they asked Every dollar of our circulating medium has been rendered worthless Our banks and rich men have no money The commodities and personal property which formerly gave us credit have been destroyed The Northern banks and money lenders will not take as security our lands denuded of houses and without animals and implements for their cultivation The railroads are torn up or the tracks are worn out The negroes are freed and may refuse to work Besides what assurance can we have of law and order and the safety of our families with four million slaves suddenly emancipated in the midst of us and the restraints to which they have been accustomed entirely removed To many intelligent soldiers and some of the officers the conditions were so discouraging the gloom so impenetrable that they seriously discussed the advisability of leaving the country and beginning life anew in some other land While recognizing the dire extremity which confronted us I was inclined to take a more hopeful view of the future I therefore spoke to the Southern soldiers on the field at Appomattox in order to check as best I could their disposition to leave the country and to counteract if possible the paralyzing effect of the overwhelming discouragements which met them on every side As we reached the designated point the arms were stacked and the battle flags were folded Those sad and suffering men many of them weeping as they saw the old banners laid upon the stacked guns like trappings on the coffin of their dead hopes at once gathered in compact mass around me Sitting on my horse in the midst of them I spoke to them for the last time as their commander In all my past life I had never undertaken to speak where my own emotions were so literally overwhelming I counselled such course of action as I believed most conducive to the welfare of the South and of the whole country I told them of my own grief which almost stifled utterance and that I realized most keenly the sorrow that was breaking their hearts and appreciated fully the countless and stupendous barriers across the paths they were to tread Reminding them of the benign Southern climate of the fertility of their lands of the vastly increased demand for the South s great staple and the high prices paid for it I offered these facts as legitimate bases of hope and encouragement I said to them that through the rifts in the clouds then above us I could see the hand of Almighty God stretched out to help us in the impending battle with adversity that He would guide us in the gloom and bless every manly effort to bring back to desolated homes the sunshine and comforts of former years I told them the principles for which they had so grandly fought and uncomplainingly suffered were not lost could not be lost for they were the principles on which the Fathers had built the Republic and that the very throne of Jehovah was pledged that truth should triumph and liberty live As to the thought of their leaving the country that must be abandoned It was their duty as patriots to remain and work for the recuperation of our stricken section with the same courage energy and devotion with which they had fought for her in war I urged them to enter cheerfully and hopefully upon the tasks imposed by the

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/appomattox.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive



  •