154 Years Ago Today: Lee Surrenders At Appomattox


by Ian Greenhalgh

It is sadly a truism that the truth about most wars is completely unknown to the general public. One of the least understood wars is the US Civil War, very few people in the US have any idea what it was really all about, why it happened and who was behind it.

It was most definitely not about slavery, few in the North cared enough about the plight of the black man to go to war over the issue, even fewer in the South gave a damn. The North didn’t start claiming they were fighting to free the slaves until they needed a good excuse to tell to the Europeans to explain away why they were committing ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in the Shenandoah Valley and Georgia.

It wasn’t about State’s rights either, although a great many, especially in the South continue to believe that was the real issue.

The truth is far more disturbing, far more Machiavellian and the root of it all is the desire of the Rothschilds and the other handful of elite Jewish families that run the world, to return the north American continent to their control.

The key figure is Judah P. Benjamin, the Jewish politician who held several key posts in the Confederacy, inc. Deputy President. It was Benjamin that created the war, Benjamin that prolonged it and Benjamin that manipulated the Confederacy so that it served the interests of the Jewish banking families in Europe.

The goal of the Civil War was twofold; firstly, the 13 colonies would be returned to British rule, secondly, the remaining states, especially those in the South, would be turned into independent nation states – the Confederacy was designed to fail, to disintegrate into several nation states that were weak and dependent on European finance to survive.

War is highly profitable, and the plan was to have continual war in North America, pitting the various Southern states against each other in a series of conflicts that would have seen the wealth of those states flow to Europe in return for a steady supply of arms with which to fight the wars.

The scope for conflicts was almost endless, Alabama and Mississippi wouldn’t have required much persuasion to go to war, neither would Virginia have needed much prodding to fight Kentucky or the Carolinas or Tennessee, Texas wouldn’t have needed much of a reason to fight anyone.

These fairly small scale, regional conflicts could have been prolonged for years, leading to decade after decade of war and resultant huge profits for the Jewish banking families in Europe that were provoking and financing the fighting. There would have been no United States ‘from sea to shining sea’ and the history of the North American continent would have been one of continual war and endless suffering.

Lincoln realised this was the agenda when he went to the Jewish bankers in New York to borrow money to finance the war and was offered loans at ridiculously high rates of interest. Instead of taking their deal and thus enslaving the US to the bankers for generations to come, he chose to have he US government issue it’s own currency and finance the war through other means than loans from the big banks.

Winning the war and preserving the unity of the states simply had to be achieved at almost any cost because the alternative was unthinkable, Lincoln clearly saw that and paid for his foresight with his life. It may annoy the Southern folks to point this out, but the Confederacy was ultimately, nothing more than a Judeo-Zionist conspiracy and simply had to be destroyed for the good of the entire US populace.

Surrender at Appomattox, 1865

With his army surrounded, his men weak and exhausted, Robert E. Lee realized there was little choice but to consider the surrender of his Army to General Grant. After a series of notes between the two leaders, they agreed to meet on April 9, 1865, at the house of Wilmer McLean in the village of Appomattox Courthouse. The meeting lasted approximately two and one-half hours and at its conclusion the bloodliest conflict in the nation’s history neared its end.

Prelude to Surrender

On April 3, Richmond fell to Union troops as Robert E. Lee led his Army of Northern Virginia in retreat to the West pursued by Grant and the Army of the Potomac. A running battle ensued as each Army moved farther to the West in an effort to out flank, or prevent being out flanked by the enemy. Finally, on April 7, General Grant initiated a series of dispatches leading to a meeting between the two commanders.

“General R.E. Lee, Commanding C.S.A.:
5 P.M., April 7th, 1865.
The results 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.
U.S. Grant, Lieutenant-General”

The note was carried through the Confederate lines and Lee promptly responded:

“April 7th, 1865.
General: 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 useless effusion of blood, and therefore, before considering your proposition, ask the terms you will offer on condition of its surrender.
R.E. Lee, General.”

Grant received Lee’s message after midnight and replied early in the morning giving his terms for surrender:

“April 8th, 1865.
General R.E. Lee, Commanding C.S.A.:
Your note of last evening in reply to mine of the 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 that, peace being my great desire, there is but one condition I would insist upon,–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 may 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.
U.S. Grant, Lieutenant-General”

The fighting continued and as Lee retreated further to the West he replied to Grant’s message:

“April 8th, 1865.
General: 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 desired to know whether your proposals would 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 state road to Richmond, between the picket-lines of the two armies.
R.E. Lee, General.”

Exhausted from stress and suffering the pain from a severe headache, Grant replied to Lee around 5 o’clock in the morning of April 9.

“April 9th, 1865.
General: Your note of yesterday is received. I have not 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, that I am equally desirous for peace with yourself, and the whole North entertains the same feeling. The terms upon which peace can be had are well understood. By the South laying down their arms, they would hasten that most desirable event, save thousands of human lives, and hundreds of millions of property not yet destroyed. Seriously hoping that all our difficulties may be settled without the loss of another life, I subscribe myself, etc.,
U.S. Grant, Lieutenant-General”

Still suffering his headache, General Grant approached the crossroads of Appomattox Court House where he was over taken by a messenger carrying Lee’s reply.

“April 9th, 1865.
General: I received your note of this morning on the picket-line, whither I had come to meet you and ascertain definitely what terms were embraced in your proposal of yesterday with reference to the surrender of this army. I now ask an interview, in accordance with the offer contained in your letter of yesterday, for that purpose.
R.E. Lee, General.”

Grant immediately dismounted, sat by the road and wrote the following reply to Lee.

“April 9th, 1865.
General R. E. Lee Commanding C. S. Army:
Your note of this date is but this moment (11:50 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, Lieutenant-General.”

The McLean family sits on the porch
of their home. The surrender was
signed in the 1st floor room on the left.



Meeting at Appomattox

The exchange of messages initated the historic meeting in the home of Wilmer McLean. Arriving at the home first, General Lee sat in a large sitting room on the first floor. General Grant arrived shortly and entered the room alone while his staff respectfully waited on the front lawn. After a short period the staff was summoned to the room. General Horace Porter described the scene:

“We entered, and found General Grant sitting at a marble-topped table in the center of the room, and Lee sitting beside a small oval table near the front window, in the corner opposite to the door by which we entered, and facing General Grant. We walked in softly and ranged ourselves quietly about the sides of the room, very much as people enter a sick-chamber when they expect to find the patient dangerously ill.

The contrast between the two commanders was striking, and could not fail to attract marked attention they sat ten feet apart facing each other. General Grant, then nearly forty-three years of age, was five feet eight inches in height, with shoulders slightly stooped. His hair and full beard were a nut-brown, without a trace of gray in them. He had on a single-breasted blouse, made of dark-blue flannel, unbuttoned in front, and showing a waistcoat underneath. He wore an ordinary pair of top-boots, with his trousers inside, and was without spurs. The boots and portions of his clothes were spattered with mud. He had no sword, and a pair of shoulder-straps was all there was about him to designate his rank. In fact, aside from these, his uniform was that of a private soldier.

Lee, on the other hand, was fully six feet in height, and quite erect for one of his age, for he was Grant’s senior by sixteen years. His hair and full beard were silver-gray, and quite thick, except that the hair had become a little thin in the front. He wore a new uniform of Confederate gray, buttoned up to the throat, and at his side he carried a long sword of exceedingly fine workmanship, the hilt studded with jewels. His top-boots were comparatively new, and seemed to have on them some ornamental stitching

Signing the surrender
From a contemporary sketch.

of red silk. Like his uniform, they were singularly clean, and but little travel-stained. On the boots were handsome spurs, with large rowels. A felt hat, which in color matched pretty closely that of his uniform, and a pair of long buckskin gauntlets lay beside him on the table.

General Grant began the conversation by saying ‘I met you once before, General Lee, while we were serving in Mexico, when you came over from General Scott’s headquarters to visit Garland’s brigade, to which I then belonged. I have always remembered your appearance, and I think I should have recognized you anywhere.’

‘Yes,’ replied General Lee, ‘I know I met you on that occasion, and I have often thought of it and tried to recollect how you looked, but I have never been able to recall a single feature.'”

The two generals talked a bit more about Mexico and moved on to a discussion of the terms of the surrender when Lee asked Grant to commit the terms to paper:

“‘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 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.’

Grant handed the document to Lee. After reviewing it, Lee informed Grant that the Cavalry men and Artillery men in the Confederate Army owned their horses and asked that they keep them. Grant agreed and Lee wrote a letter formally accepting the surrender. Lee then made his exit:

General Lee leaves
From a contemporary sketch.


“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 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.”

Buel, Clarence, and Robert U. Johnson, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. IV (1888, reprint ed. 1982); Grant, Ulysses S., Memoirs and Selected Letters, Vol. I (1885, reprint ed. 1990); McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (1988).

How To Cite This Article:
“Surrender at Appomattox, 1865,” EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (1997).

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  1. All the white man has ever done is fight wars for greed…………Time to rid ourselves of this type of egoistic behavior, and take his toys away. You may laugh, but that day is coming.

  2. When Hamilton’s bank charter expired in 1811, the international bankers started the war of 1812. Remember this, ‘to the victor is how history is written’. Question everything.

    From 1836 when the lights were turned off on Rothschild’s central bank to 1913 the United States operated without a central bank and it has been the most prosperous time of the country.

    The Rothschild’s have, from the inception of this country, interceded and taken control of this nation and major control of the planet’s Gross Domestic Product. The Rothschild family is in essence, the progenitor of almost every war in modern history.

  3. Forgot to mention many of the slave ships were owned by jews. They owned many large plantations and grew and ran the slave and cotton trade. The South traded cotton with the North during the war. great britain was going to invade the US during the Civil War but Russia intervened because the Czar knew he would be next. How about General Grant’s 11th General Order which forbade jews from entering some southern states and Wm T Sherman and Grant both agreeing that, they arrive in the spring with seed money(jews) and by fall they own the farms. And a few months later Lincoln had Grant rescind that order. Why Gen Washington agreed that they(again jews) should be hunted like pests and Ben Franklin saying that they should(guess who) be barred by the Constitution because in 200 yrs they will own everything. Great visionary he was.

  4. Vicksburg Mississippi fell after a seige lasting 47 days. The citizens refused to celebrate Idependence day until 2012; although there were small celebrations on the side. Under seige the people suffered through bombardment and starvation. Does this sound familiar. Who else fights this kind of war? We still see this today and have participated in the same.

    • Yes, in many ways, the US Civil War was the first modern war, not just in terms of technology – the rifle, the telegraph and the railroad, but in how the civilian population were drawn into the conflict. The trenches dug outside places like Vicksburg, Petersburg and Richmond and the murderous fighting for them were a harbinger of what was to come in future wars and the wholesale displacement of people and masses of refugees was also, sadly, a glimpse at how future conflicts would be.

  5. Ian, Thank you for this very real and careful explanation of the causes of the Civil War. Americans really have no idea,especially since we could have been divided into North and South and all the reasons we were fed for the worst conflict Americans have been involved in-Americans killing Americans. Lincoln avoided much further drama by being insightful into what would happen if he had to borrow money. So, if you need money, just have it made. He could do that and in the end that option was far better for America. Typical historical revisionism. Connections here would be to recognize current continual warfare on a global scale with many of the same players as the profiteers.

    • Thankyou Carol. The mis-education of the US people began soon after the war, teachers from the north were sent to schools all over the south and the ‘it was all to free the slaves’ story was spread throughout the land. Those that knew better simply didn’t have a platform to spread the truth, so the truth was swiftly buried. One example of this burial would be the original founding of the KKK, which was not at all about the blacks and slavery, rather, it was a reaction to the influx of crooks, swindlers, carpet baggers and all kinds of scum from the north, often these were Jews and they were out to make a quick buck by ripping people off. The KKK was formed to run off these crooks, that was why Nathan Bedford Forrest and other prominent Southerners got involved. Sadly, the KKK also attracted a number of unsavoury types who were as apt to lynch or tar and feather blacks as they were to run off the crooks from the north, which lead to Forrest leaving the group as he wanted no part of such violence.

    • I think he’s right, certainly, the slave trade was run by Jews. Just look at Spielberg’s films Amistad and Lincoln – you won’t see any Jews portrayed therein, a clear attempt to re-write history, just as the bastard did with Schindler’s List.

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