At daybreak on April 9, 1865, Confederate soldiers formed to the west of Appomattox village, Virginia. Facing them was a line of Union cannons. The Civil War was about to end.
The morning was cool and misty. A soldier recalls “over a few little sticks of wood I boiled and drank the hottest cup of coffee I ever drank in my life.” There was little time to rest, though, as the Federal artillery opened fire. and Confederate troops advanced, breaking into their famous rebel yell.
After a two hour fight, the Confederates retreated and word was sent to General Robert E. Lee that the line could no longer be held. Lee sent a flag of truce to General Sherman.
A little after noon, Lee met General Grant in the McLean house, near Appomattox Court House to negotiate terms of surrender. As Lee left, tears streamed down his face as he addressed his troops.
“Men, we have fought through the war together. I have done the best that I could for you. It would be useless and therefore cruel to provoke the further effusion of blood, and I have arranged to meet with General Grant with a view to surrender.”
Later that day, Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia. After four years and hundreds of thousands of casualties, the Civil War was nearly over.
After Lee’s surrender, General Grant purchased the table the surrender papers were signed on, and presented it as a gift to Mrs. George Armstrong Custer.