Gen Lee - Jefferson Davis

Lee Surrenders at Appomattox - Maddox Family Website
At the beginning of the Civil war, General Robert. E. Lee looked like a young man.  Although he was fifty-four years old, he had a strong build and he stood erect.  His hair and mustache were dark, and he had not yet grown a beard.

By the end of the war, Lee was old, weary, and gray.  He had aged more than any other general on either side--probably because had to fight two wars at the same time.
 

One of Lee's wars was, of course, fought on the battlefield, against the North.  The other war was against Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy. (Shown at left)  Davis was Lee's chief, and the two men did not often agree  Lee was loyal to Davis, but there was trouble from the start.  Lee wanted to lead an army.   Davis thought his armies should stay in the South and defend the Confederacy.

When Lee was at last given command of an army, he fought his own kind of war. In less than three months, he drove out the enemy and invaded the North.  Even then, Davis kept a large number of soldiers on guard duty in Virginia.  So it happened that one-fourth of Pickett's crack troops were guarding a supply depot near Virginia during the important battle of Gettysburg.

Lee lost the battle.  Could he have won with the extra men?  No one knows.  But no one doubts that fighting two wars at the same time left Lee an old man.  Lee remains a Southern hero.

He surrendered to General Grant at the Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865 after Union forces prevented the escape of some 27,000 Confederate soldiers.  They had tried to escape after the fall of Richmond when they tried to reach Lynchburg and it's railroad.  But the Federals blocked their way, leaving Lee's men entirely surrounded and starving.

Grant told him that the unconditional surrender was the only option.  When he was ready to sign the surrender, Lee told an aide, "There is nothing left for me to do but to see Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths."  Lee and Grant met in the parlor of the brick house of Wilmer McLean, who had moved to Appomattox from Manassas Junction after a shell passed through his house during the first Battle of Bull Run.  Lee arrived at the house first and was seated when Grant came in.  Lee rose, a resplendent figure in his dress gray uniform, to shake hands with Grant, dressed in a rumpled military tunic with mud-spattered trousers that were stuffed into muddy boots.

Grant allowed Lee's men to keep their small arms and horses and to be paroled without punishment as long as they didn't take up arms against the North again.  Lee appreciated the generous terms.  After the surrender was signed, Grant asked Lee if he would permit him to send rations to the starving Confederate troops and Lee gratefully accepted.  After the surrender, Lee was free to go.  After bowing slightly to the men in the room, the General walked out to the porch to wait for his horse.  After four bloody years and a half million deaths, the American Civil war was over.

General Lee writes about three Maddoxes

Pictured here, Lee before the war, and then afterward.  And Lee's sword, gloves and hat, shown against a Confederate flag.  Lee was allowed to keep his sword when he surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.  Courtesy Time, Inc., Simon and Schuster, New York, 1958.  Copy sources:  Time, Inc., and Chronicle Publications, Jacques Legrand, Publisher.

Comments