Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 15.djvu/10
will say hard things of us ; they will not understand how we were overwhelmed by numbers ; but that is not the question, Colonel. The question is, is it right to surrender this army? If it is right, then I will take all the responsibility. ' " *
The following letter, written the previous day, was now sent to General Grant :
GENERAL, I received at a late hour your note of to-day, in answer to 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. But as the restoration of peace should be the sole object of all, I desire to know whether your proposals would tend to that end.
I cannot, therefore, meet you with a view to the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, but so far as your proposition may affect the Confede- rate States forces under my command and lead to the restoration of peace. I should be pleased to meet you at 10 A. M. to-morrow on the old Stage road to Richmond between the picket lines of the two armies. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE, General, Confederate States Armies.
To Lieutenant General GRANT,
Commanding Armies of the United States.
General Grant replied :
APRIL 9TH. General R. E. LEE, Commanding C. S. A. :
GENERAL, Your note of yesterday is received. As I have no 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, General, that I am equally anxious for peace with yourself, and the whole North entertain the same feeling. The terms upon which peace can be had are well understood. By the South laying down their arms they will hasten that most desirable event, save thousands of human lives, and hundreds of millions of property not yet destroyed.
Sincerely hoping that all our difficulties may be settled without the loss of another life, I subscribe myself,
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant- General U. S. A. The exigency had come. To the noble mind of Lee, to protract
- Remarks at the Lee Memorial Meeting, held in Richmond, Virginia,
November 3, 1870. Army of Northern Virginia Memorial Volume, pages 19-20.