Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 15.djvu/19

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XIX
INTRODUCTION.

"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 them 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 General Lee saw his swarthy features, he looked at him with an evident stare of 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 a jocose 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 past 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 should be glad to have the present wants of my men supplied from them.'

"At this remark all eyes turned towards 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