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    ...the communications that ended the greatest and most costly conflict on American soil.

    'TERMS OF SURRENDER' LETTERS SIGNED BY CONFEDERATE GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE. On April 9, 1865 Confederate General Robert E. Lee agreed to the Terms of Surrender as laid out by Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, in effect ending the bloody conflict known as America's Civil War. The original letters between the two Generals is lost to history. But General Lee had the foresight to have these actual 'true copies' of the letters drafted which he has personally signed.

    These four letters dated April 9th and 10th of 1865 begin with the original letter sent on April 9th from General Grant to General Lee dictating the Terms of Surrender for the Army of Northern Virginia. General Lee signs "True Copy from the original in my possession, R. E. Lee" at the bottom left of the letter dated April 9, 1865. In the next letter on the same date when Lee agrees to the Terms of Surrender, he signs "True Copy, R. E. Lee". In the third and fourth letters Lee again signs the documents that dictate the manner in which the Confederate forces are to surrender and be given safe passage home. They are well documented historically as they were once the property of General Henry Wise and have descended from his estate to a private collector. Published in The Appomattox Paroles, April 9, 1865 by Nine and Wilson (pages 2, 5), they were also noted in To Appomattox - Nine April Days, 1865 by Davis (page 383).

    General Wise cherished the letters until his death. A lawyer before the war, he was elected to Congress and later served as the minister to Brazil. He was elected governor of Virginia in 1856 and was past middle age at the start of the Civil War. Although not a military man by training, he volunteered his services and was made a brigadier general on June 5, 1861. From West Virginia to Florida he fought bravely throughout the war. Heartbroken at the fall of the Confederacy he never sought amnesty and died in Richmond on September 12, 1876 leaving these letters to his family, after which they descended to a private collector and this sale.

    But it was Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant that made history the day these communications were sent and signed by Lee. These sorts of communications were traditionally brief and written without thought to penmanship, the art of war being the job at hand. These true copies were somewhat more formal and intended to be kept for posterity, something General Wise realized at the time. He would be the person General Lee designated to keep them for historical purposes.

    These letters sparked a series of meetings between officers of both sides, a commission that would decide the actual terms of the surrender. Generals Lee and Grant would meet only once more concerning the Surrender, Grant preferring to travel to Washington, DC and forego witnessing the actual surrender ceremonies. Lee signed his historical farewell address to his troops, his 'General Order Number 9', one of the most famous documents in military history. But these 'Terms of Surrender' documents signed by General Lee started the process. The letters are as follows:

    Letter signed by Robert E. Lee, written from Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant to Lee:

    Appomattox Court House.
    Head Quarters Armies of the United States
    Appomattox C. H. Va. Apl. 9th 1865
    Gen R. E. Lee
    Comd'g C.S.A.
    General,
    In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on the following terms to wit:
    Roles of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate, one copy to be given to an officer to be designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged and each company of regimental commander to sign a like parole for the men of their commands.
    The arms, artillery, and public property to be parked and stacked and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side arms of the officers, nor their private horses, or baggage. This done each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority as long as they observe their parole and the laws in force where they may reside.
    Very respectfully,
    U.S. Grant
    True copy in my possession (signed) R. E. Lee


    Letter signed by Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant
    :
    Hd. Q. A. N. Va.
    9th April 1865

    Lt. Gen. U. S. Grant
    Commandg U. S. Armies
    General
    I have received your letter of this date containing the terms of surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia as proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the 8th inst., they are accepted.
    I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect.
    Very respectfully
    Your ob serv
    R. E. Lee
    Gen
    True Copy
    (signed) R. E. Lee


    Letter signed by Robert E. Lee, written to him from General Grant:

    Hd. Qre Armies of the United States
    In the Field April 9th 1865
    Special Orders,
    Maj. Gen. John Gibbon, Brevet Maj. Gen. Charles Griffen and Brevet Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt are hereby designated to carry into effect the Stipulations this day entered into between Gen. R. E. Lee Comd'g C.S. Armies and Lieut. Gen. U. S. Grant comd'g Armies of the United States, in which Gen. Lee surrendered to Gen. Grant the Army of Northern Virginia.
    Brevet Brig. Gen George H. Sharpe Asst. Provost Marshall General will receive and take charge of the rolls called for by the above mentioned Stipulations.
    By command of
    Lieut Gen. Grant
    E. S. Parker
    Lt. Col. A.A.A.G.

    True Copy
    R. E. Lee
    Gen. R. E. Lee
    Comd'g C.S.A.


    Letter signed by Robert E. Lee, written to him from General Grant:

    Hd Qrs Armies of the U. S.
    In the Field Apl 10th 1865

    Special Orders -
    All officers and men of the Confederate service paroled at Appomattox C.H. Va., who to reach their homes are compelled to pass through the lines of the Union Armies will be allowed to do so and to pass free on all Government Transports and Military Rail Roads.
    By command of Lt. Gen. Grant
    E. S. Parker
    Lt. Col. A.A.A.G.

    True Copy
    R. E. Lee


    The notations of 'True Copy' and the signatures of 'R. E. Lee' are in Lee's hand and are the most important historical battlefield commands of the war, the communications that ended the greatest and most costly conflict on American soil.

    Condition:
    The letters are in excellent condition on 8" x 10" lined paper with slight fold marks.

    Provenance:
    Brigadier General Henry Wise; Private Collection

    Published:
    The Appomattox Paroles, April 9, 1865. Nine and Wilson (pages 2, 5); To Appomattox - Nine April Days, 1865. Davis (page 383).




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st Saturday
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