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Terms of the Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to the Army of the Potomac, Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia

Ulysses Simpson Grant, Brady image, detail
Union commander U.S. Grant had begun communications with Confederate commander Robert E. Lee two days before, suggesting that a Confederate surrender would spare further loss of life. Lee had first asked under what terms the surrender would take place and then consented to meet without offering to capitulate. When it became clear on the morning of April 9, 1865 at the Battle of Appomattox Court House that his Army of Northern Virginia could not possible break out of the Union's overwhelming and complete encirclement, he sent a final message to Grant and the two men met for ninety minutes in the parlor of Wilmer McLean's house in the small Virginia village. Grant offered simple and gracious terms for surrender, asking only that officers and men surrendered not take up arms again until properly paroled. In return, officers could keep their sidearms and horses, and cavalrymen could retain their horses, and, all who had surrendered, if at their homes, need not fear arrest for crimes such as treason. General Lee's short document of agreement is included at the bottom of Grant's terms. (By John Osborne)