General Grant’s Terms of Surrender

Confederate soldiers rolled up their flag after General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox

Among the personal papers of Lindsay Branch Walthall (1840-1912) of Prince Edward County, Virginia, were found the following handwritten terms of surrender of Gen. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to Gen. Grant on 9 April 1865. Lindsay served the entire war, entering initially in May 1861 with other boys of his county in the Old Dominion Rifles. The boys in this company were eventually consolidated into the 53rd Virginia Infantry. He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Gettysburg, captured in “Pickett’s Charge” on 3 July 1863—the 53rd Virginia serving as the color regiment of Armistead’s Brigade. He was transported from the battlefield and confined at Fort McHenry, at Fort Delaware, and at Point Lookout where he was finally exchanged from the Hammond General Hospital suffering from chronic diarrhea on 31 August 1864.

When he returned to his regiment following his exchange and recovery from illness, Lindsay was promoted on 1 November 1864 to a 2nd Lieutenant of Company C, 53rd Virginia Infantry. The 53rd Virginia was at the time brigaded with four other Virginia regiment under the command of Gen. George Hume Steuart in Maj. General George E. Pickett’s Division of Longstreet’s Corps. Moreover, at the time of the fall of Petersburg and Richmond in April 1865, Lindsay was acting as aide-de-camp to Gen. Steuart and would have been in his company as Longstreet’s Corps crossed over to the south side of the James river and struck out westward on the South Side Railroad hoping to rendezvous with the rest of Lee’s army at Amelia Court House on the Richmond and Danville Railroad. Their path would take them directly through the county where Lindsay grew up and immediately past the home of Suzie Overton, his future wife.

The surrender of Lee’s army in the days that followed is well known and the drafting of the terms of surrender in McLean’s farmhouse at Appomattox Court House has been immortalized in both words and pictures. Once the official copy of the terms were drafted, they needed to be disseminated to the officers of the various commands so it may be imagined that clerks were ordered to sit down and quickly make multiple handwritten copies for this purpose. It is my hunch that this copy was either one that Lindsay received, or wrote himself, as aide-de-camp to Gen. Steuart. Perhaps he used it to read the terms to the rank and file at the request of his commander.

The top portion of the document is more legible than the bottom though this may be partially due to the quality of the scan that was proved to me.

Docketed on reverse side of sheet


Appomattox Court House
April 9th 1865

General Robert E. Lee, Commanding, Confederate States Army:

In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of Northern Va. on the following terms (to wit): Rolls 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 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 or regimental commander to sign a like parole for the men of his command.

The arms, artillery, & public property to be parked, stacked & turned over to the Officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not include the side arms of the officers nor the private horses or baggages. This done, each officer and men will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by the United States authorities as long as they observe their parole & the laws enforced where they may reside.

Very Respectfully, — US Grant, Lt General

General Lee to General Grant

Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia
April 9th 1865

Lt. General U. S. Grant, commanding U. S.

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 out the stipulations into effect.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, — R. E. Lee, General

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