Warfare History Network
William Welsh walks us through the steps of Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Appomattox Court House's National Historical Park.
When Grant Met Lee: The Day the U.S. Civil War Finally Came to An End
When Confederate General Robert E. Lee learned on the morning of April 9, 1865, that Union infantry was both in front and behind of his meager army of 12,500 effectives as it approached Appomattox Court House in central Virginia, he resigned himself to the sad task before him. He must ride to Union lines and request an interview with Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
“There is nothing left me to do but go and see General Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths,” Lee told his staff.
Disaster at Sailor’s Creek Further Depleted Lee’s Already-Thin Ranks
A week earlier Lee had ordered Confederate forces in Richmond and Petersburg to retreat west toward a rendezvous at Amelia, a stop on the Richmond and Danville Railroad. At that time his army numbered about 36,000 men, but in a series of desperate clashes at Sailor’s Creek on April 6 a good chunk of his army was captured. Straggling also took a heavy tool.