Abraham Lincoln eBook

George Haven Putnam
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 191 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln.
staff officer.  When the main details of the surrender had been talked over, Grant looked about the group in the room, which included, in addition to two staff officers who had come with Lee, a group of five or six of his own assistants, who had managed to keep up with the advance, to select the aid who should write out the paper.  His eye fell upon Colonel Ely Parker, a brigade commander who had during the past few months served on Grant’s staff.  “Colonel Parker, I will ask you,” said Grant, “as the only real American in the room, to draft this paper.”  Parker was a full-blooded Indian, belonging to one of the Iroquois tribes of New York.

Grant’s suggestion that the United States had no requirement for the horses of Lee’s army and that the men might find these convenient for “spring ploughing” was received by Lee with full appreciation.  The first matter in order after the completion of the surrender was the issue of rations to the starving Southern troops.  “General Grant,” said Lee, “a train was ordered by way of Danville to bring rations to meet my army and it ought to be now at such a point,” naming a village eight or nine miles to the south-west.  General Sheridan, with a twinkle in his eye, now put in a word:  “The train from the south is there, General Lee, or at least it was there yesterday.  My men captured it and the rations will be available.”  General Lee turns, mounts his old horse Traveller, a valued comrade, and rides slowly through the ranks first of the blue and then of the grey.  Every hat came off from the men in blue as an expression of respect to a great soldier and a true gentleman, while from the ranks in grey there was one great sob of passionate grief and finally, almost for the first time in Lee’s army, a breaking of discipline as the men crowded forward to get a closer look at, or possibly a grasp of the hand of, the great leader who had fought and failed but whose fighting and whose failure had been so magnificent.

IX

LINCOLN’S TASK ENDED

On the 11th of April, Lincoln makes his last public utterance.  In a brief address to some gathering in Washington, he says, “There will shortly be announcement of a new policy.”  It is hardly to be doubted that the announcement which he had in mind was to be concerned with the problem of reconstruction.  He had already outlined in his mind the essential principles on which the readjustment must be made.  In this same address, he points out that “whether or not the seceded States be out of the Union, they are out of their proper relations to the Union.”  We may feel sure that he would not have permitted the essential matters of readjustment to be delayed while political lawyers were arguing over the constitutional issue.  On one side was the group which maintained that in instituting the Rebellion and in doing what was in their power to destroy the national existence, the people of the

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Abraham Lincoln from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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