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Last Order - Bruce Frohnen, The American Nation: Primary Sources 
The American Nation: Primary Sources, ed. Bruce Frohnen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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April 10, 1865
Near Appomattox Court-House, Va.,
It is with pain that I announce to Your Excellency the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. The operations which preceded this result will be reported in full. I will therefore only now state that, upon arriving at Amelia Court-House on the morning of the 4th with the advance of the army, on the retreat from the lines in front of Richmond and Petersburg, and not finding the supplies ordered to be placed there, nearly twenty-four hours were lost in endeavoring to collect in the country subsistence for men and horses. This delay was fatal, and could not be retrieved. The troops, wearied by continual fighting and marching for several days and nights, obtained neither rest nor refreshment; and on moving, on the 5th, on the Richmond and Danville Railroad, I found at Jetersville the enemy’s cavalry, and learned the approach of his infantry and the general advance of his army toward Burkeville. This deprived us of the use of the railroad, and rendered it impracticable to procure from Danville the supplies ordered to meet us at points of our march. Nothing could be obtained from the adjacent country. Our route to the Roanoke was therefore changed, and the march directed upon Farmville, where supplies were ordered from Lynchburg. The change of route threw the troops over the roads pursued by the artillery and wagon trains west of the railroad, which impeded our advance and embarrassed our movements. On the morning of the 6th General Longstreet’s corps reached Rice’s Station, on the Lynchburg railroad. It was followed by the commands of Generals R. H. Anderson, Ewell, and Gordon, with orders to close upon it as fast as the progress of the trains would permit or as they could be directed on roads farther west. General Anderson, commanding Pickett’s and B. R. Johnson’s divisions, became disconnected with Mahone’s division, forming the rear of Longstreet. The enemy’s cavalry penetrated the line of march through the interval thus left and attacked the wagon train moving toward Farmville. This caused serious delay in the march of the center and rear of the column, and enabled the enemy to mass upon their flank. After successive attacks Anderson’s and Ewell’s corps were captured or driven from their position. The latter general, with both of his division commanders, Kershaw and Custis Lee, and his brigadiers, were taken prisoners. Gordon, who all the morning, aided by General W. H. F. Lee’s cavalry, had checked the advance of the enemy on the road from Amelia Springs and protected the trains, became exposed to his combined assaults, which he bravely resisted and twice repulsed; but the cavalry having been withdrawn to another part of the line of march, and the enemy massing heavily on his front and both flanks, renewed the attack about 6 p.m., and drove him from the field in much confusion.
The army continued its march during the night, and every effort was made to reorganize the divisions which had been shattered by the day’s operations; but the men being depressed by fatigue and hunger, many threw away their arms, while others followed the wagon trains and embarrassed their progress. On the morning of the 7th rations were issued to the troops as they passed Farmville, but the safety of the trains requiring their removal upon the approach of the enemy all could not be supplied. The army, reduced to two corps, under Longstreet and Gordon, moved steadily on the road to Appomattox Court-House; thence its march was ordered by Campbell Court-House, through Pittsylvania, toward Danville. The roads were wretched and the progress slow. By great efforts the head of the column reached Appomattox Court-House on the evening of the 8th, and the troops were halted for rest. The march was ordered to be resumed at 1 a.m. on the 9th. Fitz Lee, with the cavalry, supported by Gordon, was ordered to drive the enemy from his front, wheel to the left, and cover the passage of the trains; while Longstreet, who from Rice’s Station had formed the rear guard, should close up and hold the position. Two battalions of artillery and the ammunition wagons were directed to accompany the army, the rest of the artillery and wagons to move toward Lynchburg. In the early part of the night the enemy attacked Walker’s artillery train near Appomattox Station, on the Lynchburg railroad, and were repelled. Shortly afterward their cavalry dashed toward the Court-House, till halted by our line. During the night there were indications of a large force massing on our left and front. Fitz Lee was directed to ascertain its strength, and to suspend his advance till daylight if necessary. About 5 a.m. on the 9th, with Gordon on his left, he moved forward and opened the way. A heavy force of the enemy was discovered opposite Gordon’s right, which, moving in the direction of Appomattox Court-House, drove back the left of the cavalry and threatened to cut off Gordon from Longstreet, his cavalry at the same time threatening to envelop his left flank. Gordon withdrew across the Appomattox River, and the cavalry advanced on the Lynchburg road and became separated from the army.
Learning the condition of affairs on the lines, where I had gone under the expectation of meeting General Grant to learn definitely the terms he proposed in a communication received from him on the 8th, in the event of the surrender of the army, I requested a suspension of hostilities until these terms could be arranged. In the interview which occurred with General Grant in compliance with my request, terms having been agreed on, I surrendered that portion of the Army of Northern Virginia which was on the field, with its arms, artillery, and wagon trains, the officers and men to be paroled, retaining their sidearms and private effects. I deemed this course the best under all the circumstances by which we were surrounded. On the morning of the 9th, according to the reports of the ordnance officers, there were 7,892 organized infantry with arms, with an average of seventy-five rounds of ammunition per man. The artillery, though reduced to sixty-three pieces, with ninety-three rounds of ammunition, was sufficient. These comprised all the supplies of ordnance that could be relied on in the State of Virginia. I have no accurate report of the cavalry, but believe it did not exceed 2,100 effective men. The enemy were more than five times our numbers. If we could have forced our way one day longer it would have been at a great sacrifice of life, and at its end I did not see how a surrender could have been avoided. We had no subsistence for man or horse, and it could not be gathered in the country. The supplies ordered to Pamplin’s Station from Lynchburg could not reach us, and the men, deprived of food and sleep for many days, were worn out and exhausted.
With great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
Hdqrs. Army of Northern Virginia,
After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources. I need not tell the brave survivors of so many hard-fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them. But, feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.
By the terms of the agreement officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.
With an increasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous considerations for myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.
R. E. LEE,
Well before fighting ended on the Civil War’s battlefields, conflict stirred in the North regarding how the South should be reintegrated into the Union. The issue first surfaced only five days after Virginia seceded from the Union, when its thirty-five western counties sought separation from Virginia and reintegration with the Union, which they achieved as West Virginia in 1863. But the process of “reconstruction,” which at times aimed to alter fundamentally the governments and societies of the former Confederacy, continued for more than a decade and remains an issue to this day. According to popular legend (now disputed) Reconstruction’s formal end came when the Democratic and Republican parties struck a deal allowing the Republican presidential candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, to take office after the disputed election of 1876 in exchange for the withdrawal of federal troops from the Southern states, public works projects in the South, and other concessions. Thereafter a series of Supreme Court cases and legal and constitutional challenges in the South sought to undo Reconstruction. From its inception until its end, Reconstruction was the subject of intense debate and sometimes violent conflict. The program first set forth by Abraham Lincoln, then championed by his successor, Andrew Johnson, drew criticism from Radical Republicans convinced that it did too little for African Americans, too little for Northern interests, and too little to fundamentally reform governments in the South. The program also drew extensive opposition, particularly from white Southerners who labeled it dictatorial and intrusive in character. And white Southern opposition took a variety of forms, from mob violence to contradictory legal and constitutional documents.
Lincoln’s Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, greeted warmly in the North at the time, set forth the first official plan of Reconstruction, seeking to expedite formation of loyalist governments. In it Lincoln offered all but the highest officers in the Confederacy amnesty in exchange for an oath of allegiance to the United States. Lincoln also set forth his “10 percent plan,” according to which any state in which at least 10 percent of those qualified in 1860 to vote agreed to abide by congressional laws and presidential proclamations regarding the end of slavery would be deemed the true government of that state. This would allow for the retraction of military government and, with congressional consent, the seating of the state’s congressional delegation. Radical Republican congressmen Henry Winter Davis, of Maryland, and Benjamin F. Wade, of Ohio, oppposed what they saw as the plan’s leniency. Their Wade-Davis bill would have required that half the white male citizens of any seceded state take an oath of loyalty to the Union before civil government could be reestablished in that state. The bill also required that freed slaves be given the right to vote—a right denied most African Americans in Northern states. Lincoln refused to sign the bill, letting it die at the end of the congressional session, on the grounds that he should not be tied to a single, inflexible plan of restoration for each seceded state. The Wade-Davis Manifesto was a response to this pocket veto. Published in the New York Tribune, it defended the more stringent requirements of the bill and accused Lincoln of dictatorial conduct in his control over reconstruction policies.