The Final Struggles: September 1864 to April 1865

Lee’s Surrender

What did Lee look like?

Lee knew that his reputation preceded him, and he wished to live up to it. He dressed in the uniform of a full general, and he rode his well-known horse, Traveller, to the meeting. Lee went with a few aides, but when he dismounted to enter the McLean house, he was pretty much alone. There he found everything in readiness: everything except General Grant, who, as usual, was running late.

It is often commented that both men ran true to form that day, and when Grant and a dozen aides reined up to the McLean house, the Union general looked mud splattered. He had, throughout the war, been indifferent to appearance; in this, as in so many other ways, he and Lee were diametrically opposed. Entering the house, Grant walked over to shake Lee’s hand. That first handshake had to have been a little stiff, but before long the two great commanders of the era were sitting at a square table and discussing events past and present.


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