Articles of Agreement Relating to the Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia

(1865)

The Articles of Agreement Relating to the Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, dictated by Union general Ulysses S. Grant and signed by Confederate general Robert E. Lee in April 1865, signaled that the American Civil War was nearly over. After Grant captured the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, on April 3, 1865, Lee's army of fewer than thirty thousand straggling men was on the run and pressured on three sides by three times as many men. Lee's last hope to reach the food and provisions waiting at Appomattox Station was dashed when General Philip Sheridan's cavalry arrived first on April 8.

Realizing the futility of further resistance, Lee sent out flags of truce and wrote a note to Grant requesting an interview to arrange the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. After a series of notes, the two leaders agreed to meet on April 9, 1865. Lee sent a subordinate to choose a meeting place in the village of Appomattox Court House. Ironically, the house...

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A lithograph depicting Robert E. Lee (right) formally surrendering to General Ulysses S. Grant (Library of Congress)

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