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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Springtime in Appomattox

On this date . . . the 9th day of April . . . in the year 1865 . . . at Appomattox Court House in Virginia . . . Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant . . . this General Lee is said to be a 5th cousin 8 times removed to President Obama . . . and a 3rd cousin twice removed to Cole Younger . . . and a 3rd cousin 4 x removed to President Kennedy . . . and he is possibly a 4th cousin twice removed to William Paschal Henry (1832-1912) . . . who is a 2nd great-grandpa to the Keeper of this family history blog. Upon Lee’s death five years later, the New York Herald wrote the following obituary . . .

On a quiet autumn morning, in the land which he loved so well and served so faithfully, the spirit of Robert Edward Lee left the clay which it had so much ennobled and traveled out of this world into the great and mysterious land. Here in the North, forgetting that the time was when the sword of Robert Edward Lee was drawn against us -- forgetting and forgiving all the years of bloodshed and agony -- we have long since ceased to look upon him as the Confederate leader, but have claimed him as one of ourselves; have cherished and felt proud of his military genius; have recounted and recorded his triumphs as our own; have extolled his virtue as reflecting upon us -- for Robert Edward Lee was an American, and the great nation which gave him birth would be today unworthy of such a son if she regarded him lightly. . . .

And then, fifty years after Appomattox . . .

The New York Times
April 9, 1915

Fifty years ago today, with the surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, of General Lee to General Grant, the hearts of a great people were cheered by the promise of peace after a struggle of four years. "The Republic," as Henry J. Raymond wrote in an editorial article printed in The New York Time April 11, 1865, "rested again, and upon foundations as eternal as the hills." Few of us can recall the feelings of the people of the North on that day, after a victory that had been postponed for so many weary months, which are so vividly expressed in the article which is reprinted on this page today. In the South, too, the prospect of peace after the unequal struggle was welcome. It is all in the dim past now. There is no North, there is no South We do not recall Appomattox as a triumph of arms, but as the beginning of the complete restoration of that union which shall never again be severed.

Further reading . . .


Ruth said...

Wow, awesome!

Thanks for posting this!

BeNotForgot said...

Thank you for stopping by, Ruth -- glad you enjoyed this one.

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