History Lives: Lincoln and Grant

Executive Mansion,

Washington, July 13, 1863

Major General Grant

My dear General,

I do not remember that you and I ever met personally.

I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost inestimable service you have done the country.

I wish to say a word further.

When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg, I thought you should do, what you finally did -- march the troops across the neck, run the batteries with the transports, and thus go below; and I never had any faith, except a general hope that you knew better than I, that the Yazoo Pass expedition, and the like, could succeed.

When you got below, and took Port-Gibson, Grand Gulf, and vicinity, I thought you should go down the river and join Gen. Banks; and when you turned Northward East of the Big Black, I feared it was a mistake.

I now wish to make the personal acknowledgment that you were right, and I was wrong.

Yours very truly

A. Lincoln

“On the 8th [of April] I had followed the Army of the Potomac in rear of Lee.

I was suffering very severely with a sick headache, and stopped at a farmhouse on the road some distance in rear of the main body of the army.

I spent the night in bathing my feet in hot water and mustard, and putting mustard plasters on my wrists and the back part of my neck, hoping to be cured by morning.

During the night I received Lee’s answer to my letter of the 8th, inviting an interview between the lines on the following morning . . . when the officer reached me I was still suffering with the sick headache; but the instant I saw the contents of the note I was cured.

April 9, 1865 - Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant


I ask a suspension of hostilities pending the discussion of the Terms of surrender of this army in the interview which I requested in my former communication of Today

R E Lee

“ . . . When I had left camp that morning I had not expected so soon the result that was then taking place,

and consequently was in rough garb. I was without a sword, as I usually was when on horseback on the field, and wore a soldier’s blouse for a coat, with the shoulder straps of my rank to indicate to the army who I was. When I went into the house I found General Lee. We greeted each other, and after shaking hands took our seats. In had my staff with me, a good portion of whom were in the room during the whole of the interview.

my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on the receipt of his letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse..”

From The Chicago Tribune, 1865

Grant's 200th Birthday

Watch the Rifle Salute commemorating Ulysses S. Grant's 200th Birthday at Grant's Tomb in New York City.

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

Abraham Lincoln,

Second Inaugural Address; April 10, 1865

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