09 April 2010

145 Years Ago Today

“I turned about, and there behind me, riding between my two lines, appeared a commanding form, superbly mounted, richly accoutered, of imposing bearing, noble countenance, with expression of deep sadness overmastered by deeper strength. It is none other than Robert E. Lee! … I sat immovable, with a certain awe and admiration.” ~ Union General Joshua Chamberlain at Appomattox.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just wish that some of those who hold themselves up as the defenders of the Union cause could show the same amount of respect as Gen. Chamberlin did toward Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy 145 years ago today.BTW I betcha he would't have a problem with Confederate History Month either.

TG

M Simons said...

It is a sad day indeed for all of us who love the South.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Yeah, me too.

Mark said...

Why is it sad that the killing ended? Why is it a sad day that the institution of slavery was coming to an end? Why is it sad that this date signaled the beginning of a new era, one that would make the United States the strongest and richest country in the world--with some of the ex-Confederate states in the forefront of that economy today? Can someone explain this "sense of sadness" to me?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Mark:

That's a legitimate question, but please don't put words in anyone's mouth. No one laments the end of slavery - at least not anyone I know. That's absurd. Moreover, it was Lee who did not want to see the killing continue. Grant is the one who seemed to be willing to continue to supply an endless supply of human cannon fodder.

The sense of sadness to which I'm referring was eloquently expressed by none other than General Grant:

“My own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on receipt of Lee’s letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and so valiantly and had suffered so much for a cause.”

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

PS - so how would you explain Grant's "sadness?"

Michael Bradley said...

Private Andrew Jackson Bradley,
1st Tennessee Infantry, was there, under arms, present for duty.

I revere his memory.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Thank you Professor.

Jeffry Burden said...

It's always seemed clear to me that he was showing empathy, warrior to warrior, for Lee (and by extension, his command.) Are you suggesting he was sad purely because he couldn't continue fighting? What do you base that on?

Chaps said...

I feel sad for the same reason Grant did and also for the beginning of the end of Constitutional government in America. Lee's surrender acknowledged that the Federal government, by force of arms, could compel citizens of several States to submit to a government to which they did not consent.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Jeffrey:

You ask two questions and your second one assumes you know the answer to your first one - which you don't. So I would ask you, what do you base that on?

The answer to your first question is no. Your second question is, therefore, irrelevant.

Thanks for the input.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Jeffrey: BTW, I agree with your statement: "he was showing empathy, warrior to warrior, for Lee."

Too bad there are many who can't do the same today.

Jeffry Burden said...

Richard-

I agree, empathy is an all-too-rare commodity.

Justs to be clear, my question stemmed from your comment above: "Moreover, it was Lee who did not want to see the killing continue. Grant is the one who seemed to be willing to continue to supply an endless supply of human cannon fodder."

I apparently misunderstood your implication there.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

No problem Jeffrey. It is evident from the words and conduct of both men that their respect was mutual.

It does appear, however, that Grant was willing to continue the colossal loss of human life, while Lee, at least by this point, was less inclined. Of course, it is important to remember that Lee did not have near the human resources that Grant did. He honestly believed he had done his very best, but any further loss of life, particularly Southern soldiers, would not be best for the South, which now faced the task of rebuilding their country and every man would be needed.

Thanks again for your input.

MSimons said...

Well since people want to know; I am sad over the lose of Life, Liberty and human cost that my kin paid for daily till his death in 1933.