Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lee's Surrender

150 years ago today General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House Virginia. General Ulysses S. Grant met Lee at the McLean house on the afternoon of Sunday, April 9, 1865 and after a discussion of terms Lee signed the surrender documents, handwritten by Grant,  just before 4 PM. News traveled a bit slower in those days, and most cities in the east didn't learn of the surrender until the following morning. Although pockets of resistance continued for another few weeks, the news would touch off wild celebrations across northern cities that would continue for the rest of the week.
From the Library of Congress.
The McLean House, Timothy O'Sullivan photo, from the Library of Congress
A rather fanciful Currier & Ives drawing, from The National Archives.
Lee's farewell, from the National Archives.
The Cleveland Morning Leader, April 10, 1865.
New York Tribune, April 10, 1865.
New York Times, April 10, 1865.

In Cleveland the news arrived in the pre-dawn hours of Monday, April 10th. Many were awaked by the booming of the "Old Secesh Cannon" (currently on display at the Grays Armory) and headed to Public Square where bonfires were quickly lit. The booming cannon shattered windows on several buildings, including the ones of the Leader's accounting room, Dudly Kimball had his hand blown off by a gun and was taken to Dr Weber's office. Flags and patriotic banners were hung from buildings, as was an effigy of Jefferson Davis, bands played and the celebrations continued throughout the week. A Day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by Ohio Governor Brough for Friday, April 14, when a giant salute of 100 cannon were fired. Prayers and services were held in overflowing churches. Of the approximately 10.000 men from Cuyahoga County that served in the war, 1,700 were killed, and hundreds more crippled and disabled. The celebrations ended on the morning of Saturday, April 15th when news of an unspeakable crime reached the city.

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