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TO MRS. BIXBY
Executive Mansion, Washington, November 21, 1864. MRS. BIXBY, Boston, Massachusetts:
EAR MADAM: I have been shown in the files of the
War Department a statement of the Adjutant-Gen
eral of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
TERMS OF LEE'S SURRENDER
[The following letters exchanged by Generals Grant and Lee give the terms under which the latter surrendered his army and practically brought to a close the War of Secession.]
"Appomattox Court-House, Virginia, April 9, 1865. ENERAL: In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th instant, I propose to receive
Ι the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate, one copy to be given to an officer to be designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the government of the United States until properly exchanged; and each company or regimental commander to sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery, and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officers appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to his home, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.
“U. S. GRANT, Lieutenant-General.
6 General R. E. Lee."
“ Head-Quarters, Army of Northern Virginia,
April 9, 1865. “GENERAL: I received your letter of this date containing the terms of the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, as proposed by you. As they are substantially the same as those expressed in your letter of the 8th instant, they are accepted. I will proceed to designate the proper officers to carry the stipulations into effect.
“R. E. LEE, General. Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant."
"Head-Quarters, Army of Northern Virginia,
April 10, 1865. FTER four years of arduous service, marked by unsur
passed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern
Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources. I need not tell the survivors of so many hard-fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them: but, feeling that valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuation of the contest, I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen. By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain there until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you His blessing and protection. With an increasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.
"R. E. LEE, General."
(1865) [By the date of Lincoln's second inauguration, the tide of war had turned in favour of the Union, and the end was in sight. The tone of the address, however, is subdued rather than triumphant, and it rises to a rare pitch of eloquence, marked by a singular combination of tenderness and determination.]
VELLOW-COUNTRYMEN: At this second appear
ing to take the oath of the Presidential office, there
is less occasion for an extended address than there was at first. Then, a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it—all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war-seeking to dissolve the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.