On April 3, Richmond fell to Union troops as Robert E. Lee led his Army of Northern Virginia westward, pursued by Grant and the Army of the Potomac. One hundred and fifty years ago today, General Grant initiated a series of dispatches, which led up to a meeting between the two commanders.
“General R.E. Lee, Commanding C.S.A.:
5 P.M., April 7th, 1865.
The results of the last week must convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so, and regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further effusion of blood by asking of you the surrender of that portion of the Confederate States army known as the Army of Northern Virginia.
U.S. Grant, Lieutenant-General”
Lee promptly responded:
“April 7th, 1865.
General: I have received your note of this date. Though not entertaining the opinion you express of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia, I reciprocate your desire to avoid useless effusion of blood, and therefore, before considering your proposition, ask the terms you will offer on condition of its surrender.
R.E. Lee, General.”
It was the end of the end for the Army of Northern Virginia, the Confederacy, and the Civil War.