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Appomattox Court House

The Battle of Appomattox Court House contributed greatly to the end

of the Civil War. As Ulysses S. Grant begins to cut off Robert E. Lee’s supply

lines the tension grows between them. Grant is pushing Lee hard and trying

to make him surrender, but Lee tries to push on for a little longer. The Battle

of Appomattox Court House began because Ulysses S. Grant was cutting off

supplies to Lee’s army, which resulted in a major conflict that caused the

surrender of Lee to Grant, and contributed to the end of the Civil War.

The major cause of the Appomattox Court House Battle was Ulysses S.

Grant. Grant started to barricade Petersburg and Richmond trying to cut off

Lee’s supply lines. Grants Major General Philip Sheridan’s cavalry attacked

Lee’s flank and at the Battle of Five Forks he achieved significant

breakthrough. Once Lee’s supply lines were cut off Lee had to abandon their

trenches. Lee then directed his army towards Appomattox’s station where

another supply awaited him. On April 6 Sheridan’s cavalry cut nearly one

fourth of Lee’s army off. Lee’s army attacked, but was driven back and most

of the 7,700 confederates surrendered. This delay prevented Lee from

reaching the station by late afternoon on April 8, which allowing Sheridan to

capture the supplies. With his supplies gone at Appomattox Lee headed west

to Lynchburg where there were more supplies. The only thing that stood
between Lee and Lynchburg was a Union cavalry, which he hoped the break

through before infantry arrived.

Lee prayed to make it in time to before infantry arrived between him

and Lynchburg. The Army of James traveled thirty miles in twenty-one hours

to reach the Union cavalry. The army arrived at four a.m. with the Army of

the Potomac close behind. Sheridan set up three divisions of cavalry along a

low ridge south-west of Appomattox Court House. On the dawn of April 9

confederate soldiers under Major General John B. Gordon attacked and

forced back the first line but were slowed down by the second. Gordon’s

cavalry charged through and took the ridge. Colonel Charles Venable of Lee’s

staff rode in for an assessment. Gordon said the he has fought his company

to a state of exhaustion and he feared they could do nothing else. Upon

hearing this Lee decided to surrender. Many of Lee’s officers supported his

decision. Lee fought hard, but lost in the end.

Lee surrender turned out to be not so bad after all. After the surrender

Grant gave Lee the option of choosing the place of his surrender. Lee chose

an 1848 brick home of Wilmer Mclean. At eight a.m. Lee rode out to meet

Grant accompanied by three aides. After several hours of written

communication Grant and Lee proposed a cease fire. When Grant met Lee at

the house it was the first time the two had seen each other face to face in

almost two decades. Lee couldn’t have hoped for better surrender terms.

Lee’s men would not be imprisoned and they would also be allowed to take
their horses and mules back home to start farming. When Lee left Grants

men began to cheer, but Grant ordered them to stop and said, “I at once

sent word, however, to have it stopped, he said “The confederates were our

countrymen and did not want to exult there downfalls.” On April 10 Lee gave

a farewell to his army. Lee fought hard and was respected in the end.

Grant’s army turned out to be too tough for Lee. Ulysses S. Grant was

aware the Lee was only a single army that had given up, and that there were

one hundred and seventy five thousand confederate soldiers still in the field.

It was a matter of time before the whole confederate army began to

surrender. As news spread of Lee’s surrender others realized the strength of

the confederacy was fading. Grants persistence and quick planning led to the

weakening of the confederate army. Lee never forgot Grants great

generosity during the surrender, and for the rest of his life he did not tolerate

any unkind words about Grant in his presence. The conflicts that Grant and

Lee had would made some people dislike each other, but they were humble

and realized that they were just another man fighting for what he believed.