The War of 1812

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The Appomattox Court House is not just a location or building, it holds a monumental significance to which none can beat. The Appomattox Courthouse was home to Wilmer McLean, who ironically took the house up because he did not like his previous home location, where he witnessed the first battle of manassas. He would get away where there wouldnt be any more fighting and so he moved to the Appomattox Court House which is where they decided to end the war. The Appomattox Courthouse was such a big even that anything could have altered the results. THe surrender could have never happened, Richard E Lee could have been stubborn and not seen the end result and the war would have continued until it stopped due to the lack of soldiers, which is why the surrender took place in the first place. We never realize how dramatic the surrender really was, we have been taught the simple facts like who won and lost. Below you will take a walk with both ULysses S.Grant and Richard E. Lee to experience the infamous surrender at the Appomattox Courthouse.

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The War of 1812 was from June 1812 through February 1815 peace arrangements started in late 1814, slow communication caused the downfall of many of the soldiers, due to the fact that they continued to fight because they hadnt found out of a surrender. The War of 1812 became a global conflict. England and France spent 1789 through 1815 fighting for superiority . The British were impressing or forcibly drafting, American sailors at sea as well as blocking American trade with France both of these were also spillover policies from the British prosecution of the war with France. The war at the end led to a peaceful trade system between Britain, the United States, and Canada. But the war also caused tensions towards the north and south, the north did not want to go to war with Britain as it was then the Industrial Revolution. But the south on the other hand did, saying how the French helped them when they needed it, so to pay them back they helped them.

The War of 1812 was not a war between two nations, but rather a civil war, in which brother fought brother in a borderland of mixed peoples. There are really four parts that makes this was a civil war. One,was the American government versus the British over who would rule upper Canada. Next was the fact that the Federalsists were against the war and some were even in favor of the British, and would help them to win. The third point I have not heard of very much, which is the Irish. The Irish just immigrated to the U.S and are having to fight against one another. And the last point that will be made is well known, the Indians. The Native Americans took it upon themselves to join the British and fight agaisnt the U.S in hopes that if they win then the U.S will no longer try to push them out of their lands. Lee saw that there was no way to continue the war, with how his arm lay as well as the fact that he only had 30,000 soldiers left, half of which were weaponless. It was time to discontinue the war.

Lee states, There is nothing left me but to go and see General Grant, and I had rather die a thousand deaths. Even though we see over and over again that there was no way he could continue, there is no way he could still continue even though more than half of his men were hurt. We have to understand that the surrender at the Appomattox Courthouse could have definitely not happened. Richard E Lee could have definitely continued to fight. If he had lesser moral integrity he could have carelessly just told his men to take to the hills, to fight as partisans and guerrillas and not look back until each men had fallen. This would have caused the war to be going on year after year, month after dreadful month, until they killed every Yankee they encountered south of the Mason- Dixon Line. Instead, he used his brain and told Colonel Charles Marshall to go forward and find a house where he could meet General Grant. Ulysses S Grant seems like a rational man as well. If you read his personal memoirs that were published in 1885 it talks about how he feels sadness and depressed even though he should be joyous about the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so long for a cause.. He also seems to admire how Richard E Lee dresses and composes himself. In his memoir it statesI must have contrasted very strangely with a man so handsomely dressed, six feet high and of faultless form.

In his personal memoirs it seems as if they are almost like friends. He seems so state how their conversation was so pleasant that I almost forgot the object of our meeting. Ulysses S Grant proves to be a rational man when he proposes his terms for Lees army. He told Lee that he simply just wanted his army to lay down their arms and not to take them back up for the rest of the war, unless dutly and properly exchanged. He would not take any prisoners, but he just requested that Lees narmy lay down their arms until called upon because even the the principal confederate army had vanished the war was still not over. The surrender at the Appomattox deserves an award for how well each side took it. Ulysses S. Grant was very mature and wanted no harm or arguments with his opposing side, he even allowed the officers to keep their sidearms and horses. He even said that everyone would get to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles In one of the letters Grant wrote to Lee it states: In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th instant, I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. 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 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 sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery, and public property are to be parked and stacked and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done officers and man will be allowed to return to their homes not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their parole and the laws in force where they may reside. But we can not give Ulysses all the credit, Robert E Lee also had a major part in this, if he listened to some of his generals about the fact that he should disperse the troops and start a guerilla warfare, which would indeed have been very difficult for the union army to stamp out. Then it would lead to prolonged bitterness and prevent any reconciliation. Now if this was any other person then maybe the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse might have not ended so peacefully, or for that matter might not have even occured. Before we can point fingers we must establish what went down before the surrender at the Appomattox Courthouse. After leaving Petersburg, Lees malnourished army headed west to try and find a path around Grant’s army.

Fighting all day as if to not stop until every last man was down to the ground. There were small fights breaking out all around them, which made up side shows of the main performance. With all that was going on General Lee maintained to keep his soldiers spirits high with his calm and cheerful presence. Lee and his army had gone through hell and back, and to add on to this baggage the Union troops decided to , in the Battle of Saylers Creek, cut off and capture a third of Lees army. With all this Lee and his army marched on, they tried to slow down the Union troops by burning down a bridge, which ultimately had no effect because the union soldiers came intime to blow out the fire. You would think by now Lee would be ready for a surrender, but even after Grant sent him a letter for surrender, he just gave it off to JAmes Longstreet who said, No not yet. And with that the soldiers got back up thinking that God would be on their side only to find that once again they would fall, and this time Lee agreed to the surrender, because there was nothing left for him, and he knew that if they kept on fighting, all of his soldiers would just die off.

The surrender at the Appomattox Courthouse can be seen as a peaceful yet stressful time. We dont realize how stressful this must have been for Lee, we only know that, oh Grant won against lee and thats about it. With the research done we can see that Grant had a lengthy conversation with Lee to plan the surrender, as well as Grant having a panic attack as one should right before meeting General Lee. All of which will be explained in the following paragraph. After the Union troops had most obviously won, there had appeared to be a night march that, had become a grand review, with Grant as the reviewing officer. Three men had visited General Grant, about sending some sort of message to Lee to end any further bloodshed. So with that request in mind Grant proceeded to write, 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…by asking of you the surrender of…the Army of Northern Virginia. After Lee received the letter he went on to say how he agreed with not wanting any more useless bloodshed, …therefore before considering your proposition, ask terms you will offer on condition of surrender.

So Grant layed down all of his conditions, but seeing how much Lee had suffered he didnt make it that Lees army had to be prisoners, he gave them food and anything they needed. Grant and his army headed in the direction of the Appomattox, and stopped at many places for food and shelter until they reached their final destination. At the end of their trip Grant started feeling sick. General Grant had been suffering from a severe headache, the result of fatigue, anxiety,…and loss of sleep We would think this is due to some sort of food poisoning or sickness, but no. This was merely because he was anxious to meet Lee as well as the fact that he was getting sick.. As General Grant lay at rest on the sofa, Colonel Charles A. Whittier handed him the letter that Lee wrote to him saying, …In mine of yesterday I did not intend to propose the surrender of the army of Northern Virginia.To be frank, I do not think the emergency has arisen to call for the surrender but the restoration of peace should be the sole object of all… And So Grant replied saying how he agreed that peace was their number one priority as well. He then sent the location for the interview and continued to head straight to the Appomattox Courthouse. Lee was there and ready for them. He met a man named Wilmer Mclean who was a resident and showed him to a house, but Lee didnt feel it spacious enough.

This is when he was led to Mcleans own house, which was said to be one of the finest in town. Lee and his army was there first so they went inside and gto comfortable. Later then did General Grant arrive, and him and his army slowly and quietly situated themselves in the room. As the two leaders sat across from each other they both had a strong contrast. First off General Grant was almost forty-three years and Richard E. Lee was almost sixty-three years. He had a normal height of five feet and eight inches, whereas Lee was much taller with a good six feet in height. General Grants uniform could be said as that of a private soldier. Then we look over at Lee and see he has on his best outfit, and that all the men around him are wearing clean pressed uniforms of felt and silk. Colonel Marshal explained this contrast best by saying, when their headquarters wagons had been pressed so closely by our cavalry a few days before, and it was found they had to destroy all their baggage , except the clothes they carried on their backs, each one naturally, selected the newest suit he had, and sought to perpetuate the god of destruction by a sacrifice of his second best.

After three days there was a formal ceremony taken place to the break up of Lees army and parole of his men which ended the war. We see this in the picture to the right, we also notice what Colonel Marshal said about how the Union didnt dress as high class as Lees army. Richard E Lee left his men with his very thoughtful words which state: After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources. I need not tell the brave 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 valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest, I 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 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 unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell. The surrender at the Appomattox Courthouse was such a huge event it became something of myth. It all started with Richard E Lee leaving the courthouse, out of everyone Lee took it the hardest. Lee should be a role model to us all even after everything that he went through he said nothing and didnt complain he kept his head held high and continued with his wife by his side. Surrendering hadn’t been easy for Lee. Sullen from defeat, his own family property in Arlington had been confiscated by Union forces (converted into a Union cemetery with lines of white crosses on the lawn). Even though Lee and his army had to surrender we see that if he was a hot headed person then he would not care if all his soldiers died, he would rather finish the fight even though he was clearly loosing, than calling it quits before any more unnecessary blood would be shed. In some ways he can be seen as a hero.

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The War Of 1812. (2019, May 18). Retrieved January 28, 2023 , from

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