General Ulysses S. Grant
"When news of the surrender first reached our lines our men commenced firing a salute of a hundred guns
in honor of the victory. I at once sent word, however, to have it stopped. The Confederates were now our prisoners, and we did
not want to exult over their downfall."
Ulysses S. Grant, April 9, 1865, Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant (New York, 1885), pages 555-560.
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"As soon as our troops took possession of the city, guards were established along the whole line of parapet, from the river
above to the river below. The prisoners were allowed to occupy their old camps behind the intrenchments. No restraint was put upon
them, except by their own commanders. They were rationed about as our own men, and from our supplies. The men of the two armies
fraternized as if they had been fighting for the same cause. When they passed out of the works they had so long and so gallantly
defended, between the lines of their late antagonists, not a cheer went up, not a remark was made that would give pain. I believe
there was a feeling of sadness among the Union soldiers at seeing the dejection of their late antagonists."
Ulysses S. Grant, Chapter 38: Surrender of Vicksburg, Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant (New York, 1885)
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"As I would be under short-range fire and in an open country, I took nobody with me, except, I believe, a bugler, who stayed
some distance to the rear. I rode from our right around to our left. When I came to the camp of the picket guard of our side, I
heard the call, "Turn out the guard for the commanding general" I replied, "Never mind the guard," and they
were dismissed and went back to their tents. Just back of these, and about equally distant from the creek, were the guards of the
Confederate pickets. The sentinel on their post called out in like manner, "Turn out the guard for the commanding general,"
and I believe, added, "General Grant." Their line in a moment front-faced to the north, facing me, and gave a salute,
which I returned.
The most friendly relations seemed to exist between the pickets of the two armies. At one place there was a tree which had fallen
across the stream, and which was used by the soldiers of both armies in drawing water for their camps. General Longstreet's corps
was stationed there at the time, and wore blue of a little different shade from our uniform. Seeing a soldier in blue on this log,
I rode up to him, commenced conversing with him, and asked whose corps he belonged to. He was very polite, and, touching his hat
to me, said he belonged to General Longstreet's corps. I asked him a few questions--but not with a view of gaining any particular
information--all of which he answered, and I rode off."
Ulysses S. Grant, Chapter 41: Chattanooga - On the Picket Line, Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant
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"Grant began by expressing a hope that the war would soon be over, and Lee replied by stating that he had for some time been
anxious to stop the further effusion of blood, and he trusted that everything would now be done to restore harmony and conciliate
the people of the South. He said the emancipation of the Negroes would be no hindrance to the restoring of relations between the
two sections of the country, as it would probably not be the desire of the majority of the Southern people to restore slavery then,
even if the question were left open to them."
Horace Porter, Brevet Brigadier General, U.S.A., The Surrender at Appomattox Court House
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"It was very much discussed whether the South would carry out its threat to secede and set up a separate government, the
cornerstone of which should be, protection to the "Divine" institution of slavery. For there were people who believed in the
"divinity" of human slavery, as there are now people who believe Mormonism and Polygamy to be ordained by the Most High.
We forgive them for entertaining such notions, but forbid their practice. It was generally believed that there would be a flurry;
that some of the extreme Southern States would go so far as to pass ordinances of secession. But the common impression was that
this step was so plainly suicidal for the South, that the movement would not spread over much of the territory and would not last
Doubtless the founders of our government, the majority of them at least, regarded the confederation of the colonies as an
experiment. Each colony considered itself a separate government; that the confederation was for mutual protection against a
foreign foe, and the prevention of strife and war among themselves. If there had been a desire on the part of any single State to
withdraw from the compact at any time while the number of States was limited to the original thirteen, I do not suppose there
would have been any to contest the right, no matter how much the determination might have been regretted. The problem
changed on the ratification of the Constitution by all the colonies; it changed still more when amendments were added; and if the
right of any one State to withdraw continued to exist at all after the ratification of the Constitution, it certainly ceased on the
formation of new States, at least so far as the new States themselves were concerned. It was never possessed at all by Florida or
the States west of the Mississippi, all of which were purchased by the treasury of the entire nation. Texas and the territory brought
into the Union in consequence of annexation, were purchased with both blood and treasure; and Texas, with a domain greater than
that of any European state except Russia, was permitted to retain as state property all the public lands within its borders. It would
have been ingratitude and injustice of the most flagrant sort for this State to withdraw from the Union after all that had been spent
and done to introduce her; yet, if separation had actually occurred, Texas must necessarily have gone with the South, both on account
of her institutions and her geographical position. Secession was illogical as well as impracticable; it was revolution.
Now, the right of revolution is an inherent one. When people are oppressed by their government, it is a natural right they enjoy to
relieve themselves of the oppression, if they are strong enough, either by withdrawal from it, or by overthrowing it and substituting
a government more acceptable. But any people or part of a people who resort to this remedy, stake their lives, their property, and
every claim for protection given by citizenship on the issue. Victory, or the conditions imposed by the conqueror must be the result.
In the case of the war between the States it would have been the exact truth if the South had said, "We do not want to live with
you Northern people any longer; we know our institution of slavery is obnoxious to you, and, as you are growing numerically
stronger than we, it may at some time in the future be endangered. So long as you permitted us to control the government, and
with the aid of a few friends at the North to enact laws constituting your section a guard against the escape of our property, we
were willing to live with you. You have been submissive to our rule heretofore; but it looks now as if you did not intend to continue
so, and we will remain in the Union no longer." Instead of this the seceding States cried lustily, "Let us alone; you have no
constitutional power to interfere with us." Newspapers and people at the North reiterated the cry. Individuals might ignore the
constitution; but the Nation itself must not only obey it, but must enforce the strictest construction of that instrument; the
construction put upon it by the Southerners themselves. The fact is the constitution did not apply to any such contingency as the
one existing from 1861 to 1865. Its framers never dreamed of such a contingency occurring. If they had foreseen it, the
probabilities are they would have sanctioned the right of a State or States to withdraw rather than that there should be war
The framers were wise in their generation and wanted to do the very best possible to secure their own liberty and independence,
and that also of their descendants to the latest days. It is preposterous to suppose that the people of one generation can lay down
the best and only rules of government for all who are to come after them, and under unforeseen contingencies. At the time of the
framing of our constitution the only physical forces that had been subdued and made to serve man and do his labor, were the
currents in the streams and in the air we breathe. Rude machinery, propelled by water power, had been invented; sails to propel
ships upon the waters had been set to catch the passing breeze but the application of stream to propel vessels against both wind
and current, and machinery to do all manner of work had not been thought of. The instantaneous transmission of messages around the
world by means of electricity would probably at that day have been attributed to witchcraft or a league with the Devil. Immaterial
circumstances had changed as greatly as material ones. We could not and ought not to be rigidly bound by the rules laid down under
circumstances so different for emergencies so utterly unanticipated. The fathers themselves would have been the first to declare
that their prerogatives were not irrevocable. They would surely have resisted secession could they have lived to see the shape it
Ulysses S. Grant, Chapter 16: Discussing Secession, Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant