In the last days of March, 1865, Lieutenant General U. S. Grant had planned to assault General Robert E. Lee’s thinly-manned lines around Petersburg, Virginia.
He felt that enough time had dragged by in the nearly year-long campaign and that Lee could not withstand a simultaneous attack all along his lines. However, General Lee, anticipating the assault, attacked Grant first. That attempted break-out failed, and Lee began to fall back, abandoning Richmond in the process. The next few days were a blur as one savage battle after another was fought by a far- from-dead Army of Northern Virginia. But Lee was running out of time and food.
On April 7th, Grant sent the first letter to Lee of what became a short series of exchanges between the two generals, a series that culminating in the surrender meeting in the most unlikely of places for such a momentous event.
At the next KCWRT meeting, General Grant (played by historian Curt Fields) will talk of those letters and what was transpiring during the two days they were exchanged.
The General will also speak about the actual meeting between himself and General Lee, what was said, and what happened in the 75 or so minutes they were together in Wilmer McLean’s parlor. He will address what he said in the surrender letter he wrote to General Lee effectively ending the war, and why he wrote what he did. He will also touch briefly on the unintended ramifications his letter later had on President Andrew Johnson’s Cabinet and administration.
The next KCWRT meeting is Tuesday, March 14. Details are at the left of this page.