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The Appomattox

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Introduction

In the article "America's Birth At Appomattox", Wortham discusses how the reconciliation between the Union and Confederate officers and soldiers was played out around the 1860's in Appomattox. According to Wortham this occurred after Lee surrendered and when the Confederates stacked their arms, folded their flags and were paroled. Wortham discusses how the United States was born in the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. "Lee signed not so much terms of surrender as he did the birth certificate of a nation- the United States- and the country was born in that moment." (Robertson) Abraham Lincoln believed that reconciliation was an explicit policy goal. The problem that Lincoln had was that he didn't know how to end the war and win the peace at the same time. Lincoln argued that the Union's aim should be only to conquer the Confederates but to get rid of those forces that put the peace at risk. If the North won the war and lost the peace Lincoln said there would be no way for the entire country to ever find the reunion and freedom that would pay off for all those years of war. Lincoln understood that what he wanted wouldn't become true without surrendering. ...read more.

Middle

(Wortham, 158) Lee said that the four years in which he served he had learned that his men were brave, and that they deserved to return home in peace with the satisfaction that they had done their job. Lee gave his farewells and gave his men the right words to take with them on their future. Many believed the Confederates were wrong in belief but they also said, "They fought as they were taught, true to such ideals as they saw, and put into their cause their best." (Wortham, 158) The next day on April 10th Grant's generals asked him if they could cross the Confederate lines to meet with old friends. Grant sat waiting for his officers to prepare everything so his army could leave Appomattox. His officers arrived with many of Grant's comrades. These comrades included Cadmus Wilcox who was Grant's best man at his wedding, Henry Heth who had been a subaltern with Grant in Mexico, George Pickett and others. Grant talked to them until he left and later on wrote the officers saying "the officers seemed to enjoy the meeting as much as though they had been friends separated for a long time while fighting battles under the same flag. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lee's victories prolonged the war until it destroyed slavery, the plantation economy, the wealth and infrastructure of the region, and everything else the confederacy stood for. That was the profound irony of Lee's military genius." (Wortham, 161) This article fits its time period greatly because it helped me understand how important Lee and Grant were to the United States. This article explained with accurate facts what happened at the Appomattox Courthouse and how significant it was to the nation. After Reading this article everything makes sense and is very understandable. This article has no historiographical debate due to the fact that it gives the reader facts. There is no debate because the author tells us what happened from what he has researched. No other authors are mentioned throughout the article, except those who provide more examples of what occurred. In conclusion, that April afternoon of 1865 was very significant to the establishment of the nation. The surrender of Lee's Army gave a big presence of the peace and reconciliation that Lincoln wanted. Lincoln thought it would be impossible but he realized that day in 1865 that it was possible. America had never been united, after this event America was on the road of becoming American. For Lee's troops it was a little humiliating but they were happy, knowing that one day someone would be thankful for what happened this day. ...read more.

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