Posted: April 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

Honor and Empathy in Triumph and Humiliation

There is nothing left for me to do but to go and see General Grant… and I would rather die a thousand deaths.” – Gen Robert E Lee, Appomattox Court House, VA – April 9, 1865

On they come, with the old swinging route step and swaying battle flags. In the van, the proud Confederate ensign. Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood; men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond; was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured?” – Maj Gen Joshua L Chamberlain, after receiving the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.



Chamberlain was clearly moved during the surrender ceremony, causing him to order his men to give the marching salute as the Rebels marched past. Confederate Major General John B Gordon was momentarily stunned, then he and his mount pivoted to face General Chamberlain. Removing his hat,  the General and his horse bowed, as one, before Gordon ordered his men to return the salute. This moment marked the beginning of the healing of our nation, and it is my favorite tidbit from all that is our Civil War. Revolutions, failed or not, do not normally end this way. It ranks as one of the most beautiful moments in our history.



This is a re-blog of a story I wrote four years ago and finally blogged in February of last year.

  1. Excellent work. I am a student of history who gravitates toward the individual human stories within the major events rather than accepting the “pressed” version of a country’s history. I have always loved the stories held within the civil war for a multitude of reasons. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Maybe our present Congress shou)d read and act the same way toward each other. I doubt it will happen though. Our leaders would probably not even understand my comment. Very well written.
    Regards and good will blogging.

  3. Manners and respect. They were well done. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  4. Everything about the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia was exemplary. Many cares were taken; many steps were taken toward peace.

  5. jhana jian says:

    “… with eyes looking level into ours.” I can almost see and feel the intensity of the moment. Very touching. Thank you.

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