- Historic Sites
"So Ends The Great Rebel Army…”
To Union Colonel Charles S. Wainwright, Lincoln was a weak President, Grant an uninspired commander, Lee a slippery foe. His outspoken diary, never published before, memorably describes the Civil War’s final year
October 1962 | Volume 13, Issue 6
I rode in to look at the rebel camp today, but found that the lines were not yet open for general passing. I was, however, far more fortunate than I expected, for I chanced to get down to the lines while Grant and Lee were having their last interview, which gave me an excellent opportunity to see the latter. Lee is a fine, English looking man; somewhat stout, with a florid complexion and white hair; his appearance is decidedly that of a gentleman. The meeting took place near a small stream, in the road, and all were mounted. What its object was, or what was said on either side, I do not know. In the Tavern, I saw Longstreet, Pickctt, Gordon, Heath, and a number of their other generals. The grey uniform is very handsome when good, and new; setting off a fine looking man to great advantage.
Tonight the men are celebrating the surrender with improvised fireworks. It was some time before I could make out how they managed to obtain what appeared to be hundreds of roman candles, but at last discovered that they were shooting rebel fuses from their muskets with small charges of powder. These exactly resembled the balls thrown out by roman candles. The effect together with the camp fires, was really beautiful.