TALE OF A TABLE

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“The importance of the occasion suddenly burst upon the minds of the tired officers. They all wished to have some memento of the event and began offering Mr. McLean money for his few furnishings. Of course the table upon which Grant drew up the terms of the surrender was most desired. Handsome offers were made for it. Ord thought of his large family back home and of his small [army] pay and knew that he could not hope to bid [on] so valuable an object. But much to his amazement and the chagrin of the other officers, McLean said that he desired to make a gift of the table to General Ord. Why Ord? All wanted to know. Why, especially, Ord? Because, the owner of the coveted table explained, the starving lad that General Ord, a few months before in a moment of homesickness, had seen safely through his lines, was the son of Mr. McLean, who thanked God that the opportunity had been given him to express his gratitude and make some return for his great obligation. Ord replied that he was a poor man but that he realized that McLean was probably worse off than he, so he insisted on paying him all that he had in his wallet, forty dollars. The table, a marble topped, Victorian piece, stood always from that time on in General Ord’s parlor. . . .”

After General Ord’s death, the table eventually came into the possession of the Chicago Historical Society, where it remains to the present day.