American Civil War and Surrender at Appomattox Courthouse

American civil war forms a significant part of American history. Fought from conflicting interests between the Union and the Confederates, the war lasted for four years and led to more casualties than all the wars the country had edged into, combined. The war also marked the turning point for their unity of the American people, which stands even today. During the war, the union had over two million army officers in the field while the Confederates had another one a million soldiers. Despite lasting for four years, the division between the American people on the lines of confederates and national unity remained a problem for the next governments that had to completely deal with and eliminate.

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In addition to contributing to the war, generals also form an important part of the history as they took part in ending the wars. Ulysses Grant was the general commanding the American or union troops and Robert lee led the federal men. After the results of the war were predictable, Lee realized that his army’s future in the military rebellion was heading for a defeat. He requested a meeting with Grant where they would discuss the surrender conditions with Grant. The characters and response of these two generals formed in important part in ending the civil war that had claimed several American lives.

Grant was a strong supporter of President Lincoln in protecting the rights of the African Americans and ending slavery. It was one of the causes of civil war. He later became the 18th president of the United States. The Ohio born Native American was an aggressive and determined leader. The success of the civil war made Grant a hero and he qualified to win the support of the republicans to be nominated to run for president. As strong believer in the American unity, he spent a considerable effort to unite the north and the south even after he was president. Grant spent time in his memoirs where were published after his death. In the memoirs, he notes of the civil war and the meeting between him and lee to discuss the unconditional surrender of the confederates during the civil war (official records of the rebellion, n.d).

Grant won his reputation by capturing over the confederate strongholds during the civil war where he led military campaigns that brought down the confederate army. His most remarkable success was the surrender of the confederate army general Robert lee in the Appomattox court in Virginia. This marked the end of the civil war. Grant star continued to shine even further after the war and even in the times of the Lincolns successor where he was crowned the first four star general.

Grants showed great compassion and respect for lee for choosing to surrender and end the four-year civil war. Although he had been defeated anyway, lee chose the best way is to approach Grant to discuss the surrender terms in which Grant openly accepted.

Grant and Robert had many other similarities and differences. They were both renowned military leaders who had taken part in the Mexican war and won the victory for the United States. They both schooled at west point. Apart from representing, the north and the south in the civil, Grant and Robert had many similarities in and skilled in the position they held in the military. They marked excellence brilliance in the battlefield and considered similar approach in military approach. The civil war marked the highest point of their military careers although rant proceeded to become president of the United States (Grant, 1885).

The American civil war brought Grant into the limelight. He noted he nearly failed to enlist in the military after succeeding and rising through several ranks and proving to be a great military leader, he notes that Lincoln noted Robert as the man he was looking for. Lincoln noted that he had spent two years looking for a military leaders but Robert has proved to have the skills he required and appointed him the leader of the armies in the union. On the other hand, lee was from a military family and he joining the military was part of continuing with his family tradition. The general had maintained a high profile in the, military and at one time President Lincoln requested him to be the leaders of the union armies but he declined.  Lee was conscious about the increasing difference between the south and the north and could not fight against his own state alongside the northerners who was moving to abolish the slavery. He therefore opted to his own people the southerner s in defending for their cause. According to Robert, the interests of his home state Virginia were more important the interests of the Union as a whole. His patriotism was directed to his state as opposed to the union (the American life, 2011).

Other differences between lee and Robert started in their schooling. Robert was bright and graduated at the second position while Grant graduated as position 21 where both classes were 39 in total. Their differences are also sent in their personal life before the way as illustrated in the memoir and the documentary. Whereas Robert was always sober and well-presentenced, proper and clean clothing, Grant rather had drinking problems and was careless about the clothes and dressing while very lonely. He had failed in the business ventures that he wanted to invest in farming and business. It was also reported that Grant turned bankruptcy after the presidency after beating and failing in huge amounts of fortunes. This is an illustration of his degree of carelessness and disorganization. While president, his regime was filled with corruption scandals, although he was not directly involved, he demonstrated lack of sufficient control on his administration and was the main reason why he declined in popularity. The other similarity is style of leadership where Grant focused his strategies on overpowering the tired enemy. He also relied on the supplies from the north for is army. Robert of the other hand was keen on mastering weakens of the enemy and their anticipating enemies while planning his attack. Although he lost to the Grant after the war, he had proven to be of the greatest military commanders in the history of the United States (Grant, 1885).

The decision to surrender was influenced by the fall of Pittsburg and the Richmond. His character of pursing peace after realizing that his path of succeeding illustrated the remorseful kind of man Robert was. He rather then sought more bloodshed sought to reach out to Grant to discuss the surrender of his army. The on April 9, 1865, he surrendered ending the civil war that had coasted America four years of bloodshed and a deep division between the northern states and the southern state.

On the other hand, Grand accepted the terms of Robert request for surrender and cease war. Grant notes in his memoir that he was overcome with grief during the meeting with Robert and they ended discussing more of the about their shared part in the Mexican war. The next path was building a nation that had been entangled in the war towards healing and reconstruction. Grant and Lee chose to follow an honorable and acceptable to end further bloodshed in the civil war and for that, they receive credit even to date.

Lee notes that surrendering his army into to Robert was not a sign of hopeless, but of intention, t pursues peace. Robert had demanded that the terms of acceptance of the surrender of the confederate army was to disqualify the men forgetting in the army to be disqualified against taking up arms and fighting the government. Both men demonstrate a similarity of peace where they value the process of healing the country rather than continue fighting the interests of their states and the Union.

In conclusion, the surrender of the confederate army and acceptance of peace shows different character that highlight on the similarities between lee and Robert. In addition, it also demonstrates their reason towards having a stable united country against further bloodshed which side appeared to be winning. It also Grants an opportunity to highlight on their differences on approach of the matter differently and an highlights of the careers and achievements.


Grant.U.S(1885). Personal memoirs of US Grant: dedication to the American solder and the sailor. New York City. Retrieved from    on 30th April 2016.

Robert lee PBS documentary(2011). The American experience. Retrieved from  on 30th April 2016.

Official records of war rebellion (n.d). Lee and Grant: the surrender correspondence at Appomattox. Retrieved from