This crisp spring morning begins a new day in
all historical accountings. The gentleman gently takes his uniform from the hook of
the door, lays it across his bed, the trousers are creased and somewhat wrinkled from
hanging. The waist coat is also lain across the bed as is the white shirt.
With painstaking care and fluid movements he
takes the brush from the bedside table and almost reverently begins to brush and press the
uniform. He was thinking back to the last time he donned the dress uniform so long
ago. With this thought, his eyes blurred and as he blinked back the tear he
continued brushing and pressing his uniform, shirt and hat. The black stovepipe
boots stood in the corner, he sadly picks them up and gently applies the cleaning oil and
soft cloth and begins to shine them.
He dresses with care knowing this was his last
day to wear this attire, The gold braid hangs in the Fleur-de-leis and the gold polished
buttons shined brightly in the sunlight. One last time, he fastened the belt that
held the scabbard and sword. He mounted Traveler and rode toward Appamatox.
His memories of the past four years flashed
vividly through his mind. Why had he taken his sword against his brother? What
had it accomplished? Only utter destruction of his beloved country. The loss
of so many lives of those dear to him. The futility of the ravages of war destroyed
every shred of decency and respect.
He arrived at the Court House, there was
a small table and two chairs on the porch, throngs of people milled about, struggling
for a chance to see the agony and the ecstasy of the two great men, both of them friends,
attending the same Military Academy and then forced to choose sides.
He descends his horse and walks up the stairs,
his head held high, his countenance great. Upon the porch stands another gentleman,
just as grand in stature. They shake hands.
This day, General Robert E Lee, commander
of the Confederate States of America Army of Northern Virginia surrenders to
General Ulysses S Grant, commander of the Armies of the United States.
Both great leaders know the world shall never
again be the same.