John Andrew Howell,
Webster County, WVA:
"The Civil War I would forget
its details here, I will omit.
It rolled through Webster like a flood
and left its path well stained with blood."
"Our houses burned and all we had
I've heard the children cry for bread.
No coffee, salt, or stores were there,
Nor right-of-way where they were."
"When peace was made it seemed so sweet,
long-parted friends again could meet.
All men were pardoned by the law
FOR WHAT THEY'D DONE
IN TIME OF WAR."
"In sixty-one the war came on
the cannons roared like thunderstorms.
The mammoth tide destroyed the mills
and many citizens were killed."
"In sixty-two, the troops came round,
destroyed the salt works, burned the town.
Some soldiers there, were shot and killed
with long range rifles, from the hills."
"Because the Webster boys would fight
they killed, took off or burned outright.
Up Holly through to Randolph line
four dwellings left, is all I mind."
April 9, 1865.
President Lincoln arrived back in Washington in early evening as the news was spreading
throughout the land. Bonfires sprang up as crowds jammed the streets. In Chicago one
hundred cannon awakened sleepers, it was the same throughout the North. In the Army of the
Potomac, flags waved, bands played, cannons roared...Four years of war had ended for
Virginia and the Army of the Potomac. Four years of war had ended for the Confederacy but
there were no shouts of joy, no bands playing for victory..Only death and destruction,
burned out lands and buildings, no livestock or fowl.
As joyous citizens thronged the streets of Northern cities, villages and hamlets, the
armies at Appomattox began the business of parole, feeding the Confederates and making
various arrangements before Lee's men could go home. News of the surrender arrived at
Danville late in the afternoon. By evening what was left of the Confederate government
took to the railroad again and headed for Greensborough NC fearful that the Cavalry in the
area would overtake them.
Gen. R.E. Lee issued his last general orders. "After four years of arduous service,
marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been
compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources. By there terms of the agreement
officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with
you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed,
and I earnestly pray that a Merciful God will extend to you His blessing and protection.
With an increasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country and a
grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you an
As General Order No. 9 was being prepared, word came to Gen. Lee that Grant was on his
way. Lee went to meet him and two conferred for some time. Lee hoped there would be no
more sacrifice of life; Grant urged Lee to advise surrender of all the Confederate armies.
Lee replied that this was up to President Davis. Other officers including Meade, visited
Lee. Memories and curiosity seemed to draw them together..
President Lincoln spoke to an enthusiastic crowd from a window of the White House. But it
was hardly a victory speech. He expressed the hope for a "righteous and speedy
peace" and then discussed reconstruction. He admitted the future was "fraught
with great difficulty". A beginning had to be made with "disorganized and
discordant elements," and he mentioned the conflict of opinion in the North as to
reconstruction. The President went on to defend his policy in setting up a new state
government in Louisiana. He conceded that the seceded states "are out of the proper
relation with the Union and that the sole object of the government, civil and military, in
regard to those States is to again put them into that proper practical relation."