tv Fall of Richmond and Appomattox CSPAN September 26, 2015 6:00pm-6:52pm EDT
and look at appomattox in context. the end of the war, any war, not just the civil war, but we are passing several anniversaries of end of complex. the end of the war of 1812, the end of american involvement in vietnam with the fall of saigon, the end of the second world war, both in may of this year and in august, coming up in just a few weeks. the end of the war, any war, is the beginning of the peace. how that ending goes can reverberate for a long time. where want to do for the next 45 minutes is unpack that statement. i want to explore some of these. the way the war ended but the reverberations as well of to the present day. let's start not with appomattox. let's start with the other great ending of april, 1855, the first 10 days or so. -- 1865. i referring to the fall of
richmond. robert e lee's army, safety 5000 men, holding the siege line -- 65,000 men, holding the seas lines. -- siege lines. they face the army of the potomac, and an army level headquarters of the shenandoah under philip sheridan. years, hasor four had a target on its back. it has been a primary or a secondary objective of u.s. forces in the eastern theater since the war's beginning in 1861. it has had more military resources devoted to its capture than any objective the american forces have her try to capture up to this point in history of the country. the largest army the u.s. has ever fielded, the army of the potomac, has its objective at richmond. the people of richmond know they
have been living with a target on the back. richmond also is a simple. -- is a symbol. i want to talk about that more as we get going. confederacy,f the also one of the most important industrial cities in the confederacy. begins, the battle of five forks outside of petersburg, virginia from the confederate white house. that breaks the siege lines. launchesday, as grant a center vocal avenges -- eight center vocal -- a centrifical offensive, he cuts off rail lines except one small tendon that runs southeast of the city. he has basically cut off the confederacy -- richmond for the recipe confederacy. lee realizes he can't hold for very much longer.
2, 18 city, april five -- 1865, and he realizes he has to get the president geoff davis out of church and tell them he has to go. this decision by general lee sets off a chain of events over the next 36 hours that affects the city to this day. this sets a breakpoint in the history of richmond. richmond is a symbol. let me give you a couple of comparison cases over the last 150 years to give you context about the fall of richmond. what it means to the people there, to the story, their stories and the overall war perspective. madrid 1939, when franco takes it, paris, 1940, when germans destroyed the french the republic. 1939.
manila, 1941. saigon, 1975. the best analogy i can give you for what is happening, with going to happen in richmond, is a shipwreck. the city, its population, and its garrison will go through every single human emotion possible in the next 36 hours. april 3, 1965. it is the end of an era. -- 1865. cities change hands all throughout warfare. what makes these different? it's the simple as him. -- it's the symbolism. is also the fact that they are watersheds. the fall of singapore ended the british empire in the far east. manila has never been the same since the second world war when the japanese took her in 1941 and the destruction in 1945. just watch the movie because of blanca for the impact on paris.
thest watch casablanca for impact oparis. the global reverberations of that offense, the helicopters going off the embassy roof, that puts a very sharp. richmond for the confederates. and for the union, is the same thing. let's talk about what happens to the city of richmond when geoff davis is pulled out of church, told you have six hours, in the confederate government is going to leave by train. i want to look at this from a number of perspectives. the first one is that from now on, everything has a time of it. once that runs out, if you are in richmond, there is a very uncertain future coming your way. if you are geoff davis, part of the executive cabinet, what do you pack from the confederate white house? where do you go? what becomes the new city of government for the confederacy?
all these decisions have to be made quickly. do you pack up the family? for geoff davis, the answer is yes. but if you are one of his staffers, what do you do? how do you take care of this? general lee faces this problem also because his wife and daughters live in the city of richmond. does he take them with him? does he leave them to the mercies of the union army? veryvery personal, wrenching decision that has to be made. if he leaves them to the union army, how are they going to treat the mily of robert e lee? is a very uncertain sort of thing going forward. that is just some of the leaders. imagine yourself just being an average everyday richmond to citizen on april 2, as you know that the union army -- things are not going well for your army and the union army is at the gates. you know that there are black
troops in the siege and lines. what will they be like? what about these suddenly freed slaves as soon as the union army comes in? what are they going to do? are there going to be riots? what do you do with your silver, your valuables, do you bury them in the garden? do you believe them and trust that nobody is going to mess with them? what we do with the family shotgun? are you going to hide it, are you going to greet the enemy? are you even going to stay? are you going to go? if you choose to go, what he going to take, who are you going to take -- what are you going to take, and how are you going to get out of here? are you going to go by wagon if you have one? by horse? are you going to try and crowd the train station and try and get a train out? the morning of april 3 -- i would recognize reading a memoir
about going to the real euros on manchester side of the river -- going to the railyards on the manchester side of the river and finding thousands of people waiting for trains that will never come. because they don't know anywhere else to go. that's the only way they can possibly leave the city of richmond. if you've seen the movie dr. zhivago, there are scenes about leaving moscow during the russian revolution. that is a good visual to put to this scene. honest, the to be best thing to do is to have a local watering hole and start drinking. [laughter] of that recycle case that i have seen. every one of these comparison cases. -- that is true of every single case that i have seen. a hotel before the fall of singapore, british staff
officers with nothing better to do were jerking whiskey sodas. -- were drinking whiskey sodas. there's up in a most everyone of these in this is where the bartenders start pulling out the bottles, because they don't want the occupiers to get their hands on it and get out of control. there are accounts from richmond and other places of the gutters and stairways literally running with alcohol. there is so much being emptied out. let's not forget all of this is being cadenced by the rhythm of explosions. yes, from the battlefront, which is drawing very close, but also from within the cities -- explosions and fire. which can't be moved, and is militarily valuable, the confederate army is blowing up.
railyards, depots. that sets i finality. -- a finality. when you blow bridges, installations, that means you are not coming back. it puts a visual punctuation mark on what has happened. this is an end of an era. what was is no longer. and will not be again. real sharpdge puts a cadence and edge to these decisions. it and urgency to these decisions -- it puts an urgency to these decisions that the government has to make in these hours before the fall of richmond. they go through every single human emotion. including, by the way, at least one case of love. as walter taylor asks in the middle of it, world is coming to an end, can i go get married?
sure, go get married. this is something else that we know that they didn't know. they did know that the war in virginia was going to end in a week in appomattox. as far as everyone was concerned, they were going to leave richmond, virginia would get overrun by the union army, and they would join joe johnston and fight for however longer further they want. no one knew they were going to be back in just over a week to 10 days. keep that in mind as you think through the thought process. one of the punctuation points, and i found this in interesting congruence with manila. everybody in manila salt when the navy blew up the navy yard just across the bay. everybody saw that smoke and those explosions. everybody knew when the navy was thing out that it was over. richmond, the early
morning hours of april 3, remember steering the three -- remembers hearing the three crumps on the james river. the three ironclads, the most powerful fleet the confederate army had. everybody remember that enrichment. it had the same effect. -- everybody were members that in richmond. when the navy that has kept us safe for four years is pulling out, it's over. suddenly a very unknown future. this is a break, a psychological wrench for the city of richmond that defines it to this day. you see it in some of the different arguments from time to time about the monuments in the city, the different basement of the monuments. when arthur ash was placed on one unit avenue. when they placed the lincoln statue commemorating lincoln's visit. where was that going to go?
you saw that psychological aftereffects coming back. here when the richmond , aboutield did the 150th the battles of civil wars, do you know the one of the most attended programs were? it wasn't anything out of the battlefield. it was the april 2 and april 3 stuff related to the fall of the city of richmond. if you have seen some of the photographs, it's amazing the number of people there. i'm not sure how many richmonders can tell you exactly why they felt the connection to be there. but the people down there understand that this is an important moment in their history. they may not be able to articulate inwards, but that turn up --articulate in words, but they feel in their bones of this psychological breakpoint in their city's history.
it continues to define their city to this day. one thought about the psychological impact on the fall of richmond. and anonymous war clerk said, "i didn't think we lost the war until i saw my government on wheels." he said that at the depot watching geoff davis' train leave on april 2, 1865. a u.s. army clerk echoed that watching the fall of manila. he said it was like leaving an old friend. a similar sentiment people felt leaving the city of richmond in 1865. that is an ending point that continues to reverberate to this day. but of course it is not the end of the war. west trying tos get to north carolina. grants sets off on what i would argue the best campaign the potomac ever wages. they catch part of them april 6
at singles creek, catching quite a few of them. -- at sailors creek. morning of april 9, they surround the army of northern virginia around appomattox warehouse. -- appomattox courthouse. lee tries to break out and counterattack to open the way to north carolina. as they are making headway uniont union cavalry, infantry from the potomac shows up, among them african-american troops. as one general said, the battlefield looks like a checkerboard. and lee realizes the jig is up. he said, i cannot advance further. long street is holding up a the entire army of the potomac. lee realizes that morning of april 1855 that the jig is up. he told his staff, "there is
nothing for it then to go see general grant, and i would rather die 1000 deaths." we will come back to that line further. and itportant to note, always thought this was interesting -- i will is the question to you why and let you come up with your own decision. robert e lee, leaving richmond, saved one pristine uniform and a presentation at sword. for something. [laughter] he's going to put it on to go meet general grant. the question i would post to you, as far as i'm willing to get into someone's head, did he know when he left richmond at petersburg, did he know what was going to happen? i leave that question rhetorically for you to decide. grant, for his part, has been on campaign. he is muddy, riding around
sheridan's forces opposite gordon. gets a message from lee, "find a place in appomattox. i will meet you there." "send it on this road, i will be there." after some searching, being palm sunday, april 9, the courthouse is locked. after some searching the end of a place in downtown appomattox. his house outside of the nasa july agency one was general beauregard's headquarters. mysays "the war started in front yard and ended in my parlor.' lee goes in. grant, when he shows up in the early afternoon, has brought a
retinue of staff officers, generals along to witness. a step in. -- they step in. it's a very sharp contrast. lee dressed sharply, and grant coming in muddy with only some of his stars on his shoulders. the contrast of those two personalities and what that symbolizes. i want to talk about something i think is important. butot so much how they look what they bring into the room with them. both men ring a lot of things into the room with them. i want to spend a lot of time developing that fought. -- that thought. both men are exemplars for
what they stand for. the actions of the leaders at the end of the war sets the tone for the beginning of the peace. grant understood that he sat at the intersection of politics, economics, and the military by virtue of his position as commander in chief. robert e lee also understood they were the personification of the confederacy, more so than jefferson davis. as the army of northern virginia would go, so with the confederacy. the analogy had been drawn tween lee -- between lee and the army of the confederacy between washington and the continental army to the colonies during our war for independence. that is apt. it's because lee his related -- is related to george washington. beingen, by virtue of emxemplars of their respective
sides, bring that with them. they bring the outside forces into the room beyond themselves. they bring in what they represent. to understand appomattox and how it reverberates going forward. introduce ank and underappreciated quote, one that i think sums up the causes of the war better than any other. it is in 1956. "the origins of the civil war late in the growing tension between two completely different types of society down together under one government. the issue hartavery sharpened treds." two societies, one government, and slavery is an aggravating factor in all of this. what does that mean? i want to give you a couple of statistics as we develop this. northernersn 4
lived in cities. only 1 in 10 southerners did. in the south, 84% farmed. southern investment in factories had grew. confederatey two cities had a population over 40,000, whereas the north had 19 cities that could claim to cross that threshold. by 1865 was the army of northern virginia. a secessionist from texas spoke for many southerners when he said "we want no manufacturing, mechanical or manufacturing classes.' northerners also tended to be more literate and better read than their southern counterparts. the proportion of seven children went to school with half that of
northern children. -- southern children. 1860 per capita newspaper in the north was triple that of the south. the of illiteracy among whites in the south ran triple that of white northerners. added,ks and slaves were the south was eight times more illiterate than at the north. in the free states, there was a commitment to education for economic prosperity and freedom. if you think about the careers of abraham lincoln and grant, they exemplify that last statement. i want to address the elephant in the room, both in 1865 and today. i will turn to mcpherson for a cogent discussion. country's black people lived in the slave states. the locations -- the
implications of this for this are obvious. this is what montgomery is talking about sharpening hatreds. white supremacy in the south is so much greater as to constitute a different order of magnitude to contribute any more factor to differences between the north and south. the fear that slavery was being hemmed in and threatened with distraction added to an aggressive style of behavior before the civil war. that is not to venerate one side and demonize the other. that is not the point. the point is that the civil war, two different visions of what the west is and can be have met on the battlefield. -- what the u.s. can be have met on the battlefield. they are symbolized by grant and lee. what are these visions? i will put them physically -- i will put them so simply -- succi
nctly for you. lee, harking back to the postcolonial period, patrician, agrarian, insular. don't get involved in a foreign alliances. grant's and lincoln's? the manifesto for this was issued at lincoln's second inaugural. peacemalice towards none, between ourselves and elevation of the world." -- between ourselves and all nations of the world." read the second inaugural because that's the new manifesto for the new world that lincoln is building. this country may have been founded in 1775, but it was recounted in 1865. the manifesto was the second inaugural, in the 13th, 14th, and 15th minutes. the way to lincoln's visions.
the wayamendments paved to lincoln's visions. international, hemispheric. if you read grant's memoirs, the ending is great. people overlook the last chapter when he talks about the u.s. and makes productions. he is writing it before his death in 1855. ahe civil war has made us nation of great power and intelligence.' he predicts a major role for the u.s. in the world going forward. that is the vision of that grant brings in to the parlor. he and lincoln are the exemplars of this, having risen from nothing, self-made men, although grant had done a good job of losing fortunes he had made. self-made men. they had risen from the poor and
modest beginnings to the statures that they now hold. this is the new america they are building on the ashes of the civil war. that is what both sides bring into wormer mclean's parlor. is what grant and lee are exemplars of. grant, as he puts it, "let them up easy." that is what lincoln told him to do. i am still unpacking what this means. a lot of people gloss over the points of discussion between grant and lee. grants realizes this is the end of the war. we will not march the army of northern virginia off to prison camp. we will send them home, healing starts here. one thing he didn't realize is that in the confederate army, soldiers had to bring their own horses. the u.s. army provides everything a soldier needs to
move and fight. but in the southern army, you had to bring your own horses. people have glossed over that point of discussion. i think that says a great deal of the mentality of both sides and have a structured their army. organization can be an interesting determinant of the values of an organization. i want to commend it to you for some food for thought. i already see a few wheels t urning. grant and lee consummate the surrender at appomattox. this is the first domino in the chain that will cause the confederacy to fall over the next month, and certainly the rest of the year. robert e lee has one more thing he wants to do, one more message he wants to send coming out of appomattox. he has conducted the surrender with a stoicism and grace and dignity that sense the message about him and who use and what he stands for. he writes a letter on the
morning of april 10 to his army. i want to read the first sentence. it is often quoted, but i don't think the first sentence has gotten to you. "after four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed rich and fortitude, the army of northern virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources." philosophy ofl the civil war does that sound like? that is the foundational document of the lost cause. that is where it comes from. weren't wrong." we were beaten because there were too many of them and not enough of us. i contrast that sharply with the japanese simply years ago next month when they surrendered. they said they were not just beaten by superior resources, as one of the emperor's aides told
him, he said we were beaten by a superior idea. the japanese understood two visions had met on the battlefield, and one had been defeated. robert e lee did not share that perspective, 80 years before. we were not wrong, there were too many of them and not enough of us. this is the foundation of the lost cause. i would add, is no quentin's that the army -- it is no coincidence that the army of northern virginia are the biggest proponents of the lost cause after the civil war. another reverberation of appomattox. i should point out as well, since imd director of the macarthur memorial, you will notice how both men's have staged the end of the war. to begin the peace and said messages of how that, how their side should regard the other
side going forward. the emperor did the same thing in tokyo. dwight eisenhower in europe didn't. that's another talk. if you contrast that, it's interesting between the two sides. examine -- we talk about how appomattox echoes the end of the war. we have examined some pieces of this. i want to tell a story. it is one that is often overlooked. and there are many different ways i can go with this and probably many different examples we can think of. this one is often overlooked because it has a congruent to , april 9, 1942. i want to introduce you to a man from georgia.
he is a major general in the united states army. fought for the confederacy. he knew general gordon. he had been inspired to become a soldier by the example of the confederates and the example of the confederate army, the confederate veterans he knew. 1941, he had been sent to the philippines to be chief of artillery for general macarthur. his firstlippines wife was a lafayette with clause costs a daughter. law --yette mug lafayette mclaw's daughter. he actually has the silver in a bank vault in the bank of manila
, where it survives the war. it is still part of the family to this day. an interesting footnote for you. came in late march and early april of 1942 is commander , 76,000 americans and filipinos holding the peninsula at the mouth of manila bay. they are down to rations. combat effective at this point. that is somebody who can get out of a foxhole, 125 yards, and fire. april.arly lastese launch their attack. fightingeral days of on april 6, the last american lines have been broken. all reserves are in.
the japanese advance down the eastern coast. they have about 10 miles to go. king is committing all reinforcements. king is not a complete reactor at this moment. lee has an independence of action. served onainwright the mississippi river during the running of new orleans and died in 1863. his maternal grandfather was the chief of the staff of the army at mathematics, and was the guy who designed the swamp angel outside of charleston. boss was general macarthur.
the fight is on. uncles.hree another talk for a whole other time is about how these guys in world war ii, the civil war was only yesterday. it was only 77 years in the past. wainwright is forced to pass a message on. you will prepare and execute an attack against the enemy to get of the king realizes his men are in absolutely no condition to do this. him, "sir,ells within 36 hours the battle lines will be among our hospitals." the king realizes what he has to do. i go to meetstaff, the japanese commander and i would rather die a thousand deaths.
he later admitted he consciously invoked the example of robert e. lee to sustain and inspire and guide him through some of the most agonizing moments of his life. he needs theing, japanese after sending a parlay truce forward. he comes forward and meets with them. he conducts himself with the same stoicism, the same grace, the same dignity. of his aides that was with him said, "i have never seen the general act more like a soldier. the japanese, unlike grant, who thenot ask for lee's sword, japanese did ask for a side arm. the king took his pistol out and put it on the table. and thus handed over the garrison and baton. why do i tell you the story? i tell you that store because of its connection beyond the
congruent dates of april 9 1865 and 1942. you can see right there the reverberation of mathematics. and at go, and how it inspired, guided, and sustains an american major general 77 years in the huger has he made a decision that no officer had to make before or since. that example of robert e lee and grandchild -- and grant guided king.l it is another backup and further illustration and somehow ties together everything we have been talking about about the ongoing residence of the events of april 1865 and the end of the civil war. at the end what does all this show? 1865 was an and.
it was a beginning. and a very significant one. iwould submit to you and would return to what i said about the nation being refounded in 1865, which makes april 1865 , and one thatst remains crystal clear visible to this very day. folks i would like to thank you for your attention. if you have any questions i would be happy to answer them. thank you very much. >> we have a few moments for a >> when youestions
were talking about lee's farewell and you said the first line of the addresses the anddation of the lost cause all the generals of the army of northern virginia are going to follow him a what do you do about general long street? >> i didn't say all. >> what is your take on the general? there are aagine few other guys that say give up the fight at the time, it's over. christopher: i want to address specifically what you are looking at, because that is a whole talk for itself. >> the fact that he is pretty much -- i imagine he inspired the mothers. he joins the republican party, he becomes a pariah for a while.
what is your take on his resolution. christopher: james long street it focusongstreet -- the civil war on the army of northern virginia. because long street has a controversial nature of various aspects of his role in the war is notinia, longstreet an easy fit. gettysburg being the longest: the tent, if you will.
thatso frames the district frames the discussion in this way. we were not wrong, we were just beaten by too many men. the fact to was personal friends with grand -- the fact that longstreet was personal friends with grand put him further outside the pale. longstreet was always a bit of an outsider anyway. focused on lee, focused on army and virginia. sharpens the discussion even further. tofor longstreet's counsel -- ifor his counsel to think that is morally courageous and i think the man did his duty. this is crew -- this is true in a corporate setting.
you have tomes when save the boss from himself or herself. there are times when you owe it to your boss to give him or her your wisest counsel. they may not listen to it. it is your duty in a situation like that when you are facing a life and death situation for an organization and you have perspective, it is your responsibility to present that information. it is exactly what you would expect from a second ranking officer. it is a complex question you ask at complex answer i give. that would be my response. >> i know everyone likes to what if the civil war. let's go back to the surrender house.
what if it hadn't had been granted? what if it would've been sherman in their? lincoln was running out of generals at that time. it would have been sherman or sheridan or whatever? things have been different in there with the lee and the terms that were agreed upon? who did grant go to to bounce these ideas off of? lee'sms like it was all makeup. lincoln? talk with of march,r: 31st 1865. steamer.on a
of thecity point -- off city point. they discuss these questions. lincoln issued his guidance, because they knew the end of the war was not far away. they knew that grants final offensive was happening area they have been getting close to the end. what grant is doing is using lincoln's guidance. he is following the famous telegram from sheridan. lincoln telegraphs back immediately, let the thing be pressed. that is guiding grant. we have an example of what sherman would have been like because he was more lenient with grant was. band sherman basically concluded a peace treaty.
he basically concluded to general peace at bennett place. have confederate cabinet officers involved in discussions. andrew johnson, who was the new , johnson said that is my prerogative, go back and give .hem the same as appomattox there's no question in my mind that sherman and grant understood they needed to end the war and there were going to follow the presidents guidance and let him up easy and find a way to get this done and start on the road to reconstruction. >> that was the blueprint he gave his generals to follow.
customer: lincoln defied the war, what it was about, in eddie's berg. gettysburg.- in he defined the end of the war in the second inaugural in march 1865. i think it is no coincidence that it is two speeches on the in the lincoln memorial in washington dc. , he talks about the template and the founding document. we are going to take a five-minute break. ladies and gentlemen, chris kolakowski. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] of our civilore war programming visit our
website, c-span.org/history. you are watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. taking you now to gettysburg college, where we will be live at 7 p.m. eastern on c-span3's american history tv for a moderated conversation with president dwight d eisenhower's grandchildren. talk about his relevance for us today, his legacy, and about the grandfather they remember. 125 -- part of the hike celebration. we will take a portion of the story,d. eisenhower before he took the oath as our 34th president.
>> eight week real america brings archival films that brings context to today's public affair issues. >> the united states army ansents the big picture, unofficial report produced for the armed forces and the american people. to show you part of the big picture, here is sergeant stewart queen. : in previousn programs we have brought you biographies of our military leaders, whose lives and careers have played an important part in the fabric of our nation's history. today the britt -- the big picture brings you another story in which the army and the nation take particular pride, the story of eisenhower, the soldier, as narrated by raymond massey.
time is june, 1945. the occasion, the return to his homeland of a war hero. the european phase of the greatest war american -- war america fought is over. general dwight d eisenhower reflects the deep joy of the nation approaching peace again. is the kind of welcome any hometown may give a favorite son who has done a good job. more than anything else it is a tribute. -- gratitudeilled felt in every corner of the world. toward the man who stewart did a crusade towards victory. it was a crusade with many battles and triumphs, but it found its symbol in one day above all others.
d-day, june 6, 1944. the invasion was one of the greatest military advances of all time. upon the outcome of this bold event sure -- bold adventure hung the fate of war and freedom. it was because so much of man's hope had been bound up that the architect of that success found the heart of the people open to him from europe to the town of his boyhood, where the adventure of dwight d. eisenhower, the man, bdm. -- the man, began. [no audio] it is typical with the kind of town that comes to mind with the
phrase, grassroots. theirreets and tilden's testimony to a living and growing america -- streets and buildings bear testimony to a living and growing america. one of its newest and proudest buildings at the -- buildings is the eisenhower museum. inside the museum the life of the white house and how are that of dwight eisenhower is depicted in series and murals. -- the life of dwight eisenhower's depicted in series and murals. eisenhower was born in 1890 in texas.
a parents whose families --rated from pennsylvania to migrated to pennsylvania from europe. now a peaceful village of the claims. -- of the planes. maturityre he grew to through a childhood that was active, eager, and happy. and experience shared with devoted parents, a childhood whose rich in the important things of life. it was an active boyhood in which sports played an important part. he played baseball. but football was his first law.