On 9 April 1865, Confederate horseman R.M. Sims waved a white towel of truce as he approached the men of the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry. He carried a message from Robert E. Lee requesting negotiations for surrender. General George Armstrong Custer sent him back with a reply: “We will listen to no terms but that of unconditional surrender.” Eventually Lee met with General Ulysses S. Grant. Grant proposed that the Confederates should be allowed to keep their own horses and return to their homes after laying down their arms, and also agreed to supply rations to the hungry men.
To begin Union Victory Month, I choose to quote Robert E Lee on the subject of erecting memorials to the Confederacy: I think it wiser, moreover, not to keep open the sores of war but to follow the examples of those nations who endeavored to obliterate the marks of civil strife, to commit to oblivion the feelings engendered. Unfortunately his wishes were ignored, and he even himself became a popular subject of statuary.