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“I Only Knew What Was in My Mind”: Ulysses S. Grant and the Meaning of Appomattox

“I Only Knew What Was in My Mind”: Ulysses S. Grant and the Meaning of Appomattox robert forten baugh memorial l ecture “I Only Knew What Was in My Mind” Ulysses S. Grant and the Meaning of Appomattox joan waugh “I only knew what was in my mind,” Ulysses S. Grant said, describing his feelings as he sat down to write out the terms of surrender at Appomattox Court House in Virginia on April 9, 1865. Somehow, that sentence makes it sound so simple. It was not. This essay highlights the meaning of the military surrender at Appomattox largely from the perspective of the top northern general, Grant, but also complicates and contextualizes Grant’s famous remark. Twice before Appomattox, Grant accepted the surrender of a major Confederate force—at Fort Donelson, Tennessee, in 1862 and at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1863. In those two campaigns, Grant was relent- less in pursuing victory, but once secured, he also displayed magnanimity, anticipating the more celebrated generosity of the 1865 surrender. It is vital to point out that surrender has multiple meanings. In the context of the Civil War, a military or a political surrender is defi ned as giving up something valuable—a fortress, an army, a defi ned territory, a country, a set of demands—to an enemy. It can http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

“I Only Knew What Was in My Mind”: Ulysses S. Grant and the Meaning of Appomattox

The Journal of the Civil War Era , Volume 2 (3) – Aug 29, 2012

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807

Abstract

robert forten baugh memorial l ecture “I Only Knew What Was in My Mind” Ulysses S. Grant and the Meaning of Appomattox joan waugh “I only knew what was in my mind,” Ulysses S. Grant said, describing his feelings as he sat down to write out the terms of surrender at Appomattox Court House in Virginia on April 9, 1865. Somehow, that sentence makes it sound so simple. It was not. This essay highlights the meaning of the military surrender at Appomattox largely from the perspective of the top northern general, Grant, but also complicates and contextualizes Grant’s famous remark. Twice before Appomattox, Grant accepted the surrender of a major Confederate force—at Fort Donelson, Tennessee, in 1862 and at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1863. In those two campaigns, Grant was relent- less in pursuing victory, but once secured, he also displayed magnanimity, anticipating the more celebrated generosity of the 1865 surrender. It is vital to point out that surrender has multiple meanings. In the context of the Civil War, a military or a political surrender is defi ned as giving up something valuable—a fortress, an army, a defi ned territory, a country, a set of demands—to an enemy. It can

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Aug 29, 2012

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