“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 r o b e r t f o r t e n bau g h memorial lecture "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, 1865.1 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 relentless 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.2 In the context of the Civil War, a military or a political surrender is defined as giving up something valuable--a fortress, an army, a defined territory, a 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
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Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
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2159-9807
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Abstract

r o b e r t f o r t e n bau g h memorial lecture "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, 1865.1 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 relentless 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.2 In the context of the Civil War, a military or a political surrender is defined as giving up something valuable--a fortress, an army, a defined territory, a

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Aug 29, 2012

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