On the morning of 9 April 1865, the Battle of Appomattox Court House was fought as the final engagement of Confederate States Army General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia before it surrendered to the Union Army under Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. On April 3, Richmond had fallen to Union troops as Lee led his Army of Northern Virginia in retreat to the West, pursued by Grant and the Army of the Potomac. A running battle ensued as each Army moved further to the West in an effort to out flank, or prevent being out flanked by the enemy. On 7 April, Grant initiated a series of dispatches, leading to a meeting between the two commanders.
On the morning of 9 April, Grant wrote to Lee saying “I will state that I am equally desirous for peace with yourself, and the whole North entertains the same feeling. The terms upon which peace can be had are well understood. By the South laying down their arms, they would hasten that most desirable event, save thousands of human lives, and hundreds of millions of property not yet destroyed.”
The surrender saw Grant enter into a room where Lee was already waiting for him inside the Appomattox Court House, and the two men signed the conditions of surrender. The signing led to a formal ceremony on 12 April that saw the disbandment of the Army of Northern Virginia, effectively ending the war in Virginia. This event also triggered a series of surrenders across the South, signalling the end of the war.