On the next day the surrender of the army was completed, and when Lee made his farewell address to his soldiers, who had so faithfully defended their faith in the Confederacy in all the hard battles in which they had been engaged, and especially since the Wilderness campaign, and in the defense of Petersburg and Richmond in the closing days, where their endurance was the greatest, and had now come down to the closing scenes at Appomattox, they were all deeply moved. General Lee, in broken accents, admonished them to be as brave citizens as they had been soldiers.
Thus practically ended the greatest civil war in history. Soon after Lee's surrender the other Confederate forces arranged for their surrender in quick succession.
It had been a long, bloody and devastating war, and it is said that there were more Confederate prisoners at Point Lookout alone than the number with Lee's army at the surrender. [click image to expand full size]
Battles of the Civil War, Thomas Elbert Vineyard, (1914)
The terms prescribed by Grant were most extraordinary, under the circumstances, for their leniency and magnanimity. They simply required Lee and his men to give their parole of honor that they would not take up arms against their Government, until regularly exchanged; gave to the officers their side-arms, baggage, and private horses, and pledged the faith of the Government that they should not be punished for their treason and rebellion, so long as they should respect that parole and be obedient to law. Grant even went so far, in his generosity, at Lee's suggestion, that he gave instructions to the proper officers to allow such cavalrymen of Lee's army as owned their horses, to retain them, as they would, he said, need them for tilling their farms.
Lee professed to be touched by this leniency and magnanimity of his conqueror, who represented his deeply injured country; yet, on the following day, in disregard of that generosity, and with a feeling of perfect security under the protection of a promise made in the name of his Government, which had ever been kind and just to himself and his kindred, he issued a farewell address to his army, which no right-minded and right-hearted man would care to imitate under like circumstances. Under the disguise of very guarded language, he told his soldiers, in effect, that in taking up arms against their country, and trying to destroy the Republic, in whose government they had always shared, they had done a patriotic act, and for which they would take with them "the satisfaction that proceeds from consciousness of duty faithfully performed;" therefore, he invoked God's blessing upon their acts. He gave them to understand that they had no "country", no Government, to which their allegiance was due, excepting the territory and rule, over which, for four years, the Conspirators had held sway; and he spoke of his "unceasing admiration" of their "constancy and devotion" to that "country," which had "endeared them to their countrymen." They were instructed, in that address, to consider themselves unfortunate patriots who had "been compelled to yield to the overwhelming numbers and resources" of a tyrannical and unjust Government. His words were treasured, in memory and feeling. That farewell address was afterward beautifully lithographed, in Baltimore, with a portrait of Lee at its head, surrounded by Confederate flags, and a facsimile of his signature at its foot; and it became a cherished document and ornament in the houses of the enemies of the Republic. "By that warrant," these people said, substantially, to the writer, "we will attempt to regain the 'Lost Cause.' "
Pictorial History of the Civil War in the United States of America, Vol. III, (1866), Benson John Lossing, (1813-1891)