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Freedom: A History of US.
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Webisode 6: A War to End Slavery
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Surrender of Gen. Lee
Segment 8
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There are no telephones, so in the North no one knows what is going on. There are rumors that Sherman is losing. But when he captures the city of Atlanta, word quickly reaches Washington. It is clear that the North is winning and that the war will soon be over.

At the beginning of April 1865, Confederate troops set fire to supplies in Richmond and retreat from the city Check The Source - Abraham Lincoln Enters Richmond. Lee's tired, shoeless army races west. Grant wants to surround Lee's army so there will be no way out. And finally he does that at a place in Virginia called Appomattox Court House Check The Source - The Prelude to Appomattox.

On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee—proud, erect, and wearing his handsomest uniform—walks into the parlor of farmer Wilmer McClean's house See It Now - The McLean House. He has come to surrender to U.S. Grant See It Now - "Surrender of Gen. Lee". Grant later remembers: Hear It Now - Ulysses S. Grant "I felt sad at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and so valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought Check The Source - Robert E. Lee Surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant."

Grant writes out the official surrender terms. They are kinder than anyone expected. The Southern soldiers can go home, and—as long as they give their promise not to fight against the country again—they will not be prosecuted for treason. They must surrender their guns, but they can take their horses. Lee speaks to one of Grant's aides, a Native American named Lt. Colonel Ely Parker Ely Parker. He says, "I'm glad to see one real American here." Parker replies: "We are all Americans."

Robert E. Lee, brave as he is, still doesn't seem to understand why so many men and women have been willing to fight and die in this terrible war. "We are all Americans": It is those words. Our nation began with a declaration that said all men are created equal. That powerful idea excited people all over the world. But our Constitution had not guaranteed that equality. This Civil War—terrible as it was—will cause the Constitution to be changed for the better. Three amendments will soon be passed: the Thirteenth, the Fourteenth, and the Fifteenth. They will make sure that we are all Americans. They will give the nation a new birth of freedom Check The Source - Post Civil War Amendments to the Constitution.


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Did You Know?
General William T. Sherman's army marched on Atlanta, Georgia in two huge columns several miles apart. They cut down forests to build corduroy roads; they pulled up railroad tracks—twisting them into Sherman's hairpins and Jeff Davis neckties—to make sure the Confederates couldn't use them again.


Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?



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