Auburn Univesrity, Alabama (WXTX) -Attention Civil War history buffs! A rare letter dating back to 1865, written by Ulysses S. Grant, is now on display at Auburn University. It details one of the most pivotal times in United States history, the surrender at Appomattox.
One hundred and forty-four years ago, Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant and General Robert E. Lee sat down at Appomattox for Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.
"One of the most dramatic moments in American history," explained Dr. Dwayne Cox, the head of Auburn Libraries Special Collections.
The next day, for posterity sake, in his own hand, Grant made a copy of the letter he sent to Lee detailing the terms of surrender. That copy, dated April 10th 1865, is now at Auburn Universities Library, for all to enjoy.
"The most striking thing to me as a historian is the magnanimous nature of the terms," explained Cox.
The letter calls upon confederate soldiers to surrender artillery, but Grant wrote it would not include side arms of officers nor private horses or bagages. Grant also detailed in his letter, that solders can return home without being "disturbed" by U.S. Authorities, as long as they do not take up arms against their captors and obey laws.
"Many historians see this as Grant's desire to preclude treason trials," he said.
Dr. Cox says the letter is priceless in terms of historical significance. The document, donated by 1971 graduate James Starr, will be cared for accordingly.
"We are very happy to have it here, it will have a happy home here," said Cox.