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railing, then cried: "Cushing! and the Albemarle?" "Will never trouble the Union fleet again," answered the same weak, hoarse voice. "She rests in her grave on the muddy bottom of the Ro-a-noke'."
You can imagine with what joy this news was received, and how eagerly hands were now stretched out to help Cushing on deck. There, all crowded around him to hear about it, and while the men mourned their lost companions, they heartily cheered Cushing, whose heroic deed will never be forgotten.
In the meantime, Porter, after gallantly helping Grant to secure the Mississippi, had taken part in an expedition up the Red River (i 863-1864). Here army and navy together tried to crush the Confederates. But the army was beaten at the Sabine Crossroads, and the fleet became helpless when the water in the river became low. Indeed, before long the men perceived that there was not enough water left to float their vessels down the stream.
Porter was about to blow up his gunboats, so they should not fall into the Confederates' hands, when a Wisconsin lumberman suggested a plan by which they could be saved. Under his directions, dams were built, and the waters rose. Then the boats were sent downstream, and, passing through the dams, which were broken one after another, they safely reached navigable waters.
With another fleet, Porter then joined Butler's army in besieging Fort Fisher, near Wil'ming-ton, North Carolina. But the fort held out so bravely that Butler decided it could not be taken, and returned with the army to Fortress Monroe. Porter, however, would not give up, and he was so anxious to make a second attempt, that troops were sent back under another general, and the fort taken, in spite of the heroic defense of its garrison (1865).
The war was rapidly reaching its close, for it was plain that the Confederates would not be able to hold out much longer. By this time they had little left in the East besides Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Feeling that they must soon stop fighting, the Southerners now made an attempt to end the war without shedding any more blood. At their request, an interview took place, on a war vessel at Hampton Roads, between Alexander H. Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederacy, and President Lincoln with Secretary Seward.
We are told that in the course of this interview Stephens, seeing Lincoln not willing to grant the terms he asked, urged that even Charles I. made certain concessions. To this, wishing to show that it was not wise to yield under certain circumstances, Lincoln quietly answered: "I am not strong on history; I depend mainly on Secretary Seward for that. All I remember of Charles is that he lost his head." Then, after a long talk, Lincoln said he could make peace only if the Confederates would lay down their arms, promise to obey Congress, and abolish slavery.
These terms the South would not accept, so the interview ended, and the war went on to the bitter end. About two months later, Lee, thinking the situation desperate, withdrew the Confederate troops from both Richmond and Petersburg, giving orders that all ships and ammunition be destroyed. When the Confederate army left Richmond, therefore, all the Southern rams on the James River were burned.
A colored man brought the news that the Confederate army had left Richmond, and the Union troops immediately marched in. When they got into the town they found it was not so well defended as they had supposed, for many of the cannons were " Quaker guns,"—that is to say, logs of wood painted black so as to look like artillery at a distance. Still, as the colored man explained, they were " just as good to scare with as any others."
Lincoln, hearing that the Confederates had left Richmond, now went there on Admiral Porter's boat, and as no carriage was ready for him, he walked slowly up the street. When the negroes heard he was in town, they rushed to meet him, kissing his hands and fervently crying: "May de good Lord blessyou, President Linkum!"
But when some of the Southerners, watching him, saw him return the colored men's greetings by taking off his hat to them just as he did to the white people, they were offended, and said he lacked dignity. Those Southerners, however, had forgotten that Thomas Jefferson, a Virginia gentleman, used to do the same. When his grandson found fault with him for doing so, he quietly said: "You surely do not want me to be less polite than that poor man!"
LI. LEE'S SURRENDER.
JEE'S plan had been to force his way through the L^ Union lines, and join Johnston farther south; but it was now too late. He was without food, and hemmed in on all sides by large armies. At the end of six days, therefore,—and after making as brave a stand as you can find in history,—he saw he must surrender. Sheridan had just won a last victory over his army at Five Forks, and Grant was rapidly moving toward Ap-po-mat'tox Courthouse. It was useless to fight any more, so, after exchanging a few letters, Grant and Lee met at a house which has since become historical.
There the two generals drew up the conditions of the surrender of Appomattox (April 9, 1865). Grant asked that Lee's army should lay down their arms and promise not to fight again until properly exchanged. But he allowed the Southern soldiers to take their private horses with them, saying he knew the men " would need them for the spring plowing."
When Grant noticed that General Lee wore a beautiful sword, which had been presented to him by his admirers, he also said that the officers might keep their side arms. This was both kind and thoughtful; and when Lee confessed that his men were starving,—having had little to eat but parched corn for several days,—Grant gave immediate orders to distribute rations among them.
The two greatest commanders of the Civil War then cordially shook hands; for, like all true-hearted men, they bore each other no grudge. They had been on opposite
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