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The meeting of the two commanders at Appomattox was a historic moment, as both of them felt strongly at the time.

It seemed to bring out the noble side in both of these vastly different men - Grant, the rough, simple Westerner who dressed like a tramp, and Lee, the representative Southern aristocrat, in his splendid dress uniform and sword.

Grant surprised Lee by offering generous terms. If the men would hand in their weapons and sign the pledge never to take up arms against the USA, they would be allowed to go home and not be persecuted - no jailings, no hangings.

In return Lee prevented his officers from taking to the hills and carrying on guerrilla warfare, as many of them were threatening to do. Probably only Lee carried enough authority to get this order respected.

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12y ago
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13y ago

The men were paroled and permitted to returm to their homes, rather than being sent to prison camps, and would not be bothered by federal authorities so long as they lived peaceably. That protected every officer and man from arrest for treason or any other war rekated crime. Officers were permitted to keep their sidearms. That was a visible sign that they were considered to have behaved honorably and were being treated as such. Most of the animals with the army, horses and oxen, were the private property of the soldiers. At Lee's request Grant gave orders that those men be able to keep their animals and take them home thus making it possible for them to work their farms and help heal the economic damage of the war.

Grant offered Lee generous terms. He allowed the officers and soldiers to return to their homes after their promise that they would not again take up arms against the Union. The troops had to surrender their weapons, but Grant permitted Lee's officers to keep their pistols and swords. When Lee mentioned the distressing condition of southern agriculture, Grant said "Let all the men who claim to own a horse or mule take the animals home with them to work their little farms. This," he said, "will do much toward conciliating our people."
Grant will give them food and let them go back home.
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13y ago

they made it easier for Lee to surrender.

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Q: What effect did Grant's surrender terms most likely have on Lee?
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