April 2015 Documents of the Month

 

The Museum library contains a wealth of important documents relating to the many events of this most profoundly
significant month of the war: Federal victory in the 10-month-long Petersburg Campaign, the evacuation and capture of the Confederate capital of Richmond, the surrender of Lee to Grant at Appomattox, the Confederate evacuation of
Mobile, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the high-stakes surrender / armistice negotiations between Johnston and Sherman.  No single document can embody those events. This pair of documents reveals something of what April 1865 was all about. 

R. E. Lee’s General Order No. 9 – his farewell address to his army – is the closest Confederate equivalent to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in eloquence and in fame. Composed by Lee’s staff officer, Lt. Col. Charles Marshall, it articulates the deep mutual respect between commander and soldiers, and also anticipated what became the “Lost Cause”
interpretation of the Civil War.  This is one of three copies signed by Lee in the Museum’s collection.

One of the last entries in a register of slave births, marriages, deaths, and sales on the plantations of the Francis Jerdone family of Louisa & Albemarle counties, Virginia, from 1763-1865 offers a striking counterpoint to Lee’s farewell
address:

Negro slaves emancipated by the Federal  Congress April 9th 1865

                After the termination of a war beginning 1861 and ending 1865  Between the States Composing the Southern Confederacy and the Federal States

The U.S. Congress did not of course do anything on April 9, 1865, to emancipate enslaved people. But it is
significant that the keeper of this register – and the people whose names appear in it – considered Appomattox to be the date of their freedom.

View the documents in greater detail here. 

If you are interested in learning more about these documents or other items in our collection, please visit our Archives page.

Please also visit our Artifact of the Month page.

Document of the Month Archives

Click on the images or links below to learn more about past Documents of the Month.

   

March 2015

   
 
   

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

 
 

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

 

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

 

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

Jackson Letter   Transcription


Livingston Letter   Transcription

 

Booker 1862 Booker 1863

Letter Descriptions

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012


Document   Explanation/Transcription

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012