Popular account of Lee giving his sword to Grant is a myth

A LETTER-WRITER June 21 repeated a common misconception, that General Robert E. Lee handed his sword to General Ulysses S. Grant during the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House in 1865 (“Kraft-Putin: War between the statesmen?”): It did not happen, as Grant made clear in his memoirs.

The surrender terms explicitly allowed officers to keep their sidearms and personal property. Lee left the surrender with his sword at his side.

Malcolm F. McPherson


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