National Geographic : 1965 Apr
Grant in one of the 42 log-and-board dwellings he built for his staff near the manor house. Here Mr. Lincoln often called. One of his visits occurred just after his meeting with the Confederate peace commis sioners. As my grandmother related in after years, the general was in his office and she, being anxious, "at once became inquisitive and asked Mr. Lincoln if any conclusions in the interests of peace had yet been reached. "He hesitatingly replied, 'Well, no.' "He had evidently come to have a talk with the general," my grandmother went on, "and perhaps thought my ques tions premature, as they undoubtedly were. "I exclaimed: 'No! Why, Mr. President, are you not going to make terms with them? They are our own people, you know!" "Then he answered: 'Yes, I do not forget that,' and quietly taking from his pocket a large paper, he carefully unfolded it and read aloud the terms he proposed to them, which were most liberal, I thought. "After finishing, he looked up, and I said: 'Did they not accept those?' "He smiled wearily and said: 'No.' "Whereupon I wrathfully exclaimed: 'Why, what do they want? That paper is most liberal.' "He smiled, saying, 'I thought when you understood the matter, you would agree with us.' " General of Firmness, Man of Gentleness Mrs. Grant then told Mr. Lincoln that she too had talked with the Confederate emissaries, while they awaited their meeting with the President. "I had quite an interview with the commissioners," she informed him, "telling them they held a brother of mine as a prisoner and that he was a thorough Rebel, if ever there was one. I knew this to be so, as I had had many a battle royal with him on this subject. "These gentlemen asked if General Grant could not ex change him. 'Why, of course not,' I explained. 'My brother is not a soldier.' He was on a visit to a friend in Louisiana when he was captured. "I had already approached General Grant on the subject, and he had asked me if I thought it would be just for him to give a war prisoner in exchange for my brother, when we had so many brave men languishing in prison, who had fought for the Union." Fleeing an inferno, Southern troops and citizens stream across Mayo's Bridge as they leave Richmond. A Con federate soldier, watching flaming warehouses and ex ploding ammunition his fellows in arms had put to the torch, thought, "The old war-scarred city seemed to pre fer annihilation to conquest." On April 3, 1865, Union troops entered a city "wrapped in a cloud of densest smoke through which great tongues of flame leaped in madness to the skies." After four years, the Stars and Stripes flew again at the pillared capitol of Virginia. Modern Mayo's Bridge casts its lights on the James River. Buildings almost hide the capitol's columned 438 facade, above the clump of trees at opposite center.