the journalists memorial

gabriel4sam  asked:

Before we see what happen with ObiAniDala in the #eyelense could we have something about Eeth Koth? Because the poor guy died and everyone is rejoicing because the end of the war but there is somebody who mourn him specifically I hope ? He will not be totally forgotten? Do they interview his former Master /Padawans ? Perhaps a Knight-partner and you understand they were lovers?

Watching the man for a long moment, Cana finally opened her mouth. “You are Sharad Hett, former padawan to Eeth Koth and former Jedi Knight?”

The bald man gave a slow nod before sighing. “Before you ask, yes, I am also the same Sharad Hett who is the champion of Krmar and too many titles to remember.” He shifted. “Can we… leave those titles behind? Those were titles worth celebrating, this is not a time to celebrate for me.”

Cana’s wings fluttered as she nodded. “I understand, you were close to your master.”

Sharad looked down, staring at his hands for a few long moments before speaking. “He allowed me to keep in touch with my family, we formed a bond closer to father and son then perhaps he should have allowed but that was what we did. He called me fearless and dedicated and praised me for hard work.”

He closed his eyes for another long moment but Cana allowed the silence to fill the room, let Sharad decide what he’d say.

“Eeth… has joined the Force and Jedi are taught not to mourn because all that dies are not truly gone, it has only rejoined the Force. It may no longer be the same shape or form, but he’s there and though I will miss him for every day of my life, the ache will lessen with time but for now its fresh and it bleeds.” The human looked up, brown eyes glittering faintly in the light.

“…Then tell us about his life, Sharad, so that others knows the man who gave his life for the Republic.” Cana encouraged quietly.

Sharad gave a little blink and then he smiled faintly. “…Eeth liked to lay on his back on worlds where the pollution was low enough to still see the stars, he liked tracing star patterns and telling stories about the shapes he could trace.” He leaned forward, the stories spilling from his lips like an ocean of the man he had known.

()()()

“I saw that there was a new statue to be unveiled in the halls of the Jedi, the plaque in the hallway read Eeth Koth.” Cana questioned with care.

Master Kolar opened his mouth then shut it, swallowing heavily as his hands twisted into his tunic once again before he tried speaking once again. “Yes, its… we voted that he should be remembered for his dedication and sacrifice in duty. Losing his life… in the line of duty… its a bronze statue, it should be done in a few days and there will be a ceremony after his… after the cremation.”

Agen Kolar eyes were red-rimmed and one could almost speculate…

Well Cana was already aware of one illicit relationship (and marriage!) in the temple so it wasn’t against the odds that another existed.

“You two were…good friends?” She tried gently, wings fluttering when tear glassy eyes meet hers.

And then Agen smiled his best smile, a tear slowly rolling down his face. “The best. We… did you know his name meant fearless? He was fearless too, his combat skills rivaled mine and…” He clenched his eyes shut again and took a deep breath. “…He is-” He broke off his own words and swallowed hard again. “…was fond of Nabooan pears, I could bribe him into almost anything if I got him glazed Nabooan pears…” He trailed off, sounding lost.

Watching the other stare at his knees, Cana eventually reached out and rested a hand on his, Agen looking up. “…He sounds like someone the Galaxy should miss.” She murmured.

The zabrak swallowed before smiling at her faintly. “Thank you…”

It would not ease the pain, not yet… but it was good to know that others would know Eeth Koth and what he meant to some of the Order’s inhabitants.

()()()

Sitting down slowly, Depa stared at the blue skinned toydarian. “I… I assume this requested briefing is about Master Kenobi?” She questioned quietly, already aware of the interviews that had been taken for Eeth’s memory.

The Journalist nodded. “We broadcasted the entire battle that happened on the emergency channels…including the end where Master Kenobi collapsed into seizure. I won’t ask what he did, goddesses knows it would go above my head and most of us Force blind people but…may we ask for his condition? Many of us worry.” She questioned, having seen many of the holonet forums for her shows full of questions.

Depa sighed, drawing a weary hand over her face before nodding and sitting straight. “Currently Master Kenobi is in coma, one which he might never wake from. The healers are…not hopeful.” You could hear a pin drop in the room.

The Jedi stared at Cana for a long moment as the journalist wings fluttered in agitation. “…Things will be as the Force wills. If he wakes it will be at its behest, if not…” Depa lost her words there.

“If not?” Cana prompted.

“…If not then we return him to the Force as he would have wanted.”

Cana’s eyes widened in shock and the camera woman dropped something.

Depa looked between them before sighing. “You have to understand…Obi-Wan is currently Force blind, he may never recover. Think of it as an electric socket that has drawn too much energy and overblown… the chance of him filling with the Force again is… slim.” She whispered.

Cana didn’t know what to say after that, staring at the Jedi who watched the window quietly. Then Depa suddenly laughed quietly. “Obi-Wan hated piloting, for all that he is a great pilot… I rather hope to hear him complain again.” She stood and bowed, signaling the end of the interview.

Grant and Lee

On April 9, 1865, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant of the United States Army and General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate States of America’s Army of Northern Virginia gathered along with their officers in the parlor of the home of Wilmer McLean in Appomattox Court House, Virginia. After four bloody, tragic years and several punishing months that saw General Lee’s movements shadowed at every turn by General Grant’s Army, the venerable Confederate commander realized that further resistance was futile and began the long process of healing the broken nation by surrendering his beloved Army of Northern Virginia to General Grant.

When dramatic, world-changing events in history take place, we rarely get firsthand accounts from the principals involved. Fortunately for us, Ulysses S. Grant spent the last weeks of his life putting the finishing touches on his autobiography, Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant (BOOKKINDLE), which spotlight many of the most important moments of the Civil War through the eyes of one of that war’s biggest heroes. Grant finished writing his book just a few days before he died in 1885, but what’s most amazing about Grant’s Memoirs is that, nearly 130 years later, they remain one of the most readable books ever written by an American President. Grant’s insight into the proceedings at Appomattox are valuable because it isn’t secondary material from a journalist, or the memories of a junior officer with opinion and prejudices that might cloud reality. Instead, the Memoirs are Grant’s remembrances of a monumental event in American History, and Grant’s honesty – for better and worse – has rarely been challenged.

In the Memoirs, Grant remembers suffering from a blinding migraine headache in the hours before his meeting with General Lee as representatives attempted to set conditions for the meeting between the two generals. As Grant later wrote, when an officer brought a note to from Lee that confirmed the Confederate general’s interest in meeting and setting terms for surrender, “the instant I saw the contents of the note I was cured.”

As Grant prepared to meet Lee at Wilmer McLean’s home, the Union commander almost certainly thought about the vast differences between him and his Confederate counterpart. Lee was 15 years older than Grant, and while they both attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, their records couldn’t have been more different. Lee wanted nothing more than to be a great career soldier, graduated 2nd in his class, and made it through four years at West Point without a single demerit. Grant had dozens of demerits, many of which came from refusing to attend church services, and graduated 21st out of 39 cadets in his class. That he graduated at all was an accomplishment in Grant’s eyes. As he later wrote, “A military life had no charms for me, and I had not the faintest idea of staying in the Army even if I should be graduated.”

After the men graduated from West Point (Lee in 1829, Grant in 1843), they embarked on military careers that took them to very different places, but on April 9, 1865, General Grant was thinking about the first time he had actually met General Lee. Their paths had crossed in the Mexican War (1846-1848) when they served together for some time under General Winfield Scott. Later in life, Grant was particularly outspoken about the injustice of the Mexican War, but he fought bravely during his time in Mexico under General Scott and, especially, under General Zachary Taylor. Grant and Lee were both decorated for their service in Mexico, along with many fellow junior soldiers whose names would become famous in the North and South during the Civil War. In his Memoirs, Grant wrote about his memories of his earlier meeting with Robert E. Lee, but doubted Lee would remember him:

“I had known General Lee in the old army, and had served with him in the Mexican War; but did not suppose, owing to the difference in our age and rank, that he would remember me; while I would more naturally remember him distinctly, because he was the chief of staff of General Scott in the Mexican War.”

Ulysses S. Grant wouldn’t make it easy for General Lee to recognize him, either. One of the only positives to come out of the Mexican War for Ulysses S. Grant was his admiration of Zachary Taylor, who was Grant’s commanding general for most of the war. Taylor – later the 12th President – was nicknamed “Old Rough and Ready” and remembered fondly by his soldiers for his casual, comfortable manner. General Taylor was a sloppy dresser who often wore an odd mix of military dress and civilian clothing, loved to shade his face a large sun hat, and was unorthodox in almost every manner. While Grant may not have been a good student at West Point, he had no problem picking up on the lessons he learned from General Taylor. Robert E. Lee was always impeccably dressed, much like his Mexican War commander, General Winfield Scott. In fact, Grant’s comparison of Scott and Taylor would just as easily work with Lee and Grant:

“I had now been in battle with two leading commanders conducting armies in a foreign land. The contrast between the two was very marked. General Taylor never wore uniform, but dressed himself entirely for comfort. He moved about the field in which he was operating to see through his own eyes the situation. Often he would be without staff officers, and when he was accompanied by them there was no prescribed order in which they followed. He was very much given to sit his horse side-ways – with both feet on one side – particularly on the battlefield. General Scott was the reverse in all these particulars. He always wore all the uniform prescribed or allowed by law when he inspected his lines; word would be sent to all division and brigade commanders in advance, notifying them of the hour when the commanding general might be expected. This was done so that all the army might be under arms to salute their chief as he passed. On these occasions he wore his dress uniform, cocked hat, aiguillettes, sabre and spurs. His staff proper, besides all officers constructively on his staff – engineers, inspectors, quartermasters, etc., that could be spared – followed, also in uniform and in prescribed order. Orders were prepared with great care and evidently with the view that they should be a history of what followed…But with their opposite characteristics both were great and successful soldiers; both were true, patriotic and upright in all their dealings. Both were pleasant to serve under – Taylor was pleasant to serve with. Scott saw more through the eyes of his staff officers than through his own. His plans were deliberately prepared, and fully expressed in orders. Taylor saw for himself, and gave orders to meet the emergency without reference to how they would read in history.”

While Robert E. Lee was not insufferable like Winfield Scott, he was still, even after several brutal weeks of fighting, dressed in a way that would have led any outside observer to believe he was receiving the surrender on that day. The messages that Grant and Lee had exchanged that day had resulted in a meeting quicker than Grant had expected, so the Union general was wearing his usual battlefield dress as he prepared to meet the dashing General Lee. In his Memoirs, Grant acknowledges feeling a bit self-conscious about his “rough garb”. “I was without a sword,” Grant remembered, “as I usually was when on horseback on the field, and wore a soldier’s blouse for a coat, with (only) the shoulder straps of my rank to indicate to the army who I was.” If the war had been decided with a fashion contest between Grant and Lee, we’d all be singing “Dixie”. According to Grant:

“General Lee was dressed in a full uniform which was entirely new, and was wearing a sword of considerable value, very likely the sword which had been presented by the State of Virginia; at all events, it was an entirely different sword from the one that would ordinarily be worn in the field. In my rough traveling suit, the uniform of a private with the straps of lieutenant-general, I must have contrasted very strangely with a man so handsomely dressed, six feet high and of faultless form.”

Upon entering McLean’s home, Grant and Lee shook hands and the officers who accompanied the two generals were silent. Grant, who had been elated earlier to meet with Lee and bring the war to a close, found himself feeling “sad and depressed”. “I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us.” Grant had so much respect for Lee that simply meeting him face-to-face in such a moment left the Union general nervous. As they sat in the silent and still parlor of Wilmer McLean’s home, Grant tried to break the ice by mentioning their previous service – on the same side – in Mexico. To Grant’s surprise, Lee remembered him well:

“We soon fell into a conversation about old army times. He remarked that he remembered me very well in the old army; and I told him that as a matter of course I remembered him perfectly, but from the difference in our rank and years (there being about sixteen years’ difference in our ages), I had thought it very likely that I had not attracted his attention sufficiently to be remembered by him after such a long interval. Our conversation grew so pleasant that I almost forgot the object of our meeting.”

General Lee didn’t forget, however. Lee steered the conversation back towards the terms of his army’s surrender. Grant’s initials “U.S.” had gained him the nickname of “Unconditional Surrender” Grant throughout the war, but the truth was that he didn’t have a template for the conditions required of his vanquished opponents. Grant was aware of President Abraham Lincoln’s hope for a smooth reconciliation as the country began healing in the wake of the Civil War. With this in mind and his deep respect for General Lee’s leadership, Grant set terms so generous that Lee was surprised. Lee’s soldiers would have their names recorded, surrender any weapons that were supplied by the Confederate government, and take an oath to not take up arms against the United States. After doing that, they would be free to return to their homes peacefully and without threat of prosecution for insurrection or treason. When Lee mentioned that most of the horses in his army were the personal property of the soldiers who rode them, Grant allowed soldiers to take any horses or personal belongings back home with them. Grant even allowed the defeated Confederate soldiers keep their sidearms. When General Lee saw the generous terms set forth by General Grant, he was astonished. With emotion, he thanked Grant for his generosity, telling the Union commander, “This will have a very happy effect on my army.”

With the surrender signed, General Lee mentioned to Grant that many of his soldiers had gone without food except for dried corn for several days and were in bad shape. Grant immediately authorized enough food to feed 25,000 men and gave orders to a nearby quartermaster to provide Lee’s army with as much food as they needed for their return to their homes. After exiting the McLean home, Lee climbed on to his beloved horse, Traveller, and observers noted that Lee, for the first time anyone could remember, looked as if he was having a hard time controlling his emotions. Grant was preparing to mount his horse, Cincinnati, when the two generals locked eyes once more. In a show of deep respect, Grant removed his hat and saluted Lee – and every Union soldier in proximity followed their commander’s example. Lee raised his hat and saluted Grant and rode off.

Shortly after Grant and Lee parted ways, the news of Lee’s surrender began to spread throughout the Union encampments. Union soldiers began cheering and firing salutes while their defeated Confederate opponents were well within earshot. Grant immediately ordered an end to the celebration. “The Confederates were now our prisoners,” wrote Grant, “and we did not want to exult over their downfall.”

The next day, General Lee sent a brief, but eloquent, order to his Army of Northern Virginia in which he acknowledged that they had “been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources” and that he was “determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen”. Lee’s order informed the men of their freedom to return to their homes, and closed by thanking his soldiers for their service and bidding them “an affectionate farewell.” Before Grant returned to Washington, D.C. on April 10th for a meeting with President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, the Union commander stopped by where Lee’s army had set up camp. Grant and Lee sat atop their horses between the lines of their respective armies and talked for nearly an hour, both generals expressing their hope that the Confederate armies still in the field in pockets of the South would follow Lee’s lead so the nation could begin the difficult work of healing. Within a few hours, they were on their way home, heading in opposite directions, Grant to the North and Lee to the South.

Robert E. Lee died in 1870, and despite the cause that most people think he fought for (Lee abhorred slavery; the State of Virginia came before the Union in Lee’s mind), the Confederacy’s commanding general has largely become an American hero throughout the entire country. Maybe it was due to Lee’s support of the abolition of slavery or maybe it is because Lee is considered an American ideal of an honest and honorable warrior with quiet strength, but somehow Lee has made it to the Pantheon of American leaders that Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson will likely never reach. In the last five years of his life, General Lee served as the president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia – a school that was renamed Washington and Lee University after Lee’s death.

Grant lived until 1885, but his later life was a bit more star-crossed than Lee’s. Grant turned down a request to accompany President Lincoln to the theater less than a week after Appomattox. Lincoln was killed that night. Grant feuded with Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, after the Civil War, and sought the Presidency himself in 1868. Grant served two terms as President (1869-1877), and his Administration was riddled with corruption, although Grant himself was not personally corrupt. Grant’s reputation as President has begun to improve over the past few years due to his work on the only meaningful Civil Rights legislation passed until the mid-20th Century. After his Presidency, Grant went on a 2-year-long world tour with his wife and was greeted around the world by adoring fans interested in seeing an American President who also happened to be the hero of the Civil War. In 1880, Grant sought an unprecedented third term as President, but narrowly lost the Republican nomination to James Garfield. Sadly, Grant’s finances were liquidated by crooked financial partners in the 1880’s and he was forced to sell historic artifacts from his Civil War service in order to survive. In 1884, Grant was diagnosed with throat cancer, and became determined to make money for his wife’s benefit in case of his death. Mark Twain signed a deal with Grant to write his Memoirs, and Grant finished the book just a few days before his death in July 1885. Grant’s book was a critical and commercial success, and left his wife with financial stability.

We have so much information on Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee that we can piece together nearly every aspect of their lives, and often in their own words. Few Americans have affected the lives of so many people while also having such an influence on one another. There are hundreds of books about Grant, Lee, the Civil War, and dozens of combinations of subjects featuring those two great military leaders and their times. What most people don’t know is that Appomattox wasn’t the last time Grant and Lee saw each other.

On May 1, 1869, President Ulysses S. Grant welcomed the president of Washington College, Robert E. Lee, to the White House. Lee had considered inviting President-elect Grant to visit Washington College before Grant was inaugurated, but Lee didn’t want to make a request that his busy former adversary felt obligated to accept. After Grant was inaugurated in March 1869, he learned of Lee’s interest in visiting with him, and the President invited Lee to the White House. Unfortunately, there are no definitive answers to what was said between President Grant and General Lee. They two men only spent about 15 minutes together, and one observer suggested that there was a bit of sadness when the two men saw each other. Perhaps it was because of what they put each other through five years earlier, but perhaps it was the fact that the two former generals were older and in much different places.

What’s remarkable about the short meeting is that Robert E. Lee may have been the only American in history to visit the White House after being stripped of his citizenship. A bill to restore General Lee’s American citizenship was passed by Congress in 1975 – 110 years after the Civil War ended – and President Gerald Ford signed off on the restoration of Lee’s citizenship in a ceremony at Arlington House, the home that Lee lived in before it was occupied by Union soldiers during the Civil War and turned into a National Cemetery.

After just fifteen minutes on May 1, 1869, President Grant and General Lee once again parted ways. We don’t know what they said or how they felt or what they thought as they parted. The two men who had been such a huge part of each other’s lives would never see each other again. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that Grant and Lee could come together at all after chasing each other throughout the country and killing thousands of Americans while trying to destroy each other. It’s a tribute to the two men that they were living in a country still needing time to heal, and they stepped forward – leading the way just like they did while waging war – to model for Americans how to wage peace.

I saw John a few more times socially over the coming months, at a Grammy Awards party, in Ashley’s bar, once in the Oyster Bar at the Plaza Hotel when he was with Harry Nilsson, whom I’d met and interviewed previously, and again at a small private party at an apartment on the Upper East Side. I remember watching John autograph an Italian Beatles album at this party, and instead of just signing his name he added dialogue in bubbles coming from each of the Beatles’ mouths on the live shot on the front. George’s bubble read: “Anyone fancy a curry after the show?” while Paul’s read: “Come on lads, we need to rehearse more.” Ringo’s read: “What song are we playing?” and John wrote:”I’m leaving to form my own group” in his bubble.

Ashley’s bar and restaurant was a regular haunt of mine, and its proprietor Ashley Pandel and I were firm friends. John was there one night with his friend Peter Boyle, the actor, and Boyle’s companion Lorraine Alterman who wrote for Rolling Stone and also contributed to Melody Maker. Yoko, whom I never met, had evidently been with them earlier but had left before I arrived, and John invited me to join their table. He was on good form that night, cracking jokes and signing autographs for fans and at one point in the evening he turned to me and said: “Have you noticed that it’s always men with moustaches and beards who ask me for my autograph?” I said I hadn’t but that I’d watch out in future and, sure enough, it seemed he was right. Only men with moustaches and beards asked John for his autograph. “It was always the same,” he said. “Me and George got the guys with beards wanting to know the meaning of life, while Paul and Ringo got the women!”

Inevitably, perhaps, a short while later a girl came to ask John for his autograph. Much to our amusement, though doubtless to her amazement, John grabbed her around the waist and sat her down on his knee. “Where are you now McCartney?” he shouted. “I’ve got a girl at last.”

—  Chris Charlesworth (journalist), Rock’s Backpages: Memories of John Lennon. (2001)

I’m really excited over all the great feedback I’ve been receiving for Confessions: I Dare You. I never imagined it, so thank you for supporting me, rare pairs, original characters, and expanding the Wizarding World! 

I couldn’t help myself and started face casting. Meet Albus Severus Potter (DHE/CC), Polly Chapman (CC), Yoshio Hioki (OC), Miho Watanabe (OC) and her kitsune form, Taka (OC), Kimiko (OC), and Kenji (OC).


Confessions: I Dare You
Author: SaintDionysus
Beta: MotherofBulls
AO3FFN

Rating: E
Genre: Rom-Com, Relationship building, Foodies
Timeline: Post CC
Main Pairing: Albus Severus Potter x Polly Chapman
Side-Pairings: Scorose, Dramione
Summary:
Part of Confessions: Memories and More Collection

A companion collection to Confessions of mini-stories featuring flashbacks and secondary characters.

Boy and Girl meet at school. Boy and Girl are indifferent. Boy becomes chef. Girl becomes food writer. Boy kisses girl. Girl…does other stuff. 

Join Albus and Polly as they figure out how to define their relationship while discovering Japan’s food scene and wizarding culture.

Black Memories //closed FNaF3 RP

the-knight-shift //

     It was late in the evening. In fact, it was well past closing time. When Oscar pulled up to Freddy’s for his shift that night, someone was peering inside the establishment. “Ugh, come on, isn’t anybody here? I thought they had a night guy!”

     This young man had fiery red hair and a pencil behind his ear. How long had he even been standing here? The young man turned, hearing Oscar’s car pull up. “Oh thank God an employee! Must be the night guy. Oscar, I think it was… Hey there! Name’s Alex. Alex Fischer. Probably haven’t heard of me… but uh anyway I’d like to talk to you inside! I’;m not here to buy anything so don’t worry about doing anything like that for me… just here to talk.”

     Alex Fischer? That name was vaguely familiar, maybe. Sometimes people in Town could be heard laughing about Alex’s apparent obsession with running articles on Freddy’s after so long. The past was behind them and there couldn’t possibly be anything left to report on. Alex was a newspaper journalist.

Grant and Lee

On April 9, 1865, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant of the United States Army and General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate States of America’s Army of Northern Virginia gathered along with their officers in the parlor of the home of Wilmer McLean in Appomattox Court House, Virginia.  After four bloody, tragic years and several punishing months that saw General Lee’s movements shadowed at every turn by General Grant’s Army, the venerable Confederate commander realized that further resistance was futile and began the long process of healing the broken nation by surrendering his beloved Army of Northern Virginia to General Grant. 

When dramatic, world-changing events in history take place, we rarely get firsthand accounts from the principals involved.  Fortunately for us, Ulysses S. Grant spent the last weeks of his life putting the finishing touches on his autobiography, Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant (BOOKKINDLE), which spotlight many of the most important moments of the Civil War through the eyes of one of that war’s biggest heroes.  Grant finished writing his book just a few days before he died in 1885, but what’s most amazing about Grant’s Memoirs is that, nearly 130 years later, they remain one of the most readable books ever written by an American President.  Grant’s insight into the proceedings at Appomattox are valuable because it isn’t secondary material from a journalist, or the memories and a junior officer with opinion and prejudices that might cloud reality.  Instead, the Memoirs are Grant’s remembrances of a monumental event in American History, and Grant’s honesty – for better and worse – has rarely been challenged.

In the Memoirs, Grant remembers suffering from a blinding migraine headache in the hours before his meeting with General Lee as representatives attempted to set conditions for the meeting between the two generals.  As Grant later wrote, when an officer brought a note to from Lee that confirmed the Confederate general’s interest in meeting and setting terms for surrender, “the instant I saw the contents of the note I was cured.”

As Grant prepared to meet Lee at Wilmer McLean’s home, the Union commander almost certainly thought about the vast differences between him and his Confederate counterpart.  Lee was 15 years older than Grant, and while they both attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, their records couldn’t have been more different.  Lee wanted nothing more than to be a great career soldier, graduated 2nd in his class, and made it through four years at West Point without a single demerit.  Grant had dozens of demerits, many of which came from refusing to attend church services, and graduated 21st out of 39 cadets in his class.  That he graduated at all was an accomplishment in Grant’s eyes.  As he later wrote, “A military life had no charms for me, and I had not the faintest idea of staying in the Army even if I should be graduated.”

After the men graduated from West Point (Lee in 1829, Grant in 1843), they embarked on military careers that took them to very different places, but on April 9, 1865, General Grant was thinking about the first time he had actually met General Lee.  Their paths had crossed  in the Mexican War (1846-1848) when they served together for some time under General Winfield Scott.  Later in life, Grant was particularly outspoken about the injustice of the Mexican War, but he fought bravely during his time in Mexico under General Scott and, especially, under General Zachary Taylor.  Grant and Lee were both decorated for their service in Mexico, along with many fellow junior soldiers whose names would become famous in the North and South during the Civil War.  In his Memoirs, Grant wrote about his memories of his earlier meeting with Robert E. Lee, but doubted Lee would remember him:

“I had known General Lee in the old army, and had served with him in the Mexican War; but did not suppose, owing to the difference in our age and rank, that he would remember me; while I would more naturally remember him distinctly, because he was the chief of staff of General Scott in the Mexican War.”

Ulysses S. Grant wouldn’t make it easy for General Lee to recognize him, either.  One of the only positives to come out of the Mexican War for Ulysses S. Grant was his admiration of Zachary Taylor, who was Grant’s commanding general for most of the war.  Taylor – later the 12th President – was nicknamed “Old Rough and Ready” and remembered fondly by his soldiers for his casual, comfortable manner.  General Taylor was a sloppy dresser who often wore an odd mix of military dress and civilian clothing, loved to shade his face a large sun hat, and was unorthodox in almost every manner.  While Grant may not have been a good student at West Point, he had no problem picking up on the lessons he learned from General Taylor.  Robert E. Lee was always impeccably dressed, much like his Mexican War commander, General Winfield Scott.  In fact, Grant’s comparison of Scott and Taylor would just as easily work with Lee and Grant:

“I had now been in battle with two leading commanders conducting armies in a foreign land.  The contrast between the two was very marked.  General Taylor never wore uniform, but dressed himself entirely for comfort.  He moved about the field in which he was operating to see through his own eyes the situation.  Often he would be without staff officers, and when he was accompanied by them there was no prescribed order in which they followed.  He was very much given to sit his horse side-ways – with both feet on one side – particularly on the battlefield.  General Scott was the reverse in all these particulars.  He always wore all the uniform prescribed or allowed by law when he inspected his lines; word would be sent to all division and brigade commanders in advance, notifying them of the hour when the commanding general might be expected.  This was done so that all the army might be under arms to salute their chief as he passed.  On these occasions he wore his dress uniform, cocked hat, aiguillettes, sabre and spurs.  His staff proper, besides all officers constructively on his staff – engineers, inspectors, quartermasters, etc., that could be spared – followed, also in uniform and in prescribed order.  Orders were prepared with great care and evidently with the view that they should be a history of what followed…But with their opposite characteristics both were great and successful soldiers; both were true, patriotic and upright in all their dealings.  Both were pleasant to serve under – Taylor was pleasant to serve with.  Scott saw more through the eyes of his staff officers than through his own.  His plans were deliberately prepared, and fully expressed in orders.  Taylor saw for himself, and gave orders to meet the emergency without reference to how they would read in history.”

While Robert E. Lee was not insufferable like Winfield Scott, he was still, even after several brutal weeks of fighting, dressed in a way that would have led any outside observer to believe he was receiving the surrender on that day.  The messages that Grant and Lee had exchanged that day had resulted in a meeting quicker than Grant had expected, so the Union general was wearing his usual battlefield dress as he prepared to meet the dashing General Lee.  In his Memoirs, Grant acknowledges feeling a bit self-conscious about his “rough garb”.  “I was without a sword,” Grant remembered, “as I usually was when on horseback on the field, and wore a soldier’s blouse for a coat, with (only) the shoulder straps of my rank to indicate to the army who I was."  If the war had been decided with a fashion contest between Grant and Lee, we’d all be singing ”Dixie“.  According to Grant:

"General Lee was dressed in a full uniform which was entirely new, and was wearing a sword of considerable value, very likely the sword which had been presented by the State of Virginia; at all events, it was an entirely different sword from the one that would ordinarily be worn in the field.  In my rough traveling suit, the uniform of a private with the straps of lieutenant-general, I must have contrasted very strangely with a man so handsomely dressed, six feet high and of faultless form.”

Upon entering McLean’s home, Grant and Lee shook hands and the officers who accompanied the two generals were silent.  Grant, who had been elated earlier to meet with Lee and bring the war to a close, found himself feeling “sad and depressed”.  “I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.  I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us."  Grant had so much respect for Lee that simply meeting him face-to-face in such a moment left the Union general nervous.  As they sat in the silent and still parlor of Wilmer McLean’s home, Grant tried to break the ice by mentioning their previous service – on the same side – in Mexico.  To Grant’s surprise, Lee remembered him well:

"We soon fell into a conversation about old army times.  He remarked that he remembered me very well in the old army; and I told him that as a matter of course I remembered him perfectly, but from the difference in our rank and years (there being about sixteen years’ difference in our ages), I had thought it very likely that I had not attracted his attention sufficiently to be remembered by him after such a long interval.  Our conversation grew so pleasant that I almost forgot the object of our meeting.”

General Lee didn’t forget, however.  Lee steered the conversation back towards the terms of his army’s surrender.  Grant’s initials “U.S.” had gained him the nickname of “Unconditional Surrender” Grant throughout the war, but the truth was that he didn’t have a template for the conditions required of his vanquished opponents.  Grant was aware of President Abraham Lincoln’s hope for a smooth reconciliation as the country began healing in the wake of the Civil War.  With this in mind and his deep respect for General Lee’s leadership, Grant set terms so generous that Lee was surprised.  Lee’s soldiers would have their names recorded, surrender any weapons that were supplied by the Confederate government, and take an oath to not take up arms against the United States.  After doing that, they would be free to return to their homes peacefully and without threat of prosecution for insurrection or treason.  When Lee mentioned that most of the horses in his army were the personal property of the soldiers who rode them, Grant allowed soldiers to take any horses or personal belongings back home with them.  Grant even allowed the defeated Confederate soldiers keep their sidearms.  When General Lee saw the generous terms set forth by General Grant, he was astonished.  With emotion, he thanked Grant for his generosity, telling the Union commander, “This will have a very happy effect on my army.”

With the surrender signed, General Lee mentioned to Grant that many of his soldiers had gone without food except for dried corn for several days and were in bad shape.  Grant immediately authorized enough food to feed 25,000 men and gave orders to a nearby quartermaster to provide Lee’s army with as much food as they needed for their return to their homes.  After exiting the McLean home, Lee climbed on to his beloved horse, Traveller, and observers noted that Lee, for the first time anyone could remember, looked as if he was having a hard time controlling his emotions.  Grant was preparing to mount his horse, Cincinnati, when the two generals locked eyes once more.  In a show of deep respect, Grant removed his hat and saluted Lee – and every Union soldier in proximity followed their commander’s example.  Lee raised his hat and saluted Grant and rode off.

Shortly after Grant and Lee parted ways, the news of Lee’s surrender began to spread throughout the Union encampments.  Union soldiers began cheering and firing salutes while their defeated Confederate opponents were well within earshot.  Grant immediately ordered an end to the celebration.  “The Confederates were now our prisoners,” wrote Grant, “and we did not want to exult over their downfall.”

The next day, General Lee sent a brief, but eloquent, order to his Army of Northern Virginia in which he acknowledged that they had “been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources"  and that he was "determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen”.  Lee’s order informed the men of their freedom to return to their homes, and closed by thanking his soldiers for their service and bidding them “an affectionate farewell."  Before Grant returned to Washington, D.C. on April 10th for a meeting with President Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, the Union commander stopped by where Lee’s army had set up camp.  Grant and Lee sat atop their horses between the lines of their respective armies and talked for nearly an hour, both generals expressing their hope that the Confederate armies still in the field in pockets of the South would follow Lee’s lead so the nation could begin the difficult work of healing.  Within a few hours, they were on their way home, heading in opposite directions, Grant to the North and Lee to the South.

Robert E. Lee died in 1870, and despite the cause that most people think he fought for (Lee abhorred slavery; the State of Virginia came before the Union in Lee’s mind), the Confederacy’s commanding general has largely become an American hero throughout the entire country.  Maybe it was due to Lee’s support of the abolition of slavery or maybe it is because Lee is considered an American ideal of an honest and honorable warrior with quiet strength, but somehow Lee has made it to the Pantheon of American leaders that Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson will likely never reach.  In the last five years of his life, General Lee served as the president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia – a school that was renamed Washington and Lee University after Lee’s death.

Grant lived until 1885, but his later life was a bit more star-crossed than Lee’s.  Grant turned down a request to accompany President Lincoln to the theater less than a week after Appomattox.  Lincoln was killed that night.  Grant feuded with Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, after the Civil War, and sought the Presidency himself in 1868.  Grant served two terms as President (1869-1877), and his Administration was riddled with corruption, although Grant himself was not personally corrupt.  Grant’s reputation as President has begun to improve over the past few years due to his work on the only meaningful Civil Rights legislation passed until the mid-20th Century.  After his Presidency, Grant went on a 2-year-long world tour with his wife and was greeted around the world by adoring fans interested in seeing an American President who also happened to be the hero of the Civil War.  In 1880, Grant sought an unprecedented third term as President, but narrowly lost the Republican nomination to James Garfield.  Sadly, Grant’s finances were liquidated by crooked financial partners in the 1880’s and he was forced to sell historic artifacts from his Civil War service in order to survive.  In 1884, Grant was diagnosed with throat cancer, and became determined to make money for his wife’s benefit in case of his death.  Mark Twain signed a deal with Grant to write his Memoirs, and Grant finished the book just a few days before his death in July 1885.  Grant’s book was a critical and commercial success, and left his wife with financial stability.

We have so much information on Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee that we can piece together nearly every aspect of their lives, and often in their own words.  Few Americans have affected the lives of so many people while also having such an influence on one another.  There are hundreds of books about Grant, Lee, the Civil War, and dozens of combinations of subjects featuring those two great military leaders and their times.  What most people don’t know is that Appomattox wasn’t the last time Grant and Lee saw each other.

On May 1, 1869, President Ulysses S. Grant welcomed the president of Washington College, Robert E. Lee, to the White House.  Lee had considered inviting President-elect Grant to visit Washington College before Grant was inaugurated, but Lee didn’t want to make a request that his busy former adversary felt obligated to accept.  After Grant was inaugurated in March 1869, he learned of Lee’s interest in visiting with him, and the President invited Lee to the White House.  Unfortunately, there are no definitive answers to what was said between President Grant and General Lee.  They two men only spent about 15 minutes together, and one observer suggested that there was a bit of sadness when the two men saw each other.  Perhaps it was because of what they put each other through five years earlier, but perhaps it was the fact that the two former generals were older and in much different places.

What’s remarkable about the short meeting is that Robert E. Lee may have been the only American in history to visit the White House after being stripped of his citizenship.  A bill to restore General Lee’s American citizenship was passed by Congress in 1975 – 110 years after the Civil War ended – and President Gerald Ford signed off on the restoration of Lee’s citizenship in a ceremony at Arlington House, the home that Lee lived in before it was occupied by Union soldiers during the Civil War and turned into a National Cemetery.

After just fifteen minutes on May 1, 1869, President Grant and General Lee once again parted ways.  We don’t know what they said or how they felt or what they thought as they parted.  The two men who had been such a huge part of each other’s lives would never see each other again.  Perhaps the most amazing thing is that Grant and Lee could come together at all after chasing each other throughout the country and killing thousands of Americans while trying to destroy each other.  It’s a tribute to the two men that they were living in a country still needing time to heal, and they stepped forward – leading the way just like they did while waging war – to model for Americans how to wage peace.