A Flag of Truce


By late 1864 the war was coming to an end. In December Gen. William T. Sherman completed his destructive march to the sea. Richmond, the Confederate capital, fell early in April, and on April 9, Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Over the course of the war, some 623,000 Northern and Southern soldiers died.

This towel was used as a flag of truce by Confederate troops during Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865. It was preserved by Gen. George A. Custer, who was present at the surrender.

Bequest of Elizabeth B. Custer, 1936

Associated Date: 1865-04-09

Associated Person: Lee, Robert E.Grant, Ulysses S.

Associated Place: United States: Virginia, Appomattox

Associated: Civil WarRelated Event: Surrender by General LeeCivil War


See more items in: Political History: Political History, General History Collection, Government, Politics, and Reform, Military, Selections from the Abraham Lincoln Collection

Exhibition: American Presidency

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Related Publication: Rubenstein, Harry R.. Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life

Credit Line: Elizabeth B. Custer

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PL.039765Catalog Number: 39765Accession Number: 124419

Object Name: towel

Physical Description: linen (overall material)white (overall color)Measurements: overall: 18 in x 18 1/2 in; 45.72 cm x 46.99 cmmounted: 18 in x 9 1/2 in; 45.72 cm x 24.13 cmfringe: 2 1/2 in; 6.35 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a3-461a-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_515980

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