The Surrender of General Lee

The Surrender of General Lee

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This print depicts General Ulysses S. Grant handing his rival, General Robert E. Lee, the terms of surrender under an apple tree on April 9, 1865, after the Battle of Appomattox. The men’s officers stand behind them on either side. Ranks of troops and the outline of Appomattox Courthouse are visible in the background. The entire scene is a fabrication by the lithographer, however, as the two generals discussed terms of surrender solely at the McLean house. Instead, a story that Lee had waited under an apple tree for Grant’s reply to his request for surrender morphed into the myth that the leaders had met under the tree. This confusion unfortunately led soldiers to indiscriminately cut apart several apple trees in the vicinity, desiring souvenirs of this historic event.
The print was drawn by Edward Valois, who was a lithographer based in New York City during the 1840s through the 1860s. It was printed by William Robertson, another New York lithographer. The work was published by Thomas Kelly, a successful Irish-born lithographer who had learned the craft in Philadelphia from his father. He moved to New York, where he established a print and frame dealership and continued to publish picturesque scenes of American life. He is possibly the same Thomas Kelly who printed Catholic Bibles and prayer-books in New York, winning an award for these at the 1876 Centennial Exposition.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
ca 1866
Lee, Robert E.
Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson)
Valois, Edward
Robertson, William C.
Kelly, Thomas
place made
United States: New York, New York City
image: 17 5/8 in x 24 1/2 in; 44.7675 cm x 62.23 cm
overall: 22 in x 27 1/4 in; 55.88 cm x 69.215 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Civil War
Uniforms, Military
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
American Civil War Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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