News reached Washington of the surrender at Appomattox late in the evening on April 9. As one might imagine, the next day was one of celebration and jubilation. People wanted their president to say something about the great victory. Lincoln fended off these requests on April 10, although he asked the band present to play “Dixie,” because it was “one of the best tunes I have ever heard.” However, he promised to offer some appropriate remarks the next evening.
It did not take long for Ulysses S. Grant to leave Appomattox Court House: he did so on the afternoon of April 10, when he headed to Burkeville to catch a train to City Point. That repaired line proved rather rickety, as Grant did not make it to City Point until April 11, where Mrs. Grant awaited his arrival. The general declined an offer to visit Richmond, but several staff officers took advantage of a travel delay to visit the former capital of the Confederacy.
Robert E. Lee stayed near Appomattox Court House: he would not leave until April 12. He spent some time gathering information and preparing a report of his army’s final campaign, declaring that Grant had five times as many soldiers as Lee–a rather large exaggeration, to say the least.
At Danville, Jefferson Davis prepared to carry on the fight. So did Dabney Maury at Mobile, although he had decided to evacuate that city in the wake of Union successes on April 9 and 10. Meanwhile, William T. Sherman approached Goldsborough, North Carolina, where he learned of the events at Appomattox. Now he could focus his efforts on taking out Joseph E. Johnston’s ramshackle Rebel army.