The Civil War ended this day, April 9, 1865, as Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at the courthouse of Appomattox, Va. Lee took off his sword and handed it to Gen. Grant, and Grant handed it back. The next day, Lee issued his final order: "After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude ... I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen. By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes." Robert E. Lee concluded: "I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you His blessing and protection."