As stated in the April 9, 1865 surrender terms, "The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the government of the United States until properly exchanged and each company or regiment commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands... . This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to his home, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they reside."
On the morning of April 10, 1865, Generals Lee and Grant had their last meeting at Appomattox Court House. General Lee requested that his men be given some type of evidence that they were paroled prisoners to protect them from arrest or annoyance.
General Gibbon was ordered to arrange for a small printing press to print blank parole forms. General George Sharpe supervised the operation, which was carried out at the Clover Hill Tavern. Printing began the afternoon of the 10th and continued until the morning of the 11th. The total number of officers and men paroled was 28,231.
General Gibbon reported, "Rolls in duplicate had been prepared of the different commands and on the backs of these was placed a printed slot duly filled out and signed by General George H. Sharpe, the assistant provost marshal, each party keeping a copy. Such officers as did not belong to any particular organization signed the parole for themselves. In addition, each officer and man, when he separated from his command, was given one of the paroles to which I have referred after it was properly filled out and signed by his immediate commanding officer."
Did You Know?
In the week between evacuating Richmond on April 2nd and arriving in Appomattox on April 8th, Lee’s Confederate forces lost half their numbers, from roughly 60,000 men to about 30,000.