Confederate Leaders Treated Well, According To Hidden History

Although President Lincoln would not accept a negotiated peace with the South, he wanted Gen. Ulysses Grant to let his foes down easily in surrender. Grant complied. Lincoln's vision was or forgiveness in order to "bind up the nation's wounds" and to bring the southern states back into the national fold as soon as possible.

In the chaos surrounding Lincoln's assassination a few days later, The issue of charging Confederate leaders took a back seat. Gen. Lee and his staff were never charged or imprisoned. Lee was offered the presidency of Washington College in Lexington and since he had served as superintendent of West Point, he accepted. The new job suited him.

History professor Robert Watson points out that Lee spent five years saving the school from financial ruin. He was also gracious in defeat, imploring his fellow southerners to do all in their power "to aid in the restoration of peace and harmony." In 1870, Robert E. Lee suffered a massive stroke on campus and died during the start of a new academic year.

President Jefferson Davis was jailed at Fort Monroe, for the lesser offense of treason. Federal officials hoped Davis would ask for pardon, but he would not, feeling it would be an admission of guilt. Two years later, in 1867, he was set free. He settled near Biloxi, Miss., where he was given a hero's welcome. Although he failed in several business ventures, he delivered lectures and lived comfortably, even visiting Europe at one point.

Jefferson Davis's Vice President Alexander Stephens spent a few months behind bars but was then elected to Congress and as governor of Georgia. His Secretary of War, John Reagan went on to represent Texas in Congress.