General Robert E. Lee, the Commander of the Confederate forces, found his army completely surrounded and ravished by Union soldiers. He was forced to surrender to the Union, or have his forces annihilated in a dragged out war in which he was vastly outnumbered in. On April 9th, 1865, he agreed to meet with his opponent, Union General and future President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant. They were to meet at a farmhouse owned by Wilmer McLean, where General Grant would officially sign the surrender of the Confederate Forces. This therefore was the official end to the Civil War.
Lincoln wanted to make the nation a whole again; a solid, single, united nation, the United States of America. In order to accomplish this Lincoln allowed confederate soldiers to sign a form to allow them to be part of the Union, citizens of the United States. Confederate officers were, for the most part excluded from this offer, on the basis of high treason; however,Lincoln extended the honor of becoming a citizen to the opposing Commander, and one of his friends General Robert E. Lee. It is a little know fact that Lincoln had originally asked West Point Graduate Lee to be his Commander AGAINST the South, but Lee declined the offer stating he was a Virginian and could not fight against his home. Lee accepted the offer and was once again by all standards a legal citizen.