Jump directly to the Content


The scene was thick. The clouds were heavy and dark gray. The mood was tense. It was no time to take a walk in the park or stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue. The smell of death was in the air. A decision was essential. With paper and pen in hand, the long, lank frame of a lonely man sat quietly at his desk. The dispatch he wrote was sent immediately. It shaped the destiny of a nation at war with itself.

It was a simple message … a style altogether his. No ribbons of rhetoric were woven through the note. No satin frills, no enigmatic eloquence. It was plain, direct, brief, to the point. A bearded Army officer soon read it and frowned. It said:

April 7, 1865, 11 a.m.

Lieut. Gen. Grant,

Gen. Sheridan says, "If the thing is pressed, I think that Lee will surrender."

Let the thing be pressed.

A. Lincoln

Grant nodded in agreement. He did as he was ordered. Exactly two days later at Appomattox Court House, General Robert E. Lee surrendered. "The thing was pressed" and the war was ended.

Simplicity. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Reaching a New Generation with the Bible
Reaching a New Generation with the Bible
We can no longer depend on methods that worked 20 years ago.
From the Magazine
Christianity Today’s 2022 Book Awards
Christianity Today’s 2022 Book Awards
Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.
Editor's Pick
9 in 10 Evangelicals Don’t Think Sermons Are Too Long
9 in 10 Evangelicals Don’t Think Sermons Are Too Long
Even with recent divides in congregations, survey finds high levels of satisfaction among churchgoers.