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Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Waning Days of the Civil War

Robert E. Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, is often held up as the end of the Civil War. It certainly took the fight out of most of those rebels who still had fight left in the them. A string of surrenders came after that, most notably General Johnston's Army of Tennessee on April 26. Confederate President Jefferson Davis fled, hoping to somehow continue the Confederacy from Mexico, but got captured May 10.

West of the Mississippi River, things moved a bit more slowly. At first, many Confederates thought that news of the surrenders was a Yankee trick. Realization of the truth eventually dawned, however, and General Kirby Smith surrendered his Department of the Trans-Mississippi on May 26. The last rebel to surrender was General Stand Watie in the Indian Territory, shown in this Wikimedia Commons image, who didn't give up until June 23. By this time there had been several more battles and skirmishes in various parts of the South, although things were rapidly winding down.

Despite all this, President Andrew Johnson (who came into office after Lincoln was assassinated on April 14) didn't feel secure enough to issue a proclamation officially ending the war until August 20, more than four months after Appomattox!


  1. Four months later - oh by the way, the war ended ages ago!

  2. The moral of the story is put your future in good hands – your own.

  3. The slowness of communication in those days contributed to many senseless deaths. Was there only Pony Express?

    Robert E. Lee's biography was one of the first I read during my elementary school days. Wasn't his nickname 'Light horse Harry'?

    Interesting post, enjoyed it.

    1. Light-Horse Harry Lee was his ancestor who fought in the American Revolution.


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