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Civil War - Surrender of Confederate Forces.

Some Observations on the Surrender of Various Confederate Forces During the Civil War.

The End of the Civil War


In my view, the history of the Civil War does not deal adequately with the surrender of the various Confederates forces and its implications.

Let us start with Jefferson Davis. Although a graduate of West Point and Secretary of War to President Franklin Perce in 1853, he attempted to personally control the strategies of the Confederate forces during the war and refused to appoint Lee to general-in-chief until 1865 but it was far too late to affect the outcome of the war.

Across the Confederacy, determination remained high through the winter of 1864 into the new year. Yet ominous signs were everywhere. The peace conference had failed. Large areas were overrun, the armies could not stop Union advances, the economy was in shambles, and industry and infrastructure were crumbling—the Confederacy could not make, move, or maintain anything. No one knew what the future held, but uncertainty.

Civilians and soldiers, generals and governors, resolved to fight to the bitter end.

Myths and misconceptions abound about those last days of the Confederacy. There would be no single surrender or treaty that brought the war to an end. Rather, the Confederacy collapsed, its government on the run, its cities occupied, its armies surrendering piecemeal.

Grant was appointed to the new rank of lieutenant general and general in chief of all Union armies in March 1864 following brilliant victories at Nashville, Shiloh and Vicksburg. In his new position he assigned Sherman to command western armies and gave him command of the Military Division of the Mississippi. Sherman drove through Georgia with three armies equaling some 100,000 men and captured Atlanta on September 2, 1864 and Savannah on December 22. Sherman accepted the surrender of the Confederate Armies of the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida on April 26, 1865.

Grant’s main thrust was toward northern Virginia and the siege of Richmond, the Overland Campaign and the Confederate supply hub at Petersburg, Virginia. At Appomattox, he accepted the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia from Lee on April 9, 1865 effectively ending the war.

Lee was attempting to reach General Joseph Johnson of the Confederate Armies of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in North Carolina but was cut off at Appomattox by Major General George Armstrong Custer. Johnson and General Beauregard surrendered to Sherman on April 26, 1865. Beauregard after helping Lee in the defense of Richmond went on to join Johnson in the closing period of the war.

Notes to File

From several articles and book reviews.

Joe Rhein

April 24, 2015

Owner/SourceJoseph P. Rhein

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