Last Civil War Battle : Final Surrender of the Civil War

Thomas' Legion
Introduction & How to Use this Site
Cherokee Chief William Holland Thomas
American Civil War HOMEPAGE
American Civil War
American Civil War Blog
Causes of the Civil War : What Caused the Civil War
Organization of Union and Confederate Armies: Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery
Civil War Navy: Union Navy and Confederate Navy
American Civil War: The Soldier's Life
Civil War Turning Points
American Civil War: Casualties, Battles and Battlefields
Civil War Casualties, Fatalities & Statistics
Civil War Generals
American Civil War Desertion and Deserters: Union and Confederate
Civil War Prisoner of War: Union and Confederate Prison History
Civil War Reconstruction Era and Aftermath
American Civil War Genealogy and Research
Civil War
American Civil War Pictures - Photographs
African Americans and American Civil War History
American Civil War Store
American Civil War Polls
NORTH CAROLINA HISTORY
North Carolina Civil War History
North Carolina American Civil War Statistics, Battles, History
North Carolina Civil War History and Battles
North Carolina Civil War Regiments and Battles
North Carolina Coast: American Civil War
HISTORY OF WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA
Western North Carolina and the American Civil War
Western North Carolina: Civil War Troops, Regiments, Units
North Carolina: American Civil War Photos
HISTORY OF THE CHEROKEE INDIANS
Cherokee Indian Heritage, History, Culture, Customs, Ceremonies, and Religion
Cherokee Indians: American Civil War
History of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Nation
Cherokee War Rituals, Culture, Festivals, Government, and Beliefs
Researching your Cherokee Heritage
Native American Indian History
Civil War Diary, Memoirs, Letters, and Newspapers
Civil War History
Recommended American Civil War History
Civil War Video Games
American Civil War Store: Books, DVDs, etc.

Where was the Last Civil War Battle? When was the Final Civil War Battle? The Last Civil War Battle and the Final Civil War Surrender History are discussed, and it includes location, place, pictures, results, outcome, date and dates, and additional resources.

1) The Last Shot: American Civil War

East of the Mississippi River, "The Last Shot" of the American Civil War transpired in White Sulphur Springs (present-day Waynesville), North Carolina, while the final Confederate troops surrendered in Franklin, North Carolina. Both historical events are referenced to Thomas' Legion.

"Last Shot of the Civil War" Memorial: Waynesville, North Carolina

The Last Civil War Battle Memorial
"Last Shot of the Civil War" Memorial: Waynesville
(Picture of Last Civil War Battle Memorial)

"Thomas' Legion fired the 'last shot' of the American Civil War east of the Mississippi River"
 
On May 6, 1865, Lieutenant Robert T. Conley and a small company from Thomas' Legion clashed with Union Lt. Col. William C. Bartlett's 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry Regiment in White Sulphur Springs. When Conley was passing through the woods, he was unaware of Bartlett's presence and actually stumbled into Bartlett's regiment. Conley rapidly formed a skirmish line and commenced firing causing the Yankees to run in confusion. In the Civil War the last man killed east of the Mississippi River was Union soldier James Arwood at White Sulphur Springs, North Carolina. After the Civil War, Mr. Conley often stated, "I still have James Arwood's gun as a relic." The Last Shot should also be defined as the last Union and Confederate forces in combat east of the Mississippi and should not be viewed or confused with the United States Army fighting bushwhackers and outlaws.

2) The Final Formal Surrender of the Civil War

Captain Stephen Whitaker surrendering the final Confederate soldiers to Colonel George W. Kirk.

"Final Surrender" Memorial: Franklin, N.C.
"Final Surrender" Memorial: Franklin
Final Surrender of the Civil War

Captain Stephen Whitaker and Company E, First Battalion (Walker's Battalion), Thomas' Legion parole signatures.

Final Civil War Surrender Memorial: Franklin, NC
"Final Surrender" Memorial: Franklin
The Final Surrender of the Civil War

"East of the Mississippi River, Thomas' Legion surrenders the last soldiers of the American Civil War"
 
May 12, 1865, was the "The Final Surrender" for Thomas' Legion. The First Battalion's Company E soldiers signed the parole papers beginning on May 12, with the last signature recorded on May 14, 1865 (Thomas had surrendered on May 9, 1865). Captain Stephen Whitaker and Company E, First Battalion of Thomas' Legion were stationed at nearby Franklin, North Carolina. Whitaker and Company E had recently "Skirmished at Hanging Dog," Cherokee County, and were advancing toward White Sulphur Springs to reinforce Thomas when they were intercepted. General Tillson had ordered Colonel George W. Kirk and the Union's 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry Regiment to Franklin (O.R., 1, Vol. 49, part II, p. 689), and, when they approached the battalion, Whitaker formed a skirmish line. He soon received word of Thomas and Martin surrendering at Waynesville, and then Whitaker and his company also surrendered. On May 14, 1865, the Legion's soldiers finished signing the paroles and they viewed Whitaker roll them up, tie them, place them in a Haversack, and give them to Col. Kirk's Courier. "And thus at 10 o'clock in the morning of May 14, 1865, our Civil War Soldier Life ended and our Every Day Working Life began," said John H. Stewart of the Thomas Legion. The confederates surrendered to Kirk understanding that additional fighting was futile and senseless, and, finally, the aftermath embraced the region.

Letter regarding Captain Stephen Whitaker's parole:

                                                                         Head Quarters 3rd Regt. N.C. Mtd. Infty.
                                                                         Franklin, N.C. May 12th, 1865
 
The bearer here of Stephen Whitaker Captain* Co. E 1st Batt. Thomas Legion C.S.A. having given his word of honor not to take up arms against the United States Government, nor give aid or assistance to its enemies until duly exchanged as a prisoner of war is paroled and has permission to go to his home and there remain unmolested.
 
W.W. Rollins Maj                                             By order of Col. George W. Kirk
3rd N.C. Mtd Infty                                                          Cmg 3rd N.C. Mtd Infty

* Establishes the fact that when Stephen Whitaker was paroled he was recognized as a captain and not a major. However, William Stringfield, Robert A. Akin, and others referred to the aforementioned as MAJOR Stephen Whitaker. In reconciling the disparity, this writer concludes: Captain or Major? A captain was the assigned rank for company commander, and major or lieutenant colonel was the assigned rank for a battalion commander. The disparity in Whitaker's rank may be due to the fact that for a portion of the war, Whitaker commanded the entire First Battalion, Thomas' Legion. Again, typically, a major or lieutenant colonel commanded a "battalion" and therefore, unofficially and respectfully, many referred to Stephen Whitaker as MAJOR. It is also the writer's view that Stephen Whitaker should have been officially promoted to at least major due to "rank versus responsibility."

The Union Army recruited two mounted Infantry regiments within North Carolina, and both mounted regiments were raised principally from Western North Carolina counties: William C. Bartlett, Union's 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry Regiment; and George W. Kirk, Union's 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry Regiment. Recruitment of these regiments epitomized the "Brother's War" and the men serving in the two Union mounted infantry regiments were commonly referred to as "Home Yankees."  Approximately 10,000 white North Carolinians served the United States during the war, while more than 5,000 North Carolina African Americans joined the Union Army. These free blacks and escaped slaves served in segregated regiments led by white officers.

Union Major General George Stoneman's command as it concerns Western North Carolina in 1865: Second North Carolina Mounted Infantry Regiment, Lieut. Colonel William C. Bartlett; Third North Carolina Mounted Infantry Regiment, Colonel George W. Kirk; First Brigade, Commanding Colonel Chauncey G. Hawley; Fourth Division, Department of the Cumberland, Brig. General Davis Tillson; District of East Tennessee, Major General George Stoneman (To view entire Union District of East Tennessee, including 1st and 2nd Brigades, and Brig. Gen. A. C. Gillem's Cavalry Division, please see Stoneman's Cavalry Raid and O.R., 1, 49, Part II, pp. 538-539)

3) Order of Surrendering Confederate Forces

On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant at the home of Wilmer and Virginia McLean in the town of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. On April 26, 1865, General Joseph Johnston surrendered to Major General William T. Sherman near Durham, North Carolina (Bennett Place State Historical Park). On May 4, 1865,  General Richard Taylor (son of Zachary Taylor, 12th President of the United States) surrendered at Citronelle, Alabama. On May 12, 1865, Captain Stephen Whitaker surrendered Walker's Battalion to Colonel Kirk. On May 26, 1865, General Edmund Kirby Smith surrendered the Confederate Department of the Trans Mississippi to Major General Canby. On June 23, 1865, General and Cherokee Chief Stand Watie surrendered Cherokee forces in Oklahoma. Continued below...

Recommended Reading: Fields of Honor: Pivotal Battles of the Civil War, by Edwin C. Bearss (Author), James McPherson (Introduction). Description: Bearss, a former chief historian of the National Parks Service and internationally recognized American Civil War historian, chronicles 14 crucial battles, including Fort Sumter, Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Sherman's march through the Carolinas, and Appomattox--the battles ranging between 1861 and 1865; included is an introductory chapter describing John Brown's raid in October 1859. Bearss describes the terrain, tactics, strategies, personalities, the soldiers and the commanders. (He personalizes the generals and politicians, sergeants and privates.) Continued below...

The text is augmented by 80 black-and-white photographs and 19 maps. It is like touring the battlefields without leaving home. A must for every one of America's countless Civil War buffs, this major work will stand as an important reference and enduring legacy of a great historian for generations to come. Also available in hardcover: Fields of Honor: Pivotal Battles of the Civil War.

Site search Web search

Recommended Viewing: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns. Review: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns is the most successful public-television miniseries in American history. The 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation, reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era he depicts. Continued below...
The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller, and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. "Hailed as a film masterpiece and landmark in historical storytelling." "[S]hould be a requirement for every student."
 
Recommended Reading: The Civil War Battlefield Guide: The Definitive Guide, Completely Revised, with New Maps and More Than 300 Additional Battles (Second Edition) (Hardcover). Description: This new edition of the definitive guide to Civil War battlefields is really a completely new book. While the first edition covered 60 major battlefields, from Fort Sumter to Appomattox, the second covers all of the 384 designated as the "principal battlefields" in the American Civil War Sites Advisory Commission Report. Continued below...
 As in the first edition, the essays are authoritative and concise, written by such leading Civil War historians as James M. McPherson, Stephen W. Sears, Edwin C. Bearss, James I. Robinson, Jr., and Gary W. Gallager. The second edition also features 83 new four-color maps covering the most important battles. The Civil War Battlefield Guide is an essential reference for anyone interested in the Civil War. "Reading this book is like being at the bloodiest battles of the war..."

 

Recommended Reading: Storm in the Mountains: Thomas' Confederate Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers (Thomas' Legion: The Sixty-ninth North Carolina Regiment). Description: Vernon H. Crow, Storm in the Mountains, spent 10 years conducting extensive Thomas Legion's research. Crow was granted access to rare manuscripts, special collections, and privately held diaries which add great depth to this rarely discussed Civil War legion. He explores and discusses the unit's formation, fighting history, and life of the legion's commander--Cherokee chief and Confederate colonel--William Holland Thomas. Continued below...

Numerous maps and photographs allow the reader to better understand and relate to the subjects discussed. It also contains rosters which is an added bonus for researchers and genealogists. From the first shot of the Civil War to the last battle east of the Mississippi River, it allows the reader to experience the life and death of the Confederate foot soldier. Crow, furthermore, left no stone unturned while examining the many facets of the Thomas Legion and his research is conveyed on a level that scores with Civil War students and scholars alike.

 

Recommended Viewing: Indian Warriors - The Untold Story of the Civil War (History Channel) (2007). Description: Though largely forgotten, 20 to 30 thousand Native Americans fought in the Civil War. Ely Parker was a Seneca leader who found himself in the thick of battle under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant. Stand Watie--a Confederate general and a Cherokee--was known for his brilliant guerrilla tactics. Continued below...

Also highlighted is Henry Berry Lowery, an Eastern North Carolina Indian, who became known as the Robin Hood of North Carolina. Respected Civil War authors, Thom Hatch and Lawrence Hauptman, help reconstruct these most captivating stories, along with descendants like Cherokee Nation member Jay Hanna, whose great-grandfathers fought for both the Union and the Confederacy. Together, they reveal a new, fresh perspective and the very personal reasons that drew these Native Americans into the fray.

 

Recommended Reading: Confederate Military History Of North Carolina: North Carolina In The Civil War, 1861-1865. Description: The author, Prof. D. H. Hill, Jr., was the son of Lieutenant General Daniel Harvey Hill (North Carolina produced only two lieutenant generals and it was the second highest rank in the army) and his mother was the sister to General “Stonewall” Jackson’s wife. In Confederate Military History Of North Carolina, Hill discusses North Carolina’s massive task of preparing and mobilizing for the conflict; the many regiments and battalions recruited from the Old North State; as well as the state's numerous contributions during the war. Continued below...

During Hill's Tar Heel State study, the reader begins with interesting and thought-provoking statistical data regarding the 125,000 "Old North State" soldiers that fought during the course of the war and the 40,000 that perished. Hill advances with the Tar Heels to the first battle at Bethel, through numerous bloody campaigns and battles--including North Carolina’s contributions at the "High Watermark" at Gettysburg--and concludes with Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
 

Recommended Reading: The Civil War in North Carolina. Description: Numerous battles and skirmishes were fought in North Carolina during the Civil War, and the campaigns and battles themselves were crucial in the grand strategy of the conflict and involved some of the most famous generals of the war. Continued below...

John Barrett presents the complete story of military engagements across the state, including the classical pitched battle of Bentonville--involving Generals Joe Johnston and William Sherman--the siege of Fort Fisher, the amphibious campaigns on the coast, and cavalry sweeps such as General George Stoneman's Raid.

Return to American Civil War Homepage

Return to top

Best viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.

Site Meter