When did the Civil War end?

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Order of Surrendering Confederate Forces
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When did the Civil War End?
When did the Civil War End.jpg
When did the Civil War End?

Gen. Lee's surrender is more accurately stated as the "Beginning of the End."

When did the Civil War end?

While wars traditionally conclude with politicians signing documents of surrender, the North and South never penned an agreement. Whereas General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General U.S. Grant, the Confederate high command went into exile, leaving the remaining Rebel armies to decide their own fate. When Lee formally surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia, it is often times quoted and referenced as the end of the Civil War, but others say that when Lee capitulated it was the final surrender of the Confederate Army. Both positions sound more like headlines, however, because when Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9, 1865, several formidable armies remained active in the field, such as the 90,000-strong under the command of Gen. Joe Johnston, which would offer stiff resistance before finally surrendering to Gen. Sherman 17 days later on April 26. The date that Lee surrendered to Grant is perhaps more accurately stated as the beginning of the end of the Confederate Army. So when did the Civil War end? The answer is simple yet it is detailed, but it was the surrender of Lee that initiated a series of Confederate capitulations.

American Indians too displayed a unique role in the final moments of the most costliest and bloodiest conflict in America's history. Both east and west of the Mississippi River, the Cherokees were the final forces to formally surrender to Union commands.

Sequence Order for Final Surrendering Confederate Forces of the American Civil War

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, Thomas' Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders 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 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."

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(Final Formal Surrender of Confederate forces "East of the Mississippi")
(Final Formal Surrender of Confederate forces "West of the Mississippi")

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. Continued below...

Bearss describes the terrain, tactics, strategies, personalities, the soldiers and the commanders. (He personalizes the generals and politicians, sergeants and privates.) 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.
 
Recommended Reading: The History Buff's Guide to the Civil War (400 pages). Description: Exploring the Civil War can be fascinating, but with so many battles, leaders, issues, and more than 50,000 books on these subjects, the task can also be overwhelming. Was Gettysburg the most important battle? Were Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis so different from each other? How accurate is re-enacting? Who were the worst commanding generals? Thomas R. Flagel uses annotated lists organized under more than thirty headings to see through the powder smoke and straighten Sherman’s neckties, ranking and clarifying the best, the worst, the largest, and the most lethal aspects of the conflict. Continued below...
Major sections are fashioned around the following topics:
• Antebellum: Investigates the critical years before the war, in particular the growing crises, extremists, and slavery.
• Politics: Contrasts the respective presidents and constitutions of the Union and Confederacy, the most prominent politicians, and the most volatile issues of the times.
• Military Life: Offers insights into the world of the common soldiers, how they fought, what they ate, how they were organized, what they saw, how they lived, and how they died.
• The Home Front: Looks at the fastest growing field in Civil War research, including immigration, societal changes, hardships and shortages, dissent, and violence far from the firing lines.
• In Retrospect: Ranks the heroes and heroines, greatest victories and failures, firsts and worsts.
• Pursuing the War: Summarizes Civil War study today, including films, battlefield sites, books, genealogy, re-enactments, restoration, preservation, and other ventures.
From the antebellum years to Appomattox and beyond, The History Buff’s Guide to the Civil War is a quick and compelling guide to one of the most complex and critical eras in American history.

 

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 Waite--a Confederate general and a Cherokee--was known for his brilliant guerrilla tactics. Continued...

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 Viewing: Civil War Terror (History Channel) Description: This is the largely untold story of a war waged by secret agents and spies on both sides of the Mason Dixon Line. These are tales of hidden conspiracies of terror that specifically targeted the civilian populations. Engineers of chemical weapons, new-fangled explosives and biological warfare competed to topple their enemy. With insight from Civil War authorities, we debunk the long-held image of a romantic and gentlemanly war. Continued below...

To revisit the past, we incorporate written sources, archival photographs and newspaper headlines. Our reenactments bring to life key moments in our historical characters' lives and in each of the horrific terrorist plots.
 

Recommended Reading: Civil War in the Indian Territory, by Steve Cottrell (Author), Andy Thomas (Illustrator). Review: From its beginning with the bloody Battle of Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861, to its end in surrender on June 23, 1865, the Civil War in the Indian Territory proved to be a test of valor and endurance for both sides. Author Steve Cottrell outlines the events that led up to the involvement of the Indian Territory in the war, the role of the Native Americans who took part in the war, and the effect this participation had on the war and this region in particular. As in the rest of the country, neighbor was pitted against neighbor, with members of the same tribes often fighting against each other. Cottrell describes in detail the guerrilla warfare, the surprise attacks, the all-out battles that spilled blood on the now peaceful state of Oklahoma. Continued below...

In addition, he introduces the reader to the interesting and often colorful leaders of the military North and South, including the only American Indian to attain a general's rank in the war, Gen. Stand Watie (member of the Cherokee Nation). With outstanding illustrations by Andy Thomas, this story is a tribute to those who fought and a revealing portrait of the important role they played in this era of our country's history. Meet The Author: A resident of Carthage, Missouri, Steve Cottrell is a descendant of a Sixth Kansas Cavalry member who served in the Indian Territory during the Civil War. A graduate of Missouri Southern State College in Joplin, Cottrell has participated in several battle reenactments including the Academy Award winning motion picture, "Glory". Active in Civil War battlefield preservation and historical monument projects and contributor of a number of Civil War relics to regional museums, Cottrell recently co-authored Civil War in the Ozarks, also by Pelican. It is now in its second printing.

When did the Civil War end? Where did the American Civil War officially end? Location, Date, Year, Civil War Ended, Last Battle of the Civil War was, Confederate Army Final Surrender History Details

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