The fighting of the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War between Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Potomac and Lee's Army of Northern Virginia ended with the surrender of Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.
Gen. Robert E. Lee commanded the Army of Northern Virginia. Lee's army had fought a series of battles in the Appomattox Campaign against Grant that ultimately stretched his lines of defense thin. His troops became exhausted defending this line because they were too spread out. Grant then took advantage of the situation and launched attacks on this 30-mile, poorly defended front.
At 8:30 A.M. that morning, Lee requested a meeting with Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Lee, rode into the little hamlet of Appomattox Court House , where the Appomattox county court house stood, and then waited for Grant's arrival to surrender his army. The terms were as generous as Lee could hope for: his men would not be imprisoned or prosecuted for treason. In addition to his terms, Grant also allowed the defeated men to take home their horses and mules to carry out the spring planting and provided Lee with a supply of food rations for his starving army. Lee said it would have a very happy effect on the men and do much toward reconciling the country. The terms of the surrender were recorded in a document completed around 4 p.m. on April 9.
The second and last major stage in the peace making process, concluding the American Civil War, was the surrender of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and his armies to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman on April 26, 1865, at Bennett Place. Johnston's Army of Tennessee was among nearly one hundred thousand Confederate soldiers that were surrendered from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The conditions of surrender were in a document called "Terms of a Military Convention" signed by Sherman, Johnston, and Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Raleigh, North Carolina.
Other Confederate generals surrendered in the following days and weeks as the news from Appomattox reached them. The last land battle of the Civil War took place near Brownsville, Texas on May 12. The Cherokee Confederate Indians were the last significant Confederate active force to surrender on June 23. The last Confederate surrender occurred on November 6, 1865, when the Confederate warship CSS Shenandoah surrendered at Liverpool, England. President Andrew Johnson formally declared the end of the war on August 20, 1866.
On May 10, 1865, Union cavalrymen captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis after he fled Richmond, Virginia, following its evacuation in the early part of April. On May 5, 1865, in Washington, Georgia, Davis held the last meeting of his Cabinet. At that time, the Confederate Government was declared dissolved. The Confederate president was subsequently held prisoner for two years in Fort Monroe, Virginia.