(1808–1889) An American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as president of the Confederate States of America for its entire history.
The fighting of the eastern theater of the American Civil War between Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Potomac and General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia ended with Lee's surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. 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. the morning of April 9, Lee requested a meeting with Grant. Lee, rode into the little hamlet of Appomattox where the Appomattox county courthouse stood and 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, which Lee emphasized would have a favorable effect on the Confederate men and go great lengths toward reconciling the country. The terms of 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 General Joseph E. Johnston and his armies to Major General William T. Sherman on April 26, 1865, at Bennett Place. Johnston's Army of Tennessee was among nearly 100,000 Confederate soldiers that were surrendered from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The conditions of surrender were laid out in a document called, "Terms of a Military Convention," signed by Sherman, Johnston, and 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.
Many Confederate supporters
viewed secession of the South as part of a larger tradition of American
revolutionary ideals. Ironically, the greatest change to come as a result of
the American Civil War that followed Southern secession was the end of slavery.
On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which
established the freedom of slaves in the 10 states in rebellion. Then on
December 6, 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment was adopted, which officially outlawed
slavery and involuntary servitude in all U.S. states and territories. Many
historians now characterize the Civil War as a fulfillment of the Declaration
of Independence’s promise that “all men are created equal.”
The outcome of the Civil
War had great implications not only for Southern society, but also for the Southern
economy. The collapse of the plantation economy after the abolition of slavery and
increase in world production of cotton as well as the increasing influence of
Northern Republicans in Southern affairs led to greater industrialization, the
rise of larger city centers, and the development of infrastructure such as
railroads, banks, and factories. However, progress was slow in the wake of the
destruction that war wrought. Three percent of the total United States population had
been injured or killed during the Civil War, two-thirds of which were a direct
result of disease. In fact, the Civil War resulted in approximately the same
number of American deaths as all other U.S. wars combined to present
day, making the period of Reconstruction that followed a remarkable yet often
difficult chapter in American history.