General Robert E. Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865 to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, signaling the beginning of the end of the American Civil War.
In early 1865, the Union Army began marching through Virginia, pushing back the Confederate forces. General Lee and the Confederate Army abandoned the capital of Richmond and retreated with the hopes of uniting with more Confederate troops in North Carolina; the Union Army cut off their retreat and they were forced to stop at Appomattox, Virginia.
General Grant and the Union Army had the confederates surrounded. The Confederates were low on supplies, causing many soldiers to desert and they were greatly outnumbered. General Lee had no other choice but to surrender.
General Lee and Grant met on April 9, 1865 to discuss the surrender of Lee’s army. Since President Lincoln wanted peace to come to the Union, he felt he needed to treat the Confederate soldiers well. If they turned in their rifles, they could go home and keep their horses. They were also given food. Although upset to have to surrender, they could not dispute the fairness of the North.
There were many soldiers and armies throughout the South that had not yet surrendered. However, when they heard of Lee's surrender at Appomattox, many of them knew the war was over. General Joseph Johnston surrendered his army to General Sherman on April 26, 1865. Many other officers followed in surrendering. The last Confederate general to surrender was General Stand Watie who surrendered on June 23, 1865.
On May 5, 1865 Confederate President Jefferson Davis held the last meeting of his cabinet. They officially dissolved, or ended, the Confederate government.
On august 20, 1866 president Andrew Johnson signed a document stating that the American Civil War was over and that all America was at peace.
Source: Robert E. Lee Surrenders
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