Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi division, surrendered on May 26, 1865. He was one of the last Confederate generals to give up. Smith was supposedly responsible for keeping the Mississippi River open to the Southerners. Yet he was more interested in recapturing Arkansas and Missouri, because the Arkansas representatives in the Confederate Congress had helped him get his job.
Smith was criticized for failing to help Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1863. He later fought in defense of the Union’s failed Red River campaign in 1864. When the Confederate forces under Robert E. Lee and Joseph Johnston surrendered in the spring of 1865, Smith continued to fight with his small army in Texas. He insisted that Lee and Johnston were prisoners of war, and he criticized Confederate deserters. On May 26, General Simon Buckner, acting for Smith, met with Union officers in New Orleans to arrange the surrender of Smith’s force under terms similar to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Virginia. Smith reluctantly agreed and laid down his arms at Galveston on June 2. He then fled to Mexico and to Cuba, before returning to Virginia in November 1865 to sign an amnesty agreement.
Twenty-three days after Smith’s surrender, Brigadier General Stand Watie, a Cherokee, became the last Confederate field general to surrender.
Source: One of the Last Confederate Generals Surrenders
© 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.