Durham, North Carolina

Day 249

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     Most believe that the Civil War ended with Lee surrendering to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865. Not so. Lee was forced to surrender as Grant had him surrounded. At that time Lee commanded only 29,000 troops. The surrender that actually ended most of the fighting occurred on April 26, 1865.

     After Lee’s surrender, the Army of Tennessee, commanded by General Joseph E. Johnson, remained in the field. He met with Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, who did not want to surrender, but disband the army and reform to fight gorilla war fare. Johnson, realizing the war could not be won, disobeyed this order and asked to meet with Maj. General William T. Sherman to discuss a peaceful surrender. They decided to meet at the home of James and Nancy Bennett, which was about half way between their two armies.    

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     After negotiating for some time, Johnston surrendered his army and numerous smaller garrisons to Sherman on April 26, 1865  Johnston’s surrender was the largest of the war, totaling 89,270 men.

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     However, that still was not the end of the Civil War. The final battle of the Civil War actually took place at Palmito Ranch in Texas on May 11-12, 1865. The last large Confederate military force was surrendered on June 2, 1865 by Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith in Galveston, Texas.