I just returned from a trip to Raleigh North Carolina. April 26, 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of General Joseph Johnson surrendering the Confederate Army of Tennessee to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman. The agreement was finalized on that date at Bennett Place in Durham Station.
On March 11, 1865 Union forces reached Fayetteville, North Carolina, and began a push toward Goldsboro. On March 16, 1865 the armies fought at Averasboro and again at Bentonville in a multiday battle that ended on March 21. The Confederate army was reduced to around 30,000 and when Union General John M. Schofield’s force joined Sherman at Goldsboro several days later, the combined Union force reached approximately 80,000 men. On April 10, 1865 the Union army started marching toward Raleigh with Johnston’s army retreating before it. Word reached Sherman of Lee’s surrender on April 11, and he informed his troops the following day. North Carolina Governor Zebulon Vance sent representatives on April 10 to begin peace talks with Sherman. But those talks stopped after Union forces entered Raleigh on April 13. The following day Johnston sent a letter proposing a suspension of operations to allow civil authorities to make arrangements ending the war. Sherman notified Grant and Stanton that “I will accept the same terms as Gen. Grant gave Gen. Lee, and be careful to complicate any points of civil policy.” Johnston had received advice from both Governor Vance and Confederate President Davis regarding peace talks so he reached out to Sherman to discuss terms of his surrender. Several days passed before Sherman and Johnston eventually met near Durham Station on April 17. Sherman offered Johnston the same terms as those given Lee at Appomattox. Johnston suggested that they take it one step further and “arrange the terms for a permanent peace.” Sherman saw an opportunity to not only end the war for his opponent’s army but to end the war entirely. Talks continued the following day with Confederate Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge accompanying Johnston.
Sherman agreed to seven principal provisions but these went beyond military terms and the surrender of Johnston’s army. The agreement applied to all Confederate armies still in existence. The troops would disband and return to their state capitals, where they were to deposit their arms and public property at the state arsenals. The federal executive would recognize state governments, including their officers and legislatures. Where rival governments existed, the U.S. Supreme Court would decide which one would be recognized. Federal courts would be reestablished in southern states, and the people would have their political rights and franchises guaranteed, including their rights of person and property. The war would cease, and a general amnesty would be provided. Sherman was convinced his signed agreement with Johnston would end the war.
The plan he worked out with Johnston however was quickly rejected by vengeful federal authorities still reeling from the April 14th assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Sherman, thinking he ended the war, was surprised by the response he received from Washington. He had to inform Johnston that unless new military terms were reached, their armistice would end on April 26. That day they met once again in Durham Station and worked out an agreement limited to military issues. Now that political matters were not included in the terms, Grant, who was sent to make sure Sherman got it right this time, quickly gave his approval, thus accepting the surrender of the largest Confederate force still in existence.
Many Americans erroneously believe the end of the War Between the States occurred at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. However the War did not officially conclude on that date. Several other Confederate forces had yet to surrender. The Army and Navy of the Confederate States of America did not surrender all at one time, but rather in a piecemeal fashion over a widely dispersed geographic distribution, including one unit overseas. Some units, in fact, never surrendered at all. Here is a list of when and where the Confederate forces retired from the field of battle:
March 11, 1865, Brig. Gen. James Slaughter and Col. John Salmon “Rip” Ford met with Union Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace and agreed to terms of surrender for all forces in the District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona that included an amnesty for former Confederates and the gradual emancipation of slaves. Maj. Gen. John G. Walker, temporarily commanding the district in the absence of Maj. Gen. Bankhead Magruder, refused the terms.
April 9, 1865, General-in-chief Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army and Department of Northern Virginia to General-of-the-Army Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia.
April 20, 1865, Maj. Gen. Howell Cobb surrendered the District of Georgia and Florida to Maj. Gen. Edward Canby at Macon, Georgia.
April 21, 1865, Col. John S. Mosby disbanded Mosby’s Partisan Rangers, (also known as 43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry) at Salem, Virginia.
April 26, 1865, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered the Division of the West under himself, the Army of Tennessee under Gen. Braxton Bragg, the Department of North Carolina under Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, and the Department of Tennessee and Georgia under Lt. Gen. William Hardee to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman at Durham Station, North Carolina.
May 4, 1865, Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor surrendered the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana to Maj. Gen. Edward Canby at Citronelle, Alabama.
May 5, 1865, Maj. Gen. Dabney Maury surrendered the District of the Gulf to Maj. Gen. Edward Canby at Citronelle, Alabama. Also on the date President Jefferson Davis met with his Cabinet for the last time in Washington, Georgia to dissolve the government of the Confederate States of America.
May 8, 1865, Capt. Jesse McNeill surrendered McNeill’s Partisan Rangers to Maj. Gen. (and future U.S. President) Rutherford B. Hayes at Sycamore Dale, West Virginia.
May 9, 1865, Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest surrendered Forrest’s Cavalry Corps to Brig. Gen. James H. Wilson at Gainesville, Alabama. Also on this date Brig. Gen. James Martin surrendered the District of Western North Carolina and Col. Will Thomas the Thomas Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders to Col. William C. Bartlett at Waynesville, North Carolina, after the Thomas Legion surrounded and captured Bartlett’s entire command the previous day.
May 10, 1865, Maj. Gen. Samuel Jones surrendered the Department of South Carolina, Florida, and South Georgia to Brig. Gen. Edward M. McCook at Tallahassee, Florida. Also on this date Ebenezer Farrand surrendered the CSS Nashville, CSS Baltic, CSS Morgan, and several other vessels, nearly all the remaining warships in the Confederate Navy, to RADM Henry Thatcher at Nanna Hubba, Alabama.
May 12, 1865, Brig. Gen. William T. Wofford surrendered the Department of North Georgia to Brig. Gen. Henry M. Judah at Kingston, Georgia.
May 13, 1865, the last land battle of the war was fought at Palmito Ranch in Texas, near Brownsville, with Confederate forces under Col. Rip Ford (incl. his own 2nd Texas Cavalry) defeating decisively the Union forces under Col. Theodore Barrett.
May 15, 1865, Brig. Gen. John Echols disbanded the Department of East Tennessee and Southwestern Virginia at Saltville, Virginia.
May 26, 1865, Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner surrendered the Army of the Trans-Mississippi to Maj. Gen. Edward Canby at New Orleans, Louisiana. Buckner was in direct field command of the army at the time it was surrounded by Union forces.
May 30, 1865, Brig. Gen. Slaughter and Col. Ford disbanded the remaining field forces of the District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona at Brownsville, Texas.
June 2, 1865, Gen. Edmund Kirby-Smith surrendered the Department of the Trans-Mississippi to Maj. Gen. Edward Canby at Galveston, Texas.
June 23, 1865, Brig. Gen. Stand Watie, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, surrendered the First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi to Lt. Col. Asa C. Matthews at Doaksville, Choctaw Nation (Indian Territory).
July 4, 1865, Maj. Gen. Joseph Shelby led his Iron Brigade and other troops in his Missouri Division across the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass, Texas, into Piedas Negras, Empire of Mexico, to avoid surrender.
Accompanying Shelby’s column were former Confederate governors Pendelton Murrah (Texas), Henry Allen (Louisiana), Thomas Reynolds (Missouri), and Isham Harris (Tennessee), as well as ex-generals Edmund Kirby-Smith, Sterling Price, Bankhead Magruder, Alexander W. Terrell, and other officers of the former Trans-Mississippi Department and their families.
November 6, 1865 Commander James Waddell surrendered the CSS Shenandoah and its crew to Captain R.N Paynter of the HMS Donegal at Liverpool, England. The crew remained in Europe for several years afterward, for the most part, and eventually returned home. The Shenandoah was sold to the Sultan of Zanzibar.
August 20, 1866 President Andrew Johnson declared the War Between the States officially over and peace restored.
Under the direction of former Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury of the Confederate Navy, the ex-officers and troops who had crossed into the Empire of Mexico established the New Virginia Colony in the state of Veracruz at the invitation of Emperor Maximilian. Its central city was Carlota, named for Maximilian’s empress. Slaves were not allowed as it was against Mexican law. When the republican supporters of Pres. Benito Juarez overthrew Maximilian’s government these former Confederates returned north.
Thousands of former Confederates also immigrated to the Empire of Brasil at the invitation of Dom Pedro II, who wanted to encourage the growth of cotton. Establishing themselves in several communities, these people became the foundation of an ethnic group unique to Brasil known today as Los Confederados, now centered in the Sao Paolo town of Americana. The now multi-racial Los Confederados are extremely proud of their history and send young people to the American South every year to see the former homeland.