Featured What do you say was the end of the Civil War?

What do you say was the end of the Civil War?

  • In April 1865 when Lee and Johnston surrendered

    Votes: 28 29.5%
  • In June 1865 after surrender of Indian forces

    Votes: 29 30.5%
  • In August 1866 after Proclamation 157 by Pres Johnson that the insurrection had ended

    Votes: 10 10.5%
  • Other

    Votes: 28 29.5%

  • Total voters
    95
Joined
Mar 25, 2014
Note that, there was no formal treaty or formal cease fire and negotiated end to the war in 1866 either (as far as I know). Andrew Johnson just said "the threat is gone, the war to be over."

Of interest to me is that if you look at his "the war is over proclamation," Johnson could have issued it months earlier, given the conditions on the ground. There's probably a story behind why he happened to issue the proclamation in August 1866, but I don't know it.

- Alan


Johnson returned the country to normal with various proclamations over several months...

May 10, 1865 declaration that armed resistance was virtually over and ordering arrest of insurgent cruisers.

May 22, 1865 declared the blockade on ports lifted except Texas.

May 29, 1865 granted amnesty to participants in rebellion with certain exceptions.

May 29 - July 13, 1865 individual proclamations to reorganize constitutional government in NC, MS, GA, TX, AL, SC, FL.

June 13, 1865 removed trade restrictions on former Confederate states east of Mississippi River.

August 29, 1865 removed restrictions on contraband of war.

October 12, 1865 declared end to martial law in Kentucky.

December 1, 1865 Restored habeas corpus in all states except Kentucky and the eleven states of the Confederacy.

April 2, 1866 declared insurrection to be at end except for Texas.

August 20, 1866 declared insurrection over even in Texas

September 7, 1867 offering full pardon to all persons participating in Late Rebellion with some exceptions.

October 7, 1867 correction to the August 1866 proclamation declaring insurrection over.

Johnson waited on the seceding states to form state governments under the presidential reconstruction plan before declaring the insurrection over. Texas was last on the list with its new constitution ratified and the new state legislature met on August 6, 1866. However, the state governments were removed in 1867 by Congress and reconstituted as military districts with eventually a state government reconstituted by congressional rules (except Tennessee).

So the 8/20/1866 date is weak since Johnson's motivation for declaration was the establishment of civilian governments in the seceded states which were soon swept away. The shooting war ended in 1865. As noted above he reissued the "Insurrection is Over Proclamation" in 1867 because of incorrect dates in the original.
 

cash

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Johnson returned the country to normal with various proclamations over several months...

May 10, 1865 declaration that armed resistance was virtually over and ordering arrest of insurgent cruisers.

May 22, 1865 declared the blockade on ports lifted except Texas.

May 29, 1865 granted amnesty to participants in rebellion with certain exceptions.

May 29 - July 13, 1865 individual proclamations to reorganize constitutional government in NC, MS, GA, TX, AL, SC, FL.

June 13, 1865 removed trade restrictions on former Confederate states east of Mississippi River.

August 29, 1865 removed restrictions on contraband of war.

October 12, 1865 declared end to martial law in Kentucky.

December 1, 1865 Restored habeas corpus in all states except Kentucky and the eleven states of the Confederacy.

April 2, 1866 declared insurrection to be at end except for Texas.

August 20, 1866 declared insurrection over even in Texas

September 7, 1867 offering full pardon to all persons participating in Late Rebellion with some exceptions.

October 7, 1867 correction to the August 1866 proclamation declaring insurrection over.

Johnson waited on the seceding states to form state governments under the presidential reconstruction plan before declaring the insurrection over. Texas was last on the list with its new constitution ratified and the new state legislature met on August 6, 1866. However, the state governments were removed in 1867 by Congress and reconstituted as military districts with eventually a state government reconstituted by congressional rules (except Tennessee).

So the 8/20/1866 date is weak since Johnson's motivation for declaration was the establishment of civilian governments in the seceded states which were soon swept away. The shooting war ended in 1865. As noted above he reissued the "Insurrection is Over Proclamation" in 1867 because of incorrect dates in the original.

Actually, the August 20, 1866 date is the strongest because the rebellion was officially defined in Lincoln's proclamation as the laws of the United States being opposed and their execution obstructed by forces too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings. It wasn't until August 20, 1866 that the president could say the laws of the United States were no longer being obstructed because there was a legitimate government now in place in the final state, Texas. As a presidential proclamation marked the beginning of the war, a presidential proclamation must mark the end of the war.
 

cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Right here.
As we can see, the 7 Oct 1866 proclamation merely corrects a date within the 20 August proclamation and doesn't change the substantial fact that the insurrection was declared over on 20 August.

Proclamation 7 Oct 1866.jpg
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2014
The end of war is usually defined by surrender. We think World War II ended on the battleship Missouri even though America signed treaties ending the conflict in 1947 and other countries much later. If you want a proclamation stating the war was over this would be the one. It is based upon the establishment of legal government in the last of the seceding states. Johnson decided that Texas met this criterion in August 1866.

However Congress passed its Reconstruction law in March 1867 with the first line being "Whereas no legal State governments ...now exists in the rebel States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, ....", etc. The bill was passed over Johnson's veto.

I would say that the surrender happened in 1865 at several discreet events and that's when the war ended to me. It certainly can be interpreted differently and I would not discount the use of the proclamation to define the end of the war for others....
 

cash

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Joined
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Right here.
We actually have a Supreme Court decision that says when the war ended.

"The proclamation of intended blockade by the President may therefore be assumed as marking the first of these dates, and the proclamation that the war had closed as marking the second. But the war did not begin or close at the same time in all the states. There were two proclamations of intended blockade: the first of the 19th of April, 1861, embracing the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas; the second of the 27th of April, 1861, embracing the States of Virginia and North Carolina; and there were two proclamations declaring that the war had closed, one issued on the 2d of April, 1866, embracing the States of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas, and the other issued on the 20th of August, 1866, embracing the State of Texas.

"In the absence of more certain criteria of equally general application, we must take the dates of these proclamations as ascertaining the commencement and the close of the war in the states mentioned in them." [79 US 700, 702]
 

ForeverFree

Major
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Location
District of Columbia
Thanks to everyone for their votes so far. The diversity of the vote is interesting.

Up til last year, I would have chosen April 1865 as the end of the War. But I voted for June 1865. It seems to me that by the end of that month, the fighting was just about over, and the federal and state Confederate governments had ceased their effective operation. That is, the existence of the Confederacy as a military force or even a putative separate state was over, with no chance that existence could be revived.

I do realize the "official" end is August 1866. But it seems to me that after June 1865 the country was engaged primarily in post-war/Reconstruction type activity.

- Alan
 

Potomac Pride

Sergeant Major
Joined
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Location
Georgia
The end of the actual war was on June 2, 1865 when Gen. Edmund K. Smith surrendered the Confederate forces located west of the Mississippi River to the Union.
 

ErnieMac

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
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IMO the end should date from May 10, 1865, with the capture of Jefferson Davis and the end of the Confederate Government. This would be consistent with the end of WWII. VE Day and VJ Day mark the official end of the war in the European and Pacific Theaters respectively though it some weeks later until isolated commands were surrendered.
 
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E_just_E

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IMO the end should date from May 10, 1862, with the capture of Jefferson Davis and the end of the Confederate Government. This would be consistent with the end of WWII. VE Day and VJ Day mark the official end of the war in the European and Pacific Theaters respectively though it some weeks later until isolated commands were surrendered.

5/10/1865, you mean, correct?
 

Georgia Sixth

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Dec 14, 2011
Location
Texas
June 2, 1865, with the surrender of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department. There were other, scattered units that surrendered after that date, but I believe this was the last major CS component to capitulate.


I'm tempted to say 1964 when our very own LBJ signed the civil rights act. But I'll go with what you said, Andy.
 

KLSDAD

First Sergeant
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How about July 2, 1964 when Johnson (LBJ Johnson) signed the Civil Rights Act? Or, I agree "who said it's over?"
Why stop there....how about the ruling in Shelby County vs Holder on 6/25/13 that reduces Federal involvement in state election laws.
 
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DR_Hanna

First Sergeant
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Jun 17, 2014
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North East GA
Surprised I didn't see any mention of the Battles of Columbus, GA and West Point, GA both fought on April 16 1865. These actions effectively closed out the shooting war. As noted by other posters, the shouting war continues...:cannon:
 

diane

Retired User
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Jan 23, 2010
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IMO the end should date from May 10, 1865, with the capture of Jefferson Davis and the end of the Confederate Government. This would be consistent with the end of WWII. VE Day and VJ Day mark the official end of the war in the European and Pacific Theaters respectively though it some weeks later until isolated commands were surrendered.

That seemed to be the end in Davis' mind, too. He believed as long as there was some sort of Confederate government with its documents, functioning in some sort of way even if it was on a train and in their laps, there was still a Confederacy. Didn't matter to him if Lee or any other general surrendered. He was prepared to govern in exile from Mexico or Cuba!
 

rosefiend

First Sergeant
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Jun 5, 2014
Location
Confusion, Missouri
Man, we as a nation are still fighting the Civil War, every day. In an unofficial capacity, of course. If you listen to any sort of political or societal discussion, the distinctions are still there, we still have politicians fighting for Southern independence, or "freedom" as they call it now, and urging states to secede, and arguing in favor of nullification.

It's like Harry Truman said, "The only thing new in the world is the history you don't know."
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
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Central Ohio
I think that the tension between centralization and decentralization is something that all larger countries experience, and therefore can't really be used as a marker of whether the American Civil War is 'still continuing' or not.
 

cash

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I think that the tension between centralization and decentralization is something that all larger countries experience, and therefore can't really be used as a marker of whether the American Civil War is 'still continuing' or not.

Especially since it was not an issue fought over in the Civil War.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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Especially since it was not an issue fought over in the Civil War.

I think one could say that it was an issue in both the Union and the Confederacy, both of which suffered from some 'states rights' tensions during the war-- though it was certainly more overt in the Confederacy. But again, that's simply because both qualified as large governments controlling a lot of rather disparate territory.
 
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