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

Carronade

Captain
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
Here's another thought. The War of 1812 is generally agreed to have ended on February 18, 1815 when the Treaty of Ghent was ratified by the US Senate, but the last combat was as late as June 30, the capture of the East India company brig Nautilus by USS Peacock. The British informed Master Commandant Warrington of Peacock that the war was over, but Warrington didn't believe them, just like Waddell with his last few prizes. I've never seen it suggested that the war was not over until June 30 - anyone? - the battle fought because someone had not yet gotten the word was considered essentially an unfortunate accident.

Oddly enough the first ship captured in the War of 1812 was also a brig named Nautilus, but American.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
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Central Ohio
Any word on when Warrington actually accepted the news and turned for home?

Waddell's situation was complicated by the fact that he had seen in newspapers of vessels he stopped the declarations of Davis, et. al., that the struggle would continue. The significance of his speaking Barracouta about the end of the war was because she was a neutral (and could therefore be trusted, at least theoretically).
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
to ask a similar question. when did The Great War end?
11th of November 1918. (end of combat)
or 28 June 1919. (Main treaty signed)
or in 1924? (UK sign peach treaty with Turkey)
 

ErnieMac

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Any word on when Warrington actually accepted the news and turned for home?

Waddell's situation was complicated by the fact that he had seen in newspapers of vessels he stopped the declarations of Davis, et. al., that the struggle would continue. The significance of his speaking Barracouta about the end of the war was because she was a neutral (and could therefore be trusted, at least theoretically).
From what I remember reading the action took place off Java in the East Indies. After Nautilus struck Warrington was given documents confirming the end of the war. He immediately released the Nautilus and set sail for home.
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
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Near Kankakee
I voted for April, 1865. The two major armies had surrendered -- it was all over but the shouting.
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
From Wikipedia

Conclusion of the American Civil War

This is a timeline of the conclusion of the American Civil War which includes important battles, skirmishes, raids and other events of 1865. These led to additional Confederate surrenders, key Confederate captures, and disbandments of Confederate military units that occurred after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender on April 9, 1865.[1]

The fighting of the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War between Lieutenant GeneralUlysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac and Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was reported considerably more often in the newspapers than the battles of the Western Theater. Reporting of the Eastern Theater skirmishes largely dominated the newspapers as the Appomattox Campaign developed.[2]

Lee’s army fought a series of battles in the Appomattox Campaign against Grant that ultimately stretched thin his lines of defense. Lee's extended lines were mostly on small sections of thirty miles of strongholds around Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia. His troops ultimately became exhausted defending this line because they were thinned out too much. Grant then took advantage of the situation and launched attacks on this thirty mile and poorly defended front. This ultimately led to the surrender of Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox.[2]

The Army of Northern Virginia surrendered on April 9 around noon followed by General St. John Richardson Liddell's troops some six hours later.[2] Mosby's raiders disbanded on April 21, General Joseph E. Johnston and his various armies surrendered on April 26, the Confederate departments of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana surrendered on May 4, and the Confederate District of the Gulf, commanded by Major General Dabney Herndon Maury, surrendered on May 5.[3]Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured on May 10 and the Confederate Departments of Florida and South Georgia, commanded by Confederate Major General Samuel Jones, surrendered the same day.[4] Thompson's Brigade surrendered on May 11, Confederate forces of North Georgia surrendered on May 12, and Kirby Smith surrendered on May 26 (officially signed June 2).[5] The last battle of the American Civil War was the Battle of Palmito Ranch in Texas on May 12 and 13. The last significant Confederate active force to surrender was the Confederate allied Cherokee Brigadier GeneralStand Watie and his Indian soldiers on June 23. The last Confederate surrender occurred on November 6, 1865, when the Confederate warship CSS Shenandoah surrendered at Liverpool, England.[6] President Andrew Johnson formally declared the end of the war on August 20, 1866.​

- Alan
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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Location
Central Ohio
The end of the war is much like the start of it... the closer you look, the fuzzier it becomes. Most of history's like that... the "Pearl Harbor moments" are in the minority (and even that's deceptive, as the U.S. was essentially in a shooting war already with Germany).
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
So should it be taught differently? I mean, like Ole, it does seem to me also that with Lee's surrender the Rebellion would be termed ' over ' except for certain events which could not possibly have swung things in favor of the Confederacy? ( right? ) I'm generally a little baffled as to why Gettysburg is ' over' with Pickett's Charge but that's not something which is ever questioned despite the amount of fighting that continued- the battlefield was still a really dangerous place the rest of July 3rd and July 4th.

To people who really care about History and these events, certainly, arguable, but for the sake of being able to pinpoint a place in History for teaching purposes, should it continue to Lee's surrender? I mean general teaching purposes, the high schools and ' American History ' classes.
 

Carronade

Captain
Joined
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Location
Pennsylvania
In a practical sense, Lee's surrender ended whatever chance the Confederacy still had, but strictly speaking he only surrendered one of several field armies. Johnston's and Kirby Smith's surrenders also encompassed the military departments under their command. With Smith's surrender, virtually all of the territory of the Confederacy had been formally returned to United States control, so I would suggest that as the end of the war.

AFAIK a few odd bits like the Valley District were never formally surrendered.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
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Location
Central Ohio
Probably the question needs to be very specific to elicit a particular answer. As we've seen in this thread, there are a range of interpretations of the question-- is the end of the war when the issue is decided? is it when the frontiers can no longer be defended? is it when the capital falls? is it when the principal armed forces surrender? is it when the last armed forces surrender? is it when there's a legal statement of the end? is it when the last of the wounded die? is it when the last of the veterans die? is it when the issues the war was fought over are resolved?
 

KLSDAD

First Sergeant
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Jan 31, 2009
Location
Fremont, MI
I recently watched a CSPAN3 talk on the 39th Congress (1865-1866)......I think I still have it recorded. The speaker made the point that congress considered the war ongoing in order to take advantage of its war powers.

I'm not sure what those actually were though.... Wikipedia summarizes accordingly: "[The Congress shall have Power...] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;"

The executive has certain war powers......I'm wondering whether the speaker was stating that Congress was keen to assume them since Johnson didn't have the support that Lincoln had.
 

TerryB

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Location
Nashville TN
All talk of a holding action to allow Texas, Ark and Louisiana to come into the Union on their own terms (status quo ante) ended when their army melted away after news of Lee's surrender reached Marshall, Texas. Some officers and officials fled to Mexico (and later came back), but when the official surrender of these armies in the Trans-Miss took place, the war was over. Most were going home by June/July 1865.
 

ForeverFree

Major
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Location
District of Columbia
Probably the question needs to be very specific to elicit a particular answer. As we've seen in this thread, there are a range of interpretations of the question-- is the end of the war when the issue is decided? is it when the frontiers can no longer be defended? is it when the capital falls? is it when the principal armed forces surrender? is it when the last armed forces surrender? is it when there's a legal statement of the end? is it when the last of the wounded die? is it when the last of the veterans die? is it when the issues the war was fought over are resolved?
Mark,

One reason I asked the poll question is, I was curious about how various people would define "the end." I was interested in seeing what the end of the war looked like for us modern observers.

I would make an important distinction between the War and the Reconstruction period. The goals of the war were to end the Confederate military threat, preserve the Union, and end slavery; all three of those goals are related. (For example, some believed that the Union would be easier to preserve in the long run if slavery was removed as a cause of sectional division.) And those goals were achieved.

The goal of creating a reconstructed Union brought forth a number of new issues, such as, what would "freedom" look like for the former slaves? I consider those to be post-war issues, although many whites and blacks of the era did explicitly state/hope that ethnic equality would be an outcome of the war.

- Alan
 

Allie

Captain
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
I'll throw a "fly in the ointment" as everyone else is speaking militarily.....I'll offer this food for thought: I'll say the war ended with the capture of the Confederate government.
While I don't disagree with those who speak of armies surrendering or last shots fired.....I will say that, without a government (in the case of the Civil War), there's nothing left to fight for....no "cause" anymore...the idea of "self-rule" has been "captured" with nothing to replace it....The main reason hostilities continued is because news travelled slow, not because they expected a "new" government to take the place of the old.......Just my two cents.....Thanks!!
This is my preferred answer as well.

I definitely take issue with those who say the war ended with Appomattox... Tell that to the Army of Tennessee! Geez Virginia is not the Alpha and Omega of the South.
 

War Horse

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Lexington, SC
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.
That's good, that's very good.
 

mtpotter

Private
Joined
Mar 17, 2016
Location
England
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.

I'm tempted to say when Lee and Johnston surrendered, but I think this is actually the correct interpretation.
 
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