Discussion When was the “official” end of the war?

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Niagara1864

Cadet
Joined
Aug 2, 2019
Location
Niagara County NY
So I am working on an honor list of men from my town who died in the civil war. One issue I have come across is when the cut off date should be for ‘died in the war’ and ‘died after the war’. If I am doing an honor roll list specifically for men who died ‘in the war’ should I include names of men who died after April 9th 1865? Or should it be May 13th, 1865? Currently I am using the latter as the cutoff date. I have included the name of one Cpl. Hertzburg who died on April 16th, but chose not to include one Pvt Davis who died on June 20th. I’m looking for any advice!
 

Joshism

Sergeant Major
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
I think a strong argument can be made for the surrender of Stand Watie marking the real end of the war on June 23, 1865.

Of course, the end of the war is always a bit fuzzy for servicemen. For example, most US servicemen weren't home from Europe after WW1 until 1919 and many temporary wartime government measures didn't end until mid-1919, but almost everyone would say the war ended 11/11/1918. If you look at the National Archives, many of their records for World War 2 extend in 1946 or 1947. (It's a bit of morbid humor to see World War 2 draft cards from 1946 that were completed by men just discharged from active service.)

April 2, 1866 feels much too late but given the WW1/WW2 examples I noted above maybe it's appropriate at least in determining wartime service and dead.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
In addition to what @NedBaldwin stated in post #2, President Johnson issued a second Proclamation on August 20, 1866 ending the Civil War in Texas. The Alabama Claims Commission and the United States Supreme Court recognized Johnson's 1866 dates as the official end of the Civil War in the respective states.
 
Governments obviously require specific dates for administrative reasons, but frankly it seems a little silly to suggest that there was still a Confederate insurrection underway on April 1, 1866.
Had the war been declared officially over when the last Confederate army in the field surrendered during May 1865, I suspect that the crew of the surrendering CSS Shenandoah during November 1865 for example, may have been treated as pirates and faced possible executions if convicted in a trial.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Joined
May 1, 2015
Location
Upstate N.Y.
On August 20, 1866, President Johnson issued a proclamation announcing the end of the American Civil War: "And I do further proclaim that the said insurrection is at an end and that peace, order, tranquility, and civil authority now exists in and throughout the whole of the United States of America."
source: www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2015/spring/cw-surrenders.html
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

J. D. Stevens

Corporal
Joined
Dec 11, 2016
Location
Deep In The Heart of Texas
cut off date should be for ‘died in the war’ and ‘died after the war’.
You might consider veterans who died "due to the war." Men who came home sick from infections, disease, or wounds who died after the battles were over. A couple of examples; One veteran who had his arm amputated, given a disability discharge, returned home, was elected as County Clerk, and died a year later due to infection of his wound. Another young veteran who was given a disability discharge due to consumption and died six days after returning home. If you have veterans who might fit similar circumstances, they should be seriously considered on any list of honor.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

John S. Carter

First Sergeant
Joined
Mar 15, 2017
So I am working on an honor list of men from my town who died in the civil war. One issue I have come across is when the cut off date should be for ‘died in the war’ and ‘died after the war’. If I am doing an honor roll list specifically for men who died ‘in the war’ should I include names of men who died after April 9th 1865? Or should it be May 13th, 1865? Currently I am using the latter as the cutoff date. I have included the name of one Cpl. Hertzburg who died on April 16th, but chose not to include one Pvt Davis who died on June 20th. I’m looking for any advice!
As to physical battles of the war ,a date may be placed on it.As to the psychological and political that has continued since Johnson surrendered to Sherman and the last Confederate forces went home.May I suggest a book to read? The book is "The Second Founding,how the civil war and reconstruction remade the Constitution" Eric Fonder.He writes on the Thirteenth ,Fourteenth,and Fifteenth Amendments.The reasons for their creation ,the disagreement of why they were needed,North and South.and court decisions following their ratifications along with the Civil Rights of 1867.There is information as to the effects on the social and judicial which these had on the country after the war and with the change in attitude towards the minorities,Chinese in the West and blacks in both North and South even the poor whites.Ironic that since 1960 the Republican party in many incidences have taken the South's conservative agenda,one hundred and then years from their creation. .
 

CivilWarTalk

Lieutenant General
Managing Member & Webmaster
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Location
Martinsburg, WV
Perhaps this is helpful:

1865 - April 2, The Confederate government evacuates its capital, Richmond.

1865 - April 3, Union troops occupy Richmond.

1865 - April 9, Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant at Appomattox.

1865 - April 14, John Wilkes Booth shoots President Lincoln at Ford’s Theater.

1865 - April 15, Lincoln dies, and Andrew Johnson is inaugurated as President.

1865 - April 26, Joseph E. Johnston surrenders to William T. Sherman in North Carolina.

1865 - May 10, Jefferson Davis is captured and taken prisoner near Irwinville, Georgia.

1865 - May 12-13, Final Battle of the Civil War at Palmetto Ranch, Texas

1865 - May 26, In New Orleans, terms of surrender are offered to General E. Kirby Smith, commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department.

1865 - June 2, General E. Kirby Smith accepts New Orleans' terms of surrender, formally ending Confederate resistance.

1865 - June 23, Last significant Confederate active force to surrender was the Confederate allied Cherokee Brig. Gen. Stand Watie and his Indian soldiers.

1865 - June 25, Last shot of the American Civil War fired by the CSS Shenandoah at a Union whaler near the Aleutian Islands.

1865 - November 6, the last Confederate surrender, the Confederate Commerce Raider CSS Shenandoah was turned in.

1866 - August 20, President Andrew Johnson formally declares the end of the war.​
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Civil War Photo Contest
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
So I am working on an honor list of men from my town who died in the civil war. One issue I have come across is when the cut off date should be for ‘died in the war’ and ‘died after the war’. If I am doing an honor roll list specifically for men who died ‘in the war’ should I include names of men who died after April 9th 1865? Or should it be May 13th, 1865? Currently I am using the latter as the cutoff date. I have included the name of one Cpl. Hertzburg who died on April 16th, but chose not to include one Pvt Davis who died on June 20th. I’m looking for any advice!
I'd go with Johnson's Official end, especially in your case - many of those who had been mortally wounded didn't die immediately because Lee surrendered, but continued to linger for some time afterwards, yet they were certainly casualties/fatalities of the war.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

John Winn

Captain
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
Membership in the G.A.R. was limited to those who served honorably between April 1861 and December 1865. So, they didn't agree with Johnson's "Official" date exactly. I consider the war to have ended with Stand Watie's surrender. I think the Shenandoah thing to be a bit like those Japanese guys who lived in caves for decades after WWII.
 

Carronade

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Location
Pennsylvania
Had the war been declared officially over when the last Confederate army in the field surrendered during May 1865, I suspect that the crew of the surrendering CSS Shenandoah during November 1865 for example, may have been treated as pirates and faced possible executions if convicted in a trial.
In those days it was not uncommon for battles to be fought after a war was officially over, especially by ships in distant waters. In the War of 1812, USS Peacock captured the British East India Company brig Nautilus on June 30, 1815, more than four months after the peace treaty had been ratified. It was considered regrettable but no cause for punishment.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
In those days it was not uncommon for battles to be fought after a war was officially over, especially by ships in distant waters. In the War of 1812, USS Peacock captured the British East India Company brig Nautilus on June 30, 1815, more than four months after the peace treaty had been ratified. It was considered regrettable but no cause for punishment.
I could see that being the case between two nations that had been at war with each other that ended with a treaty of peace but the Civil War was a little bit different. The surrender of the CSS Shenandoah occurred during that period following the end of the shooting war where people and politicians from the North were clamoring for revenge not only because of the war itself but also because of Lincoln's assassination. During June 1865, Lee, Longstreet and a handful of other high ranking former Confederates had been indicted for Treason and during November 1865, the same month that Captain Waddell had surrendered the Shenandoah, Raphael Semmes was arrested and indicted for 3 violations of the Laws of Warfare so there was a likelihood had the war been officially declared ended by President Johnson back during May 1865, the crew could have faced Federal criminal charges of piracy since they would no longer have been considered Belligerents and be covered under the International Laws of War.
 

Lee

Colonel
Joined
Mar 25, 2012
More than once I have wanted to take issue reading that Abraham Lincoln assassinated shortly after the Civil War or shortly after the end of the Civil War when in fact the War was not over. I mean for the most part I feel safe saying the issue had been decided with the surrender of the ANV but there were still Armies in the field and soldiers on both sides were still being WIA and KIA although at significantly lower numbers, and frequency.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top