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

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Niagara1864

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Very interesting comments here. I think it is safe to say that May 13th 1865 was the “end of hostilities” and therefore a Fair date to put as the end of the war. November 11 1918 is regularly regarded as the end of WWI even though it was merely the end of hostilities.
 

James N.

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Very interesting comments here. I think it is safe to say that May 13th 1865 was the “end of hostilities” and therefore a Fair date to put as the end of the war. November 11 1918 is regularly regarded as the end of WWI even though it was merely the end of hostilities.
Thanks for your input and welcome to the forums!
 
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thomas aagaard

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November 11 1918 is regularly regarded as the end of WWI even though it was merely the end of hostilities.
But it was not. The hostilities actually went on for years.

Sure It might not be the Americans against the Germans, but there where still fighting in in Balkan, the Russian civil war was still ongoing, UK, France, US and Japan had troops in country supporting the whites, The Soviet union then fought against Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states. Rebellions and civil war in Germany and other places.
(The Great war youtube channel that use to cover the war in real time, just with a 100year delay, is still running and plan to do so for about 2 years more. Plenty of fighting going on to cover)

So I would argue that VE day in 1945 is a better example and the surrender of Japan even better.
 

Peace Society

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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.
Does that include Joshua Chamberlain?
 

Peace Society

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But it was not. The hostilities actually went on for years.

Sure It might not be the Americans against the Germans, but there where still fighting in in Balkan, the Russian civil war was still ongoing, UK, France, US and Japan had troops in country supporting the whites, The Soviet union then fought against Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic states. Rebellions and civil war in Germany and other places.
(The Great war youtube channel that use to cover the war in real time, just with a 100year delay, is still running and plan to do so for about 2 years more. Plenty of fighting going on to cover)

So I would argue that VE day in 1945 is a better example and the surrender of Japan even better.
The CW could be considered still going on if hostility is the defining characteristic. The removal of armies doesn't necessarily remove combatants. Or bushwhackers.
 
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speedylee

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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 Congress did not recognize the Confederacy as a nation, it could not declare war. For that reason, you could argue make the argument that there actually was no war. You can't have an official end date of a war that was never declared. Simply my humble opinion here, but hostilities could be said to have ended when the final Confederate army in the field surrendered. You could also say, with some degree of accuracy, that the 'late unpleasantness' as some termed it ended when Congress stopped funding the Reconstruction effort.
 
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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 like this question because it questions the narrative I was told as a kid that the Civil War ended when Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. For my ancestor, who escaped execution and went down to Mexico as part of the "Undefeateds" -- then went to Cuba -- the Civil War ended in 1868 when he was pardoned by Andrew Johnson.
 
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As Congress did not recognize the Confederacy as a nation, it could not declare war. For that reason, you could argue make the argument that there actually was no war. You can't have an official end date of a war that was never declared. Simply my humble opinion here, but hostilities could be said to have ended when the final Confederate army in the field surrendered. You could also say, with some degree of accuracy, that the 'late unpleasantness' as some termed it ended when Congress stopped funding the Reconstruction effort.
To say there was "no war" is an affront to those who served and died on both sides. Even if the CSA was not recognized formally by the North or a foreign power, it had the elements we attribute to a nation state such as a Constitution, army, Congress, and most of all, the devotion of its citizens.
 

John S. Carter

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The war can be subdivided into two seperate parts-the military and the political.The military ended with the surrender of Confederate forces first with Lee then Johnson followed by seperate surrenders of Confederate forces in the West.There were forces which did not surrender but merely disbanded.The political war began with the readmittance of the former succeeded states followed with reconstruction of same/occupation of these states by Federal troop and reestablish of governments with Constitutional amendments to secure Union victory=13TH and 14 Amendment later 15th. This war ended with removeall of Federal forces ,the passages of said adm.and the final states readmittance .The changes in Northern attitudes towards the former Confederacy by 1874 was the real final peace.A war does not end merily with a military victory aka>Europe in the 17-19th centuries ,WWll was the result of the failure to resolved problems left by the peace of WWl.
 

byron ed

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Just to mention that it appears the last shot fired in the Civil War was from the C.S.S. Shenendoah in the summer of 1865 off the coast of Alaska.

That ship had been built in Britain, supposedly designed as a troop ship, the Sea King. By October 1864 it had secretly been transferred to the Confederate Navy and was fully weaponized, hence called the Shenendoah. That ship took dozens of Yankee whalers and trading ships merely by threatening them, no killing necessary.

Having fired that last shot off the coast of Alaska it sailed south and by August had intended to threaten San Francisco, CA, but it had on the 2nd of that month come across a ship with a newspaper aboard with the news the Confederacy had surrendered, Lincoln was dead and the war was over. It then took a very long trip to England to finally surrender there on better terms for the crew.

Following post-war international arbitration in Geneva, Switzerland, Britain agreed to pay the U.S. $15.5 million in damages -- twice what America paid Russia for Alaska.

That's a hack job of the history, but here's a good book about it: "The Last Shot: The Incredible Story of the C.S.S. Shenandoah and the True Conclusion of the American Civil War" Lynn Schooler.
 
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1865 - November 6, the last Confederate surrender, the Confederate Commerce Raider CSS Shenandoah was turned in.
I agree.

Technically, the CSS Shenandoah never surrendered to the United States.
Captain Waddell "surrendered" that ship to the British government.
A diplomatic firestorm ensued . . . but it is fact.

1866 - August 20, President Andrew Johnson formally declares the end of the war.
I really agree with this.

The US history books never have focused on the "official" end of World War II either.

December 31, 1946 – U.S. President Truman officially declares an end to hostilities with Presidential Proclamation no. 2715, 61 Stat 1048.

That's one day away from 1947.

Only throwing out some factoids.

:smile coffee:
 
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Just to mention that it appears the last shot fired in the Civil War was from the C.S.S. Shenendoah in the summer of 1865 off the coast of Alaska.

That ship had been built in Britain, supposedly designed as a troop ship, the Sea King. By October 1864 it had secretly been transferred to the Confederate Navy and was fully weaponized, hence called the Shenendoah. That ship took dozens of Yankee whalers and trading ships merely by threatening them, no killing necessary.

Having fired that last shot off the coast of Alaska it sailed south and by August had intended to threaten San Francisco, CA, but it had on the 2nd of that month come across a ship with a newspaper aboard with the news the Confederacy had surrendered, Lincoln was dead and the war was over. It then took a very long trip to England to finally surrender there on better terms for the crew.

Following post-war international arbitration in Geneva, Switzerland, Britain agreed to pay the U.S. $15.5 million in damages -- twice what America paid Russia for Alaska.

That's a hack job of the history, but here's a good book about it: "The Last Shot: The Incredible Story of the C.S.S. Shenandoah and the True Conclusion of the American Civil War" Lynn Schooler.
Great synopsis !
 

WJC

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The official date for the end of the War of the Rebellion is August 20, 1866. That is the date President Johnson proclaimed that “said insurrection is at an end and that peace, order, tranquility, and civil authority now exist in and throughout the whole United States of America.”
<Trevor K. Plante, "Ending the Bloodshed: The Last Surrenders of the Civil War." Prologue, Spring 2015, Vol. 47, No. 1. https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2015/spring/cw-surrenders.html>
 
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speedylee

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To say there was "no war" is an affront to those who served and died on both sides. Even if the CSA was not recognized formally by the North or a foreign power, it had the elements we attribute to a nation state such as a Constitution, army, Congress, and most of all, the devotion of its citizens.
With all due respect, I agree with you that those who fought in either uniform must have felt they were fighting a war, but our nation has a history of costly conflicts which are not part of declared wars. The Korean and Vietnam conflicts are prime examples. The question I answered asked about the official end of the Civil War and my point was that there really is no 'official' end for something that technically did not exist.
 

archieclement

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The official date for the end of the War of the Rebellion is August 20, 1866. That is the date President Johnson proclaimed that “said insurrection is at an end and that peace, order, tranquility, and civil authority now exist in and throughout the whole United States of America.”
<Trevor K. Plante, "Ending the Bloodshed: The Last Surrenders of the Civil War." Prologue, Spring 2015, Vol. 47, No. 1. https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2015/spring/cw-surrenders.html>
For supposedly being "official", it was also a blatant lie.

In answer to an inquiry from the assistant commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau for Georgia, Secretary of War Stanton notified the department commanders in the South that Johnson had authorized him “to inform you that the President’s Proclamation does not remove martial law or operate in any way upon the Freedmen’s Bureau in the exercise of its legitimate jurisdiction.” So much for the civil authority now exist in and throughout the whole United States....

Edit-----Always seemed odd to me, if one doesn't wish to use the date of the end of organized resistance with the surrender of the last army...…...I would go to 1877 when military occupation and martial law ended, and the restoration of civil courts occured throughout the United States and we truly returned to normal peacetime. Both are more practical and realistic then 1866 dates
 
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To say there was "no war" is an affront to those who served and died on both sides. Even if the CSA was not recognized formally by the North or a foreign power, it had the elements we attribute to a nation state such as a Constitution, army, Congress, and most of all, the devotion of its citizens.
That's not how I read this post.

I completely understand your response . . . it danm sure was a War.
And a horrendous War at that !

However, I really think this post had more to do with the established definitions of a War between two sovereign nations or international definitions regarding "rebellion".

Either way . . . I'm pretty sure there will never be a consensus .
 
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Joshism

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The question I answered asked about the official end of the Civil War and my point was that there really is no 'official' end for something that tech
I think what you're trying to get at is unlike most wars, whether they are declared wars or "police actions", there is usually a treaty that officially ends the armed conflict. As the CSA government disintegrated without signing or declaring any suchvend, and its armed forces surrendered piecemeal, there is no traditional end.

Since the USA refused to recognize the CSA it raises the question of, if Jeff Davis and the Confederate peace commissioners had accepted reality and agree to end the war on terms Lincoln would accept how would the surrender document have been worded? "As representatives of the states engaged in rebellion"?
 
The US history books never have focused on the "official" end of World War II either.

December 31, 1946 – U.S. President Truman officially declares an end to hostilities with Presidential Proclamation no. 2715, 61 Stat 1048.

That's one day away from 1947.

Only throwing out some factoids.

:smile coffee:
I never knew this about WW II. Thanks for providing it.
 
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