Robert E. Lee surrenders 1865

What was going on in 1865?

In 1861, the American Revolutionary War began. The war was fought between the northern states and the southern states of USA. The southern states had separate from the Union and were called the Confederacy. The northern states remained a part of USA and were called the Union. The northern states believed that the southern stated had no right to separate from the Union and this led to a war between the two sides.

Confederate army retreats

Until 1863, the war was almost even, which means that both sides won some battles and lost some. By the mid 1863, the war started to turn in favor the Union as the Confederate armies were defeated in many important battles. In 1864, the Union armies had entered the Confederate territories and were taken control of more and more southern states. The main Confederate army under General Robert E. Lee had to face a large Union army under General Ulysses S. Grant. This Confederate army was defeated in many battles and continued to retreat through the state of Virginia.

Surrounded by the Union army

In 1865, the Confederate army under General Robert E. Lee was still retreating. The Confederate army hoped to reach North Carolina and join up with other Confederate armies. However, their retreat was cut off by the Union army under General Ulysses S. Grant. The Union army was able to surround the Confederate army so that it had no option but to surrender.

Surrender by Robert E. Lee

General Robert E. Lee was the commander-in-chief of the Confederate armies. This means that he was the most important military commander of the Confederacy. When he saw that his army was surrounded on all sides, he knew he had no other option but to retreat.

By this time, the Confederate army was running low on important supplies and Confederate soldiers had starting deserting. So on April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee and General Ulysses S. Grant met at a house in Appomattox, Virginia. Here, General Lee agreed to surrender.

The terms of surrendered offered to the Confederate army were very fair and generous. The Confederate soldiers were required to give up their weapons. But they were allowed to keep their horses and mules, and to return to their homes immediately. They were also provided food supplies so that they could feed the large number of hungry Confederate soldiers.

Aftermath of the Surrender

The surrender of the Confederate army under General Robert E. Lee marked the beginning of the end. News of his surrender soon reached other Confederate armies and they knew that the war was over. So other Confederate armies also started surrendering one after the other.

The last Confederate army to surrender was the army under General Stand Watie which surrendered on June 23, 1865. With the surrender of the Confederate armies, the southern states had effectively lost the war. So, the Confederate government was dissolved, the Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured and all southern states once again became a part of the Union.

Appomattox: The Last Days of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia Hardcover – March 1, 2015

Learn More about Robert E. Lee and the Battle of Appomattox Court House at Wikipedia