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150th Anniversary (1865–2015) This Month in the Civil War: Final Surrenders of the War

Civil War Collection 150th Anniversary

June 1865 was the month of two of the final surrenders of Confederate land forces at the end of the Civil War.

At the beginning of June, Confederate general Edmund Kirby Smith signed the documents that surrendered the Trans-Mississippi Department—the last unsurrendered Confederate department, comprising approximately 36,000 troops—to the Federals. Although Smith had rejected a surrender proposed by John Pope in mid-May, once Smith began hearing about the surrender of Joseph E. Johnston and the capture of Jefferson Davis, he sent his chief of staff, Simon Buckner, to meet with Union general Edward Canby in New Orleans on May 26 to accept the terms of surrender and sign the agreement. Then, a week later, on June 2, Smith traveled to Galveston, Texas, to put his own signature on the documents.

James Waddell of the CSS Shenandoah says he was unaware of the end of the Civil War
The last Confederate general to surrender was Stand Watie. On June 23, Watie, a Cherokee chief and brigadier general, surrendered his First Indian Brigade (composed of Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, and Osages) at Doaksville, in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma).

Also in June, the CSS Shenandoah, a Confederate raider, fired the final shot of the Civil War. Unaware that the war had ended, the ship’s commander, James Waddell, continued attacking U.S. shipping and on June 22 fired at a whaling boat in the Bering Sea. On August 2, Waddell learned from a British ship that the war was over and, rather than surrendering in the U.S., sailed 17,000 miles to turn his ship over in Britain on November 5.

14 Comments

  1. I always enjoy the story of the McClean Family. The First Battle began in his front yard in Manassas in 1861. He moved to Appomattox to get away from the fighting. And Lee’s surrender happened in McClean’s from parlor in Appomattox in 1865.

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  3. I didn’t know about these late surrenders. Very interesting. Thank you. (Why do some people reply totally off the subject to posts such as this?)

  4. I am related to Jonathan Butler (1758-1844) through his daughter Tryphena Butler of Lyndeborough NH. According to the History of the Town of Lyndeborough, NH, Jonathan was a soldier in the Battle of Bunker Hill.

    • You mention Jonathan Butler. I believe he is the Uncle of Major General Benjamin ” the beast” Butler who was born in New Hampshire. There was a deep military tradition among the Butler’s. Jonathan’s father fought at the battle of Quebec and Jonathan’s brother , as well as, Jonathan were veterans of the Revolution. Benjamin and one of his sons fought in the Civil War. Benjamin Butler, before he passed away, wrote a book called the “Butler Book” which is 1500 pages long. The book may be downloaded from the “Gutenberg Project ” in PDF.The book is interesting and sheds a different light on Gen. Butler than history has painted him.

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  6. There is a very interesting book about the Confederate raider, Shenandoah. I apologize for not recalling the author’s name, but Amazon carries it.

    I was led to understand the the Civil War’s last battle was in Texas. Battle of Palmito Ranch, May 12-13, 1865. It is listed as a Confederate victory.

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