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The Civil War, which many refer to as the four bloodiest years in American history, came to an end in the spring of 1865, when Robert E. Lee and the last, major Confederate army surrendered at the Appomattox Courthouse to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9.

Lee was actually not planning to surrender yet, he wanted to get supplies and regroup at the court house, but Grant managed to get in front of Lee and surrounded the much smaller Confederate army. Lee saw no choice but to surrender and did so at the McLean House. To illustrate his respect and goal to restore the Confederate states to the Union peacefully, Grant allowed Lee to keep his horse, Traveller, and his sword.


Last Battle

The last battle of the Civil War was however only fought over a month later, at Palmito Ranch in Texas. Although an unofficial truce existed between the Union and the Confederates, Theodore H. Barrett ordered his Confederate soldiers to attack a Union camp close to Fort Brown. His reasons for attacking are unknown, and some say that he was just eager to lead his first attack before the war was officially over. The 34th Indiana’s Union Private John J. Williams is said to have been the last death in combat of the Civil War.

This article is part of our larger selection of posts about the Civil War. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to the Civil War.

This article is also part of our larger selection of posts about American History. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to American History.

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