After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War by Gregory P. Downs

By Gregory P. Downs

On April eight, 1865, after 4 years of civil struggle, normal Robert E. Lee wrote to common Ulysses S. provide requesting peace. Peace used to be past his authority to barter, supply spoke back, yet hand over phrases he may speak about. As Gregory Downs finds during this gripping heritage of post–Civil warfare the US, Grant’s contrast proved prophetic, for peace may elude the South for years after Lee’s give up at Appomattox.

After Appomattox argues that the conflict didn't finish with accomplice capitulation in 1865. as a substitute, a moment section started which lasted till 1871—not the undertaking euphemistically referred to as Reconstruction yet a nation of actual belligerency whose challenge was once to form the phrases of peace. utilizing its conflict powers, the U.S. military oversaw an bold profession, stationing tens of millions of troops in 1000's of outposts around the defeated South. This groundbreaking examine of the post-surrender career makes transparent that its objective used to be to weigh down slavery and to create significant civil and political rights for freed humans within the face of rebels’ daring resistance.

yet reliance on army profession posed its personal dilemmas. In components past military keep an eye on, the Ku Klux Klan and different violent insurgencies created near-anarchy. citizens within the North additionally couldn't belly a dear and demoralizing profession. lower than these pressures, through 1871, the Civil warfare got here to its felony finish. The wartime after Appomattox disrupted planter energy and validated vital rights, however the sunrise of criminal peacetime heralded the go back of insurgent strength, no longer a sustainable peace.

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S. ”36 Because rebels sometimes asked for military assistance and generally stopped shooting, some contemporaries and later historians have confused their tactical silence with acquiescence. No one worked harder to prove that rebels were willing to accept any terms after surrender than Chief Justice Chase. ” Chase’s argument for black suffrage, however, should not be confused with reliable analysis. One of his fellow travelers on this tour, the reporter Whitelaw Reid, found rebels much more resistant to change.

Instead of ending with the first mustering out of troops, the military occupation had only just begun. In Charlottesville, soldiers arrested a Maury family friend for slapping his former slave. 1 Soldiers could not retreat from Maury’s Virginia, nor could the war powers cease, because slavery had not died and freedom had not yet been defined. While spectators in Washington expected parades and proclamations to lessen the army’s role, military commanders instead expanded their interventions in daily life in the South in the late spring and summer of 1865.

All laws had become inoperative for want of officers to enforce them. ” It seemed a return to the state of nature, thousands of years of civilization erased in a flash. A white Georgia woman wrote in her diary: “We have no currency, no law, save the primitive code that might makes right. ” Josiah Gorgas, who had overseen armaments for the Confederacy, described this transformation vividly. “I am as one walking in a dream,” he wrote. ”35 In the face of this anarchy, many ex-rebels, no matter how much they disliked the Yankees, tried to claim military power for their own benefit.

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