Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

June 2, 1865

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on June 2, 2018

The American Civil War ended one hundred fifty-three years ago today, with the surrender of the last major Confederate command, the Trans-Mississippi Department. Late on the afternoon of Friday, June 2, 1865, Generals E. Kirby Smith and John Bankhead Magruder boarded Commodore Benjamin F. Sands’ flagship, USS FORT JACKSON (above), anchored off Galveston. U.S. Brigadier General Edmund J. Davis, a lawyer from Laredo who had opposed secession and eventually cast his lot with the Union, was present to represent Federal forces. At 5:00 p.m., in Sands’s cabin, these men signed the document surrendering the Trans-Mississippi Department, the last major Confederate command to yield to the Union.

Three days later, after allowing sufficient time for word of the surrender to be passed to the few Confederate forces remaining in their defensive works up and down the coast, Sands boarded the light-draft CORNUBIA and, with USS PRESTON trailing behind, entered Galveston Harbor. Sands disembarked with a handful of naval officers—but no armed escort—and was met on the wharf by a Confederate officer, who accompanied them to the mayor’s office above the old city market, just one block from Hendley’s Row and the old JOLO watch tower. There, the mayor and Sands both briefly addressed a crowd of soldiers and civilians “who had assembled in considerable numbers.” Both men made assurances of their goodwill and urged the population to go about their business peaceably. Sands told the crowd that he carried a sidearm that day not out of any fear for his own safety but as a sign of respect for the mayor and local officials. Then, along with the mayor, Sands continued on to the old U.S. Customs House, where he “hoisted our flag, which now, at last, was flying over every foot of our territory, this being the closing act of the great rebellion.”

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One Response

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  1. Danial F. Lisarelli said, on June 2, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    Now we are engaged in a great Civil War to not forget the Civil War itself.


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