Sunday, June 2, 2019

CSA General Smith's Surrender - Not The End Of The Story

On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House. That is the name of town where surrender took  place - the actual surrender did not take place inside a court building but in the parlor of the Wilmer McLean home. (Source.

While that surrender is often considered to be the end to the American Civil War, it was not until almost 8 weeks later, on June 2, 1865, that the last full general of the Confederate States of America - General Edmund Kirby Smith - surrendered to Union Forces at Galveston, TX. Up until that time, Smith and the forces under his command continued to resist the Union Army. He fled to Mexico immediately after his surrender but later swore an oath of allegiance to the United States to receive amnesty. (Source.) Some consider Smith's surrender to be the actual end to the Civil War but there is a bit more to the story.

There was at least one field general left in the Confederacy who had not yet surrendered.  "In 1861 Stand Watie, a Cherokee {aka: De Gata Ga (Cherokee: “Stand Firm”)}, had raised and commanded the first volunteer Cherokee regiment—the Cherokee Mounted Rifles—mustered into the Confederate Army." (Source.) He was later promoted to Brigadier General and placed in charge of the First Indian Brigade. He surrendered with his forces on June 23, 1865. "Stand Watie was the last Confederate general to surrender his command." (Source.)

Now mind you, that quote said that Stand Watie was the last CSA General to surrender; yet, even his surrender was not the final surrender of CSA forces. There was still a Confederate ship in the fight. That ship had been purchased by CSA forces in Liverpool England in 1864 and renamed the CSS Shenandoah under the command of Captain James I. Wadell. After the above surrenders, the Shenandoah continued on its mission to destroy New England whaling ships. During that campaign in which the Shendandoah destroyed several Union ships, Wadell was informed of the surrender of the Confederacy. He decided to return to Liverpool where he surrendered. 

"The last Confederate surrender occurred on November 6, 1865, when the Shenandoah arrived in Liverpool. The only Confederate vessel to circumnavigate the globe was surrendered by letter to the British prime minister, Lord John Russell." (Source.)

All the best,
Glenn B