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The Appomattox Campaign was a series of Battles from March 29 – April 9, 1865, and led to the surrender of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, led by Robert E. Lee.

Federal soldiers at the Appomattox courthouse April 1865 Photographer: Timothy O'Sullivan

Federal soldiers at the Appomattox courthouse April 1865
Photographer: Timothy O’Sullivan

The Campaign began when the Union army, led by Ulysses S. Grant, began an offensive against the Confederate city of Petersburg. Petersburg held out until April 2, when Grant finally captured it and Richmond, the Confederate Capital. However, Lee had escaped. Robert E. Lee had led his army out of the cities an begun a westward retreat toward Danville, Virginia. Lee’s plan was to unite his army with Joseph E. Johnson’s, allowing the American Civil War to continue. However, Grant was pursuing them, cutting off supplies and blocking the Confederate army’s paths. At the Battle of Sailor’s Creek on April 6, the Confederate army was decisively defeated, losing 7,000 men. However, Lee continued his retreat to the west. Soon afterwards, Grant cornered the Army of Northern Virginia, and on April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House. This was a decisive blow to the Confederacy. It’s best general had surrendered, and by May, the Confederacy ceased to exist. To learn more about generals Grant and Lee, click here.

April 9, 1865 is considered to be the official end of the Civil War. There was much rejoicing, but events conspired to put sadness into the happiness. Five days later, on April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, was shot by an actor named John Wilkes Booth and died the next day, an event that even the Confederacy would regret.

April 9th of this year was the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Appomattox and the end of the American Civil War.