On this day in 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, marking the effective end of the US Civil War. The Confederate army had already been in desperate retreat for days by the time the surrender was formalized at Appomattox Court House. In fact, one of the terms of the final surrender agreement was that the Confederate soldiers would be granted Union rations to avoid starvation. While it would be another sixteen months before President Andrew Johnson, the successor to President Lincoln, would declare an official end to the war the loss of Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, the largest of the Confederate armies, essentially guaranteed victory for the North.

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