The Final Struggles: September 1864 to April 1865

Beginning of the End

How did the major newspapers track the excitement as the war neared its end?

The New York Times was most interested in the Union attack on Mobile, Alabama, until Monday, April 3, 1865, when its front page practically screamed: VICTORY. An enormous American eagle appeared on that front page, and the headline declared that 12,000 rebels had been taken prisoner. That was followed by, if anything, an even bolder headline on Tuesday, April 4: GRANT, RICHMOND AND VICTORY. If anyone has discounted the effect of the war’s end, believing that Americans were too jaded to care, the Times’ headlines would rebut that idea on the spot.

“The capture of Richmond plucks out the very heart of the rebellion,” The Times declared. “It is not enough to say that a rebel capital has been taken. Richmond bore a much more important relation to the rebellion than that term would express.” Americans throughout the North and the West gave way to a round of rejoicing, the likes of which had never before been seen.


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