The Final Struggles: September 1864 to April 1865

Lee’s Surrender

When did the surrender ceremony take place?

It took place on Wednesday, April 12, 1865. General Joshua Chamberlain (1828–1914) of Maine was assigned the honor of being the first man of general rank to receive the defeated Confederates (he was the man who, while still a colonel, had defended Little Round Top on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg). General John B. Gordon, who had also been at Gettysburg, was chosen to lead the Confederates as they stacked their arms. The scene was described many times, but the single best description comes from the pen of General Chamberlain, who wrote his sister one day after the event:

“I took post on the right,” he wrote, “with my staff and the old flag, the red maltese cross on the white field with blue border. We received them with the honor due to troops, at a shoulder and in silence. They came to a shoulder on passing my flag, and preserved perfect order. When the head of their column reached our left, they halted faced toward our line and close upon it, say 4 or 6 yards, and stacked their arms and piled their colors. Poor fellows. I pitied them from the bottom of my heart.”


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Civil War Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App