This Day in History

On June 2, 1865, the American Civil War effectively came to an end when Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of Confederate forces west of the Mississippi, signed the surrender terms offered by Union negotiators. While President Jefferson Davis was captured and the better-known General Robert E. Lee had surrendered his army in April, Smith’s surrender marked the last major Confederate military force to capitulate, symbolizing the definitive conclusion of one of the bloodiest conflicts in American history. This event helped pave the way for the reunification and reconstruction of the nation, although the legacy of the conflict and its deep-seated divisions would continue to influence American society and politics for generations to come.