The Last Major Confederate Army East of the Mississippi Surrenders
119. [CIVIL WAR]. CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY. ARMY OF TENNESSEE. “Terms of a Military Convention entered into this twenty sixth (26th) day of April, 1865, at Bennett House, near Durham’s Station, North Carolina, between General Joseph E. Johnston, Commanding the Confederate Army, and Major General W.T. Sherman, Commanding the United States Army in North Carolina.” Signed “W.T. Sherman,” “Joseph E. Johnston,” and “Archer Anderson.” Entirely in a secretarial hand.  p., 4to (26.5 x 21 cm) on pale tan wove paper. Docketed on verso, “Terms of Surrender of the Army of Tennessee.” Creased where formerly folded, a few light wrinkles and stains, upper blank margin repaired (not affecting text). Overall a very good contemporary copy of this important document which basically ended the Civil War east of the Mississippi River.
The listed surrender terms include five clauses, providing: (1) that all hostilities will cease as of today’s date; (2) that all arms and public property are to be deposited with an ordinance officer at Greensboro; (3) that duplicate rolls are to be made, one for the Union and the other for the Confederate side, and that each man will promise in writing not to take up arms against the U.S.; (4) that officers may keep side arms, horses, and baggage; and (5) that all Southern officers and men may return peaceably to their homes once the above conditions are satisfied.
This document is the result of somewhat tortured negotiations between the two parties, which were complicated by Lincoln’s assassination. After the Battle of Bentonville, Johnston moved his army towards Greensboro, where he met Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Davis, upon learning that Lee had already surrendered, allowed Johnston to consult with Sherman. The first meeting was held on April 17 at Bennett’s farmhouse, approximately halfway between the two lines. Little was resolved; Johnston wanted a surrender that included political terms, whereas Sherman wanted a simple military surrender. At their second meeting the next day, the two generals agreed on a liberal surrender document proposed by Sherman, which Davis also approved. However, political tensions sabotaged this agreement, and Grant ordered Sherman to negotiate a military surrender only, with terms similar to those he had given Lee at Appomattox Courthouse.
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Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2009