Surrounded by Union troops near the village of Appomattox Court House, General Robert E. Lee sent a note to General Ulysses S. Grant. In it, he asked for surrender terms. Grant met Lee in a nearby house just outside the hamlet, and there accepted the surrender of the Confederate army. Lee's troops were allowed to find their own way home. In addition, his officers could keep their mounts and sidearms. Some of the Southern veterans walked hundreds of miles to reach their homes and families again.
"Within days of lee's surrender, the Union lost its leader. On the evening of April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, and their friends Clara Harris and Major Henry Rathbone went to Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., to see the play Our American Cousin. An actor named John Wilkes Booth slipped behind the president's seat and shot him in the back of the head. When Rathbone went after Booth, the assassin slashed him with a knife. Then he leaped to the stage, shouted,"Sic semper tyrannus" ("So always to tyrants"), and escaped on horseback. Federal troops and local police officers immediately began a manhunt. Lincoln died of his wound the next morning. Vice President Andrew Johnson assumed the office of chief executive. On April 24, Union cavalry trapped Booth in a barn on a Virginia farm and killed him. Meanwhile, several of Booth's associates were arrested for helping him in the assassination plot. They were convicted of their crimes on June 30. Four were hanged. The rest were given long prison terms. While these events were unfolding, U.S. troops were also searching for Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He and his cabinet members had disappeared from Richmond on April 2. Although federal officials were not sure what to do with Davis, they did not want him to escape the country. Weeks later, Davis and his escort were captured near Irwinville, Georgia. By May 22, Davis was imprisoned at Fort Monroe, Virginia, and remained there for two years. He spent his last years writing his memoirs.
THE ASSASSIN John Wilkes Booth was as famous an actor in his day as many movie and television stars are now. Thousands of his fans were shocked at his attack on Lincoln. They were not aware of Booth's strong Confederate sympathies or his involvement with Confederate agents.
Was this article helpful?