After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War

After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War

by Gregory P. Downs


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


On April 8, 1865, after four years of civil war, General Robert E. Lee wrote to General Ulysses S. Grant asking for peace. Peace was beyond his authority to negotiate, Grant replied, but surrender terms he would discuss. As Gregory Downs reveals in this gripping history of post–Civil War America, Grant’s distinction proved prophetic, for peace would elude the South for years after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

After Appomattox argues that the war did not end with Confederate capitulation in 1865. Instead, a second phase commenced which lasted until 1871—not the project euphemistically called Reconstruction but a state of genuine belligerency whose mission was to shape the terms of peace. Using its war powers, the U.S. Army oversaw an ambitious occupation, stationing tens of thousands of troops in hundreds of outposts across the defeated South. This groundbreaking study of the post-surrender occupation makes clear that its purpose was to crush slavery and to create meaningful civil and political rights for freed people in the face of rebels’ bold resistance.

But reliance on military occupation posed its own dilemmas. In areas beyond Army control, the Ku Klux Klan and other violent insurgencies created near-anarchy. Voters in the North also could not stomach an expensive and demoralizing occupation. Under those pressures, by 1871, the Civil War came to its legal end. The wartime after Appomattox disrupted planter power and established important rights, but the dawn of legal peacetime heralded the return of rebel power, not a sustainable peace.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674241626
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 08/13/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 261,114
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Gregory P. Downs is Professor of History at the University of California, Davis, and has received the university’s Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award. He co-wrote the National Park Service’s theme study on the Reconstruction and helped create an interactive digital history of the U.S. Army’s occupation of the South. He is the author of Declarations of Dependence: The Long Reconstruction of Popular Politics in the South, 1861–1908.

Table of Contents

Note on Sources ix

Introduction: The War That Could Not End 1

1 After Surrender 11

2 Emancipation at Gunpoint 39

3 The Challenge of Civil Government 61

4 Authority without Arms 89

5 The War in Washington 113

6 A False Peace 137

7 Enfranchisement by Martial Law 161

8 Between Bullets and Ballots 179

9 The Perils of Peace 211

Conclusion: A Government without Force 237

Appendixes 257

Abbreviations 267

Notes 271

Acknowledgments 329

Index 333

Customer Reviews