- Gen. Lee's surrender the decisive event of the war. -- strength and situation of the Confederate forces South of Virginia. -- surrender of Johnston's army. -- Gen. Johnston's line of retreat from Raleigh. -- Sherman's pursuit. -- the conference at Durham Station. -- Sherman's “memorandum or basis of agreement.” -- he attempts an extraordinary game of hypocrisy. -- his astounding confessions at Washington. -- curious speech at a soldiers' festival. -- Sherman's convention with Johnston repudiated at Washington. -- Johnston compelled to surrender on the terms given Lee. -- review of the sections of Confederate defence. -- operations in the Southwest. -- capture of Mobile. -- Wilson's expedition. -- the expedition of Gen. Canby against Mobile and Central Alabama. -- statements of his force. -- the works and garrison of Mobile. -- siege of Spanish Fort. -- Gen. Maury orders its evacuation. -- capture of Fort Blakely. -- evacuation of Mobile. -- how Wilson's cavalry was to co-operate with Canby. -- disposition of the forces of Gens. Forrest and Roddy. -- capture of Selma, Montgomery and Columbus. -- the heroic episode of West point. -- Wilson advances upon Macon. -- news of Sherman's truce. -- surrender of all the Confederate forces in Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana. -- the Trans-Mississippi -- surrender of Gen. Smith. -- hope of prolonging the war West of the Mississippi River. -- the last calculation of “European recognition.” -- surrender of the Trans-Mississippi army to Gen. Canby. -- the downfall of the Confederacy complete. -- some reflections on the termination of the war. -- its flat conclusion. -- no grand catastrophe. -- explanation of this. -- theories, to account for the failure of the Confederacy. -- the vulgar argument of the numerical superiority of the North. -- how this argument is defective. -- the true basis of comparison between the military forces of North and South. -- the numerical inequality not sufficient to determine the war against the South. -- inconsistency of this argument on the part of Southern leaders. -- the relation of numbers to other elements of armed contest. -- what advantages the South had in the extent and features of her territory. -- General conclusion and an important reflection consequent upon it
The surrender of Gen. Lee was plainly the decisive event of the war, and drew after it rapid and important consequences. The situation in the Atlantic States south of Virginia, was weak; and that part of the Confederacy had been for some time thoroughly demoralized. The limits of Johnston's command included North and South Carolina, Georgia and  Florida; and the fate of this extensive military territory depended upon an army whose effective force was less than twenty thousand men. Gen. Johnston's statement of the force at his command in the vicinity of Raleigh, was 18,578 total, infantry and artillery present for duty, of which not more than 14,179 were effective, with a cavalry force little over five thousand. Florida was destitute of troops, and South Carolina was pretty much in the condition of a conquered province, there being no known Confederate force in it beyond a division of cavalry less than one thousand. Gen. Johnston found himself by the disaster in Virginia, opposed to a combined force of alarming magnitude; there was great difficulty in supplying his troops; the enemy had already captured all workshops within the Confederacy for the preparation of ammunition and repairing of arms; and thus embarrassed, crippled and disheartened, what was accounted in point of importance the second. army of the Confederacy, numbering on its rolls more than seventy thousand men, and yet reduced to less than one-third of this number by desertions and “absenteeism,” abandoned the hope of successful war, and prepared to surrender.
Surrender of Johnston's army.On the night of the 13th April, Sherman's army had halted some fourteen miles from Raleigh, when it received the news of the surrender of Lee. The next day it occupied Raleigh; Gen. Johnston having taken up a line of retreat by the railroad running by Hillsboro, Greensboro, Salisbury and Charlotte. Sherman commenced pursuit by crossing the curve of that road in the direction of Ashboro, and Charlotte; and after the head of his column had crossed the Cape Fear River at Avens Ferry, he received a communication from Gen. Johnston on the 15th April, asking if some arrangement could not be effected, which should prevent the further useless effusion of blood. It was eventually arranged that a personal interview should take place between the two commanders at a designated point; and on the 18th April, they met at a farm-house, five miles from Durham Station, under a flag of truce. In proposing a surrender, Gen. Johnston wanted some more general concessions than had been made in the case of Gen Lee; and the result was a military convention, which Gen. Johnston declared that he signed “to spare the blood of his gallant little army, to prevent further suffering of the people by the devastation and ruin inevitable from the marches of invading armies, and to avoid the crime of waging a hopeless war.” This document, which we place here, was certainly an extraordinary one on Sherman's part. 
There was much surprise on the part of the Southern people, that a man of Sherman's furious antecedents and incendiary record in the war, should exhibit such a spirit of liberality as contained in the above paper. But further developments explained the apparent contradiction, and showed that Sherman intended the paper only as a snare; that he was prepared to violate its spirit as soon as it was signed; that he had made up his mind to disregard the paroles he took, and to refuse to protect  them; and that he was performing a part of hypocrisy, the meanest it is possible to conceive. A few weeks after the conference at Durham Station, this man had the astounding hardihood to testify as follows before a committee of the Congress at Washington: “It then occurred to me that I might write off some general propositions, meaning little, or meaning much, according to the construction of parties-what I would term ‘glittering generalities ’ --and send them to Washington, which I could do in four days. I therefore drew up the Memorandum (which has been published to the world) for the purpose of referring it to the proper Executive authority of the United States, and enabling him to define to me what I might promise, simply to cover the pride of the Southern men, who thereby became subordinate to the laws of the United States, civil and military. If any concessions were made in those general terms, they were made because I then believed, and now believe, they would have delivered into the hands of the United States the absolute control of every Confederate officer and soldier, all their muster-rolls, and all their arms. 1 never designed to shelter a human being from any Liability incurred in consequence of past acts to the civil tribunals of our country, and I do not believe a fair and manly interpretation of my terms can so construe them, for the words,” United States courts, “” United States authorities, “” limitations of executive power, “occur in every paragraph. And if they seemingly yield terms better than the public would desire to be given to the Southern people, if studied closely and well, it will be found that there is an absolute submission on their part to the Government of the United States, either through its executive, legislative, or judicial authorities.” It is almost impossible to find terms, within the decent vocabulary of history, to characterize the effrontery and self-complacency of this confession of a game of hypocrisy with a conquered honorable adversary, surrendering his arms with full faith in the promises of the conqueror But even this record of double-dealing was to be surpassed. The man who affected so much generosity at Durham Station, and signed the name of “W. T. Sherman, Major-General, &c.” to the Memorandum quoted above, took occasion, after the surrender of Lee and Johnston, to make the following speech at a soldiers' festival in the State of Ohio:--
When the rebels ventured their all in their efforts to destroy our Government, they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honours to their cause. The Government accepted their wager of battle. Hence, when we conquered, we, by conquest, gained all they had-their property became ours by conquest. Thus they lost their slaves, their mules, their horses, their cotton, their all; and even their lives and personal liberty, thrown by them into the issue, were theirs only by our forbearance and clemency. So, soldiers, when we marched through and conquered the country of the rebels, we became owners of all they had, and I don't want you to be troubled in your consciences for  taking, while on our great march, the property of conquered rebels. They forfeited their rights to it, and I, being agent for the Government to which I belonged, gave you authority to keep all the quartermasters couldn't take possession of or didn't want.Such an example of astounding inconsistency, such a record of unblushing hypocrisy no public man could stand against for a day, except in that peculiar community of the North, where demagogueism and time-service are fair games, and “the smart man” gets the plaudits of the multitude, no matter in what line of conduct he asserts his ingenuity. It may well be imagined that the truce of Durham Station was disregarded at Washington, and that no time was lost there in repudiating the propositions contained in Sherman's basis of agreement, which, in the extravagant language of that amateur diplomatist, was to restore “peace to the banks of the Rio Grande.” Of course, no plan could be entertained at Washington that substituted the simple idea of a restored Union for that of subjugation. The Federal Government, as is already apparent in these pages, was not likely to be satisfied with anything short of the abolition of slavery in the South, the extinction of the State governments, or their reduction to provisional establishments, and the programme of a general confiscation of property. Sherman was censured and denounced in a way that shook his factitious military reputation; and it was said to be the madness of generosity to abolish the confiscation laws, and relieve “rebels” from all pains and penalties for their crimes. It was at once telegraphed from Washington throughout the country, that Sherman's truce was disregarded, and that Grant would go to North Carolina to compel Johnston's surrender on the same terms as Gen. Lee had accepted. On this basis, the surrender was eventually made; but Gen. Grant was generous enough to forbear taking control of Sherman's army, contenting himself with prompting that commander to what the Washington Government had declared should be the text of the negotiations. In following the logical chain of consequences of Gen. Lee's surrender, we are led to notice how each section of the Confederate defences gave way with this event. We have already seen how the cordon of the Atlantic States fell with Johnston's surrender; and we shall now see how the system of Confederate defence fell in the Southwest; and how, in a little time thereafter, the department of the Trans-Mississippi was prostrated, completing the downfall of the Southern Confederacy.
Federal arms in 1865, a movement was prepared early in that year against the city of Mobile and the  interiour of Alabama. When Hood's ill-fated army was beaten and driven across the Tennessee River, the troops which Gen. Canby had sent to aid Thomas were returned, and, being heavily reinforced, prepared to undertake, with assured success, the capture of the city of Mobile — an enterprise which had not yet been ventured upon, unless very remotely, by any Federal army. The works of Mobile were very strong, and the supplies of food were abundant for a siege. The heavy ordnance was excellent and well disposed. But the garrison was few in number, and the supply of ammunition was small. Other important interests of the Confederacy would admit of no more troops, nor of more ammunition being placed in Mobile. A large Federal army was soon collected on the waters near Mobile, with a very great naval force and a fleet of transports adequate to all the requirements of so great an expedition. Early in March, the preparations for attack seemed complete. But the weather was bad and unfavourable to operations. On the 25th March, Gen. Canby commenced to move his forces to the attack. Two corps of infantry, respectively commanded by Gens. Granger and A. J. Smith, (the whole commanded by Canby in person) marched from their camp on and near Fish River, against the positions occupied by Gen Maury at Spanish Fort and Blakely. The same day, a corps of infantry, with a strong force of cavalry, moved, under command of Gen. Steele, from Pensacola towards Salem, via Pollard. The whole of Canby's forces now in motion may be estimated at near sixty thousand effectives, being three corps of infantry, and about six thousand cavalry. The whole artillery and infantry effective force holding Mobile, under Gen. Maury's command, numbered less than eight thousand. His cavalry numbered less than fifteen hundred, and were not available in the siege operations. On the 26th March, Canby appeared in heavy force before Spanish Fort, and commenced its siege. The same day, he threw a division as if against Fort Blakely, but did not yet take position for its siege. The position of Spanish Fort was about twelve miles from Mobile, on the eastern shore of Appalachie River, about two and a half miles above its mouth. The position was important as commanding the batteries, Huger and Tracey, which held the Appalachie River. The fortifications when the siege commenced, consisted of a battery on the water of six heavy guns and of three detached redoubts (open in the gorge) connected by a line of riflepits, with a line of abattis in front; the whole sweeping in a sort of semicircle, and resting both flanks on the river. The whole length of coast was about a mile and a half. Gen. Randall Gibson, of Louisiana, commanded the forces and conducted the defence of Spanish Fort. The garrison of Spanish Fort was made up of the veteran Louisiana brigade of Gibson,  (five hundred muskets), the veteran Alabama brigade, of Holtzclaw, (seven hundred muskets), and a brigade of Alabama boys under Brig.-Gen. Thomas, numbering about nine hundred effectives. There were besides, several companies of the Twenty-second Louisiana heavy artillery, and three companies of light artillery. Soon after the siege commenced, the brigade of boy-reserves was exchanged for Eaton's Texans and North Carolinians, which numbered only about five hundred muskets, and which made the whole infantry force about seventeen hundred muskets. The enemy pressed his siege energetically, but cautiously. The defence was vigourous, bold and defiant. The little garrison, when manning their works, as they did incessantly for sixteen days and nights, stood in single rank, and several feet apart. The experience of defence soon showed that many things were lacking; but the troops vigourously applied themselves to remedy the defects, and in a few nights had constructed traverses and bomb-proofs, and chevaux-de-frise and rifle-pits, which proved amply sufficient for all their subsequent requirements. By energetic digging, the enemy managed to advance to within one hundred yards of portions of the main line of defence. He continually increased his batteries. He finally opened at close range, with a great number of wooden mortars; and a] though, in the early part of the operations, the skill and energy of Slocum's and Massenberg's, and Potter's artillerists could always silence the enemy's guns, they were quite ineffective now, and towards the close, every gun of the Confederates was easily silenced. On the 8th April, Gen. Maury, after conference with Gen. Gibson, decided that the defence had been protracted long enough, and gave orders to commence that night to remove the surplus material, and stores, and men, so that by the night of the 11th, the whole force should be withdrawn. Early in the night of the 8th, the enemy made a forward movement on Gibson's left flank and established himself in such a position as would cut off further communications by the river with Mobile, and imperil the garrison. In pursuance of his general instructions, Gibson withdrew his garrison at once, and evacuated the position of Spanish Fort, necessarily leaving his guns and stores to the enemy. The garrison was immediately transferred to the city of Mobile, which, it was judged, would be soon attacked. Col. Patton transferred his headquarters to Battery Huger, upon which, and Tracey, would depend the defence of the Appalachie River. On the 31st March, Steele, who had marched with his corps from Pensacola, had dispersed the cavalry force, which, under Clauton, opposed his advance at Pine Barren Creek, and occupied Pollard; and now suddenly appeared before Blakely and commenced to besiege it. Gen. St. John Liddell, of Louisiana, commanded the forces at Blakely, which consisted of about 2,300 muskets, and three or four companies of  artillery — in all about 2,600 effectives. The ground was better for defence than at Spanish Fort. The works were better placed; and it was believed that the enemy would make but slow progress in its siege. The garrison consisted of the Missouri brigade, about four hundred and fifty muskets, under Gates; a Mississippi brigade, eight hundred muskets; the brigade of Alabama boy-reserves, under Thomas, nine hundred muskets; a regiment of Mississippi dismounted light artillerists armed with muskets, and several companies of artillery. Very little progress had been made in the siege of Blakely, when Spanish Fort was evacuated on the 8th April. During the following day, however, Canby was sending up his army from about Spanish Fort towards Blakely; and in the evening, at five o'clock, he made a grand assault with a column of twenty-five thousand infantry. After being repulsed on many parts of the line, he succeeded in overwhelming the little garrison, and capturing it with the position. Gen. Maury found his force now reduced to less than five thousand effective infantry and artillery; his ammunition almost exhausted; and the city of Mobile, with its population of more than thirty thousand non-combatants, exposed to the danger of assault and sack, by an army of more than fifty thousand men, ten thousand of whom were negroes. His instructions from his superiour officer were to save his garrison, and evacuate the city whenever he should find that judicious defence could no longer be made, and that an opportunity of withdrawing the garrison was still open to him. On the night of the fall of Blakely, he resolved to evacuate Mobile, and save his army. On the morning of the 10th, the operations of the evacuation commenced. Many steamers were in the port prepared for this contingency; upon them were hastily thrown such ordnance stores as remained fit for troops in the field, all of the light guns, and the best of the quartermaster's and commissary stores. The garrisons of the redoubts and batteries about the city were also embarked on these steamers, and sent up the Tombigbee river to Demopolis. The infantry forces accompanied the wagon train by the dirt road to Mendina or were sent up on the cars. The large depots of commissary stores were turned over to the mayor of Mobile, for the use of the people of the city. In the morning of the 12th April, the evacuation was completed. Gen. Maury, with his staff, and the rear-guard of three hundred Louisianians, under Col. Lindsay, moved out of the city at daylight. Gen. Gibson remained to see to the execution of the orders, relative to the drawing in of the cavalry force of Col. Spence, which was to burn the cotton in the city, and then cover the rear of the army. After having seen to the execution of every order, Gen. Gibson directed the Mayor of the city to go out to the fleet with a white flag, and apprise the Federal authorities that Mobile  had been entirely evacuated by the Confederate forces, and that no resistance would be offered to the enemy's entrance into the city. About two o'clock in the afternoon, Gen. Canby with his forces, marched into Mobile, and peaceably occupied it. The Federal navy took but little part in the operations. Two monitors were sunk by torpedoes in an attempt to cross Appalachie Bar, when the fleet desisted from further action. During the progress of the evacuation, the little isolated garrisons of Tracey and Huger, under Col. Patton's command, restrained and returned with great effect the heavy fire of the enemy's batteries on the eastern shore. Here was fired the last cannon for the Confederacy in the war. Whilst the operations against Mobile were in progress, a heavy movement of Federal cavalry was completing the plan of subjugation in the Southwest. An expedition, consisting of twelve thousand five hundred men, was placed under command of Gen. Wilson, who had been detailed from Thomas' army, and directed to make a demonstration, from Eastport, at the head of steamboat navigation on the Tennessee River upon Tuscaloosa and Selma, in favour of Canby's operations against Mobile and Central Alabama. On the 22d March, all the arrangements having been perfected, and the order of march designated, the movement began. At this time Gen. Forrest's forces were near West Point, Mississippi, one hundred and fifty miles southwest of Eastport, while Gen. Roddy occupied Montevallo, on the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad, nearly the same distance to the southeast. By starting on diverging roads, Wilson expected tho leave the Confederates in doubt as to his real object, and compel their small bodies of cavalry to watch equally Columbus, Tuscaloosa and Selma. The enemy in full strength approached Selma on the 2d April. Gen. Forrest, after an affair with his advance near Ebenezer Church, had fallen back to Selma. He had developed Wilson's force, and knew that he would not be able to save the city with the limited force under his command; but he determined to discharge what he considered to be his duty, and to make the best fight he could under the circumstances. The line of works was about four miles long. It was held by not more than three thousand men in all; fully one-half of whom were undrilled, untrained militia, with old-fashioned muskets in their hands, and so strung out over the ground they had to defend, that they were from five to ten feet apart. Skirmishing commenced in front of the works about noon. About four or five o'clock; a charge was made against that part of the line near the point where the Selma and Meridian Railroad crossed the works, and which was held by a Kentucky brigade, under the command of Gen. Buford. After an obstinate fight, the position was carried; the enemy came into possession of one of the most important depots in the southwest; and having occupied  Selma, destroyed the arsenals, foundries, arms, stores and military munitions of every kind. Gen. Forrest escaped with a portion of his command. Having captured Selma, and communicated with Gen. Canby, Wilson determined to move by the way of Montgomery into Georgia, and after breaking up railroads, and destroying stores and army supplies, in that State, to march thence as rapidly as possible to the theatre of operations in North Carolina and Virginia. On the 12th April, his advance guard reached Montgomery and received the surrender of the city. Thence a force marched direct on Columbus, and another on West Point. Both of these places were assaulted and captured on the 16th; but at West Point, there was an episode of desperate Confederate valour in the dreary story of a country overrun almost without resistance. Gen. R. C. Tyler, with an obstinate heroism, unsurpassed during the war, determined to hold West Point, with less than three hundred men. He believed the maintenance of his post, and the delay of the opposing forces from crossing the Chattahoochie at that point, an essential aid to the defence of Columbus; and although his garrison was a feeble one, improvised, for the most part, from the citizens, he did not hesitate a moment in what he regarded the duty of a soldier, to hold his post at whatever sacrifice, to the last extremity. It was a hopeless defence, except for the purposes of delaying the enemy; and it was protracted until the brave and devoted commander had fallen dead with his sword in his hand. This memorable defence of West Point was made in a small work--Fort Tyler--about half a mile from the centre of the town. Firing continuously with large cannon and rifles, the enemy slowly and cautiously approached the gallant little band of heroes until within about twenty steps of them. Then, with loud yells, they attempted to scale the works, but were repulsed and held at bay until all the ammunition in the fort had been exhausted; and then, when the Federals were in the ditch around the fort, the brave and gallant men inside of it, hurled stones, and even their unbayonetted guns, upon them. The Confederate flag was never hauled down, until by the Federals, nor any white flag hoisted until the enemy had leaped the parapet. In referring to the affair of West Point, a Southern newspaper that yet dared to speak its mind, said: “A more gallant instance of devotion has never been known since the time of Charles, King of Sweden, when he, with his body-guard and a few house servants, in the heart of the enemy's country, defended himself against an entire army of Turks, until his place of retreat was burned to the ground by lighted arrows from the assaulting party.” On the 21st, Wilson, having united his forces, approached Macon, which was defended by Gen. Howell Cobb, with a small force, mostly  militia. Within thirteen miles of the town, he was met by a flag of truce bearing the following communication:
This notice led to a correspondence, not necessary to be included here, and was ultimately followed by the final capitulation of the Confederate forces east of the Chattahoochie. The destruction of iron-works, foundries, arsenals, supplies, ammunition, and provisions in Alabama and Georgia was irreparable; the Confederacy east of the Mississippi was evidently in a state of collapse; and — the news of Johnston's surrender having traversed the country-Gen. Dick Taylor, on the 4th May, surrendered to Gen. Canby “the forces, munitions of war, etc., in the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana.” The terms of surrender were essentially the same as those accorded to Lee and Johnston: officers and men to be paroled until duly exchanged or otherwise released by the United States; officers to give their individual paroles; commanders of regiments and companies to sign paroles for their men; arms and munitions to be given up to the United States; officers and men to be allowed to return to their homes, and not to be molested so long as they kept their paroles and obeyed the laws where they resided, but persons resident in Northern States not to return without permission; officers to be allowed to retain their side-arms, private horses, and baggage; horses, the private property of enlisted men, not to be taken from them, but they be allowed  to retain them for private purposes only. Thus, in the first days of May, all of the Confederate forces east of the Mississippi River had been surrendered.