2 June 1865: America Civil War officially ended (and more)

150 years ago today, the American Civil War officially ended.

From History:

In an event that is generally regarded as marking the end of the Civil War, Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of Confederate forces west of the Mississippi, signs the surrender terms offered by Union negotiators. With Smith’s surrender, the last Confederate army ceased to exist, bringing a formal end to the bloodiest four years in U.S. history.

The American Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate shore batteries under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort, and on April 13 U.S. Major Robert Anderson, commander of the Union garrison, surrendered. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to help quell the Southern “insurrection.” Four long years later, the Confederacy was defeated at the total cost of 620,000 Union and Confederate dead.

George Satayana wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

I sometimes wonder if we are not headed in this direction again. So many people are so very ignorant of history … and what’s going on around them today!

Also, from History and also on this day in 1774:

Parliament completes the Coercive Acts with the Quartering Act

On this day in 1774, the British Parliament renews the Quartering Act, allowing Redcoats to stay in private American homes if necessary. The Quartering Act, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Government Act, the Administration of Justice Act and the Boston Port Act, were known as the Coercive Acts.

News of 342 chests of tea dumped into Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773, in what was dubbed the Boston Tea Party, reached Britain in January 1774. Disgusted by the colonists’ action against private property, the British Parliament quickly decided upon the Coercive Acts as a means of reasserting British control over the colonies and punishing Boston.

As of May 20, 1774, the Massachusetts Government Act curtailed democracy in Massachusetts by altering the colonial charter of 1691 to reduce the power of elective officials and to increase that of the royal governor. [I refer the readers to debate about federal influence/interference over local law enforcement agencies.] On the same day, the passing of the Administration of Justice Act ensured that royal officials charged with capital crimes would not be tried in the colonies, but in Britain. On June 1, 1774, the Boston Port Act demanded payment for the destroyed tea before the port could reopen for any imports but food.

On June 2, 1774, Parliament completed its punishment by expanding the Quartering Act to allow soldiers to board in occupied private homes. In its original incarnation, the Quartering Act of 1765 had merely demanded that colonists provide barracks for British soldiers. In Boston, those barracks were on an isolated island in Boston Harbor. In 1766, the act expanded to include the housing of soldiers in public houses (hotels) and empty buildings. With Boston in an uproar, the British now demanded the ability to house the military among civilians, if necessary, to maintain order.

In the evening I will something watch a movie or an episode of some TV series or other.  Right now I am slowly working my way through the Netflix series Revolution.  It is, in many respects, absurd because of plot gaps etc. (Just how many times can people be shot or beaten over the head with a pipe? Why don’t men ever have to shave and they remain relatively clean-shaven?  Why do they seem to have a never-ending supply of whiskey 15 years after the obliteration of power and the collapse of society?  Why is everything so damn dirty?  Doesn’t anyone clean anything?)  In any event, there are some points that are common to “prepper” lit, the dystopian TEOTWAWKI scenarios that inevitably involve bad government actors swooping on the defenseless.

Still… Satayana was on to something.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Geoffrey says:

    I watched “Revolution” when it was originally airing on NBC. I was saddened when it was cancelled, even though I asked myself asking many of the same questions!

  2. Theodore says:

    Good Father,

    In my opinion Revolution was a poorly executed version of SM Stirling’s Emberverse series of books.


    The Church comes out pretty good in this series.

    As to the Civil War a fellow in Seattle did a day by day analysis of the Civil War in blog style which is excellent. As a prolific blogger yourself I am sure you would appreciate his efforts.


  3. Uxixu says:

    I’m about convinced the last chance to avoid bloodshed is an Article V convention to reign in the Federal behemoth and restore Federalism.

    I pray the Blessed Mother leads our prelates and nominally Catholic politicians away from heresy and error and reinforces orthodox bishops in the spreading of the traditional Latin Mass, as well as guides the Ordinary Form back to its roots, including Latin Propers & Roman Canon with the suppression of the other Eucharistic Prayers.

  4. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If civilization collapses, we go back to using pot stills to “store” corn and rye in distilled form, so that it’s easier to ship and trade. Earthenware jugs, probably, instead of bottles; but yeah, I guess you could keep washing old bottles out, maybe give people trade-in. And glass mostly is made from sand, so somebody could make new bottles too.

  5. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Thank you! I was just wondering again, ‘When exactly did it end?’, without trying to look up the answer, yet.

    And thank you, Theodore – that daily gazette looks interesting (and in all these years I had never heard of it)!

    A striking difference between the American War of Independence and the American Civil War was the extent to which the second was regionally defined in a way the first was not.

  6. cdet1997 says:

    Seems like a good thread to post this pic of the status of Fr. William Corby, chaplain of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 2nd Corps. The statue depicts Fr. Corby giving absolution to the Army of the Potomac’s Irish Brigade shortly before the Battle of Gettysburg. Fr. Corby would eventually be the president of Notre Dame after the war. This statue has a replica on the Notre Dame campus.

    Fr. Corby

    And as a “Just So Cool!” bonus, he’s wearing spurs on his boots. A priest in spurs. What’s cooler than a priest in spurs?

  7. mezzodiva54 says:

    I watched 2 or 3 episodes of Revolution and decided it was completely inane — why on earth should civilization grind to a screeching halt simply because we no longer had electricity or computers (or cars)??? It’s as if the previous thousands of years of mankind’s existence on earth never happened and we reverted immediately back to the stone age. A moronic GenX nightmare.

  8. mezzodiva54 says: why on earth should civilization grind to a screeching halt

    I think you’re assessment is overly optimistic, when it comes to human nature. For one thing, consider that people have about 3 days of food and there would be no clean water. Soon the lack of water, food, meds and law enforcement would bring about a hellish situation, to say the least.

    Also, in the TV show, they didn’t revert to the “stone age”.

    You might want to try a couple books, including One Second After by William Fortschen or Lights Out by David Crawford. These concern an EMP attack, which would be analogous to the initial scenario of the TV show.

    The TV show inane for lots of reasons, but not those you mentioned. As a matter of fact, I have gotten to the point where they are attacking religious belief. In the first season there were a couple nasty anti-Catholic cracks. There are plenty of visual subtext cues in the series, too… you should, for example, hate Republicans and “patriots” and people who are religiously motivated are inferior to those of a purely “scientific” bent, etc.

  9. mibethda says:

    Arguably, the “official” date for the ending of the Civil War was that of the latter of President Johnson’s two declarations of the end of the war – August 20, 1866 , when he declared the end of hostilities in Texas (the earlier Declaration, on April 2, 1866 declared the end in the other states of the Confederacy). The last military action by a legally constituted entity of the Confederacy was probably that on June 28, 1865 when the Shenandoah took the last of its prizes among the U.S whaling fleet in the northern Pacific. The Shenandoah did not strike its flag until August 2, and the vessel was not surrendered to the British in Liverpool until November 6,1865.

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