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While Lee’s surrender at Appomattox did not end the war, it was the first in a series of capitulations that would start the ongoing debate over the war’s purpose and meaning. James K. Hogue’s chapter first looks at the end of the war, the process of surrendering Confederate armies over several months in 1865. He considers the myriad interpretations of why the North eventually triumphed militarily, covering a variety of military, political, economic, social, and cultural explanations for the war’s course and outcome. This chapter also discusses the long process of Reconstruction, particularly the army’s difficult position in maintaining order in the South’s suddenly transformed social landscape. Finally, he closes with a look at the effects of the Civil War on West Point, as the war shifted the Academy to a more prominent and influential position in American public life.
This chapter includes:
- Interactive elements that discuss the development, equipment, and use of cavalry during the Civil War;
- Animated maps showing the progress of Confederate surrender in 1865 and the advance of Union armies over the course of the war;
- Interactive illustrations looking at Civil War medicine, interpretations of the war’s meaning—both contemporary and in memorialization—and the development of the Medal of Honor;
- Data visualization tools looking at the war’s casualties and the contested presidential election of 1876;
- Various additional images that illustrate the many political and social struggles taking place in the South and across the nation during the contentious period of Reconstruction; and
- Biographies of key leaders such as Andrew Johnson, Montgomery Meigs, and Lewis Merrill.