On this day in 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to the United States General-in-Chief Ulysses S. Grant.

“It would be useless and therefore cruel,” Robert E. Lee remarked on the morning of April 9, 1865, “to provoke the further effusion of blood, and I have arranged to meet with General Grant with a view to surrender.”

Less than a week later, Abraham Lincoln would be assassinated — one more casualty in a war that claimed over half a million lives. Over the next several weeks, other Confederate forces surrendered, and CSA President Jefferson Davis was captured, bringing the United States Civil War to its conclusion.

As the war ended, the hard work of the Reconstruction Era began. In many ways, it still continues today.

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