Today is the 147th anniversary of the largest surrender of Confederate forces during the Civil War.
On April 9, 1865, Robert E Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to U.S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. By that time the Army of Northern Virgina had shrunk to about 20,000 soldiers.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, another Confederate army under the command of General Joseph E. Johnson, confronted the forces of General William Tecumseh Sherman.
Following Lee's surrender, Johnson opened discussions with Sherman, leading to the signing of the final papers of surrender on April 26, 1865. The terms were the same as those accepted by Lee and disbanded all Confederate forces in North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, a total of 89,270 soldiers. Sherman's generous handling of the Confederate soldiers led Johnson to write him that it "reconciles me to what I have previously regarded as the misfortune of my life, that of having to encounter you on the field".
With this surrender, the only remaining effective organized Confederate forces were in Texas and Louisiana and these surrendered later in May.
After the war, Sherman served as Commanding General of the Army from 1869 to 1883, succeeding Grant in that role. Johnson went into business, served as a one-term Congressman and received an appointment as Commissioner of Railroads from President Grover Cleveland.
Sherman and Johnson became friends, corresponding regularly. In February 1891, Sherman died and Johnson, then 84 years old, was an honorary pallbearer at his funeral which took place in New York City in cold, rainy weather. Johnson caught a cold which developed into pneumonia and he died several weeks later.