Civil War Mini-DBQ


Historical Background

In April of 1865, the four-year Civil War was finally over. Of the three million men who fought, over 650,000 were killed. The Confederacy had been totally destroyed by General Sherman’s march to the sea. The task of the victorious Union leaders was to deal with those they had defeated.



Using evidence from all three documents, answer this question:

What did the Union plan to do with the
Confederates after the war was over?



What do you already know? Jot down some notes before you read the documents.



Union General Horace Porter described the scene after Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865

At a little before 4 o'clock General Lee shook hands with General Grant, bowed to the other officers, and with Colonel Marshall left the room. One after another we followed, and passed out to the porch. Lee signaled to his orderly to bring up his horse, and while the animal was being bridled the general stood on the lowest step and gazed sadly in the direction of the valley beyond where his army lay - now an army of prisoners. He [struck] his hands together a number of times in an absent sort of way; seemed not to see the group of Union officers in the yard who rose respectfully at his approach, and appeared unconscious of everything about him. All appreciated the sadness that overwhelmed him, and he had the personal sympathy of every one who beheld him at this supreme moment of trial. The approach of his horse seemed to recall him from his [contemplation], and he at once mounted. General Grant now stepped down from the porch, and, moving toward him, saluted him by raising his hat. He was followed in this act of courtesy by all our officers present; Lee raised his hat respectfully, and rode off to break the sad news to the brave fellows whom he had so long commanded.



  1. Describe Lee’s behavior after he has surrendered to Grant.




  2. Describe the Union officers’ behavior towards Lee.




From James McPherson’s Battle Cry Of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Oxford University Press, New York, NY. 1988

To help bring those former rebels back in the Union, Grant sent three days' rations for 25,000 men across the lines. This perhaps did something to ease the psychological as well as physical pain of Lee's soldiers.

…The Union officer in charge of the surrender ceremony was Joshua L. Chamberlain, the fighting professor…who won a medal of honor for Little Round Top, had been twice wounded since then, and was now a major general. Leading the southerners …was John B. Gordon…behind him was the Stonewall Brigade, five regiments containing 210 ragged survivors of four years of war. As Gordon approached at the head of these men with "his chin drooped to his breast, downhearted and dejected in appearance," Chamberlain gave a brief order, and a bugle call rang out. Instantly the Union soldiers shifted from order arms to carry arms, the salute of honor. Hearing the sound General Gordon looked up in surprise, and with sudden realization turned smartly to Chamberlain, dipped his sword in salute, and ordered his own men to carry arms. These enemies in many a bloody battle ended the war not with the shame on one side and exultation on the other but with a soldier's "mutual salutation and farewell."


  1. What did Grant do for the Confederate Army?




  2. What did Chamberlain do as Gordon approached?




  3. What did Gordon do in response?




From Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

Washington, D.C., March 4, 1865

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right…let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

  1. What is Lincoln’s attitude towards the Confederacy?




  2. What are Lincoln’s goals?




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