Thursday, October 4, 2018
Join Dr. Greg Downs, Professor of History at University of California, Davis at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum for a discussion about his book: The Civil War after Appomattox: Military Occupation, Emancipation, and the Reconstruction of the Confederacy.
Although Americans generally think the Civil War ended with Robert E. Lee’s surrender Appomattox Court House in April 1865, in fact the U.S. Army continued its work in the rebel states for five more years, in a state of ongoing wartime. In more than 750 posts scattered across the U.S. South, officers and soldiers occupied the U.S. South, confronting continuing rebelliousness from white Southern insurgents determined to save slavery. Learning from the freedpeople who ran to U.S. lines, soldiers developed a sense that slavery could not end simply by proclamation but required an ongoing forceful presence. In the process soldiers also confronted the beginnings of the counter-revolution that aimed to end emancipation. By thinking of Reconstruction as both the occupation of the South and as an extension of the Civil War, we can see the military’s central role in what transpired as well as the extraordinary obstacles they and the 4 million former slaves encountered.