History : Apr-May 2015
TOMLOVELL/BRIDGEMAN/INDEX THE LAST WEEKS OF THE CIVILWAR On April 2, 1865, the strategic city of Petersburg fell to a Union assault. Just seven days later General Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia, and within weeks official resistance ended. It was a dramatic collapse of the Confederate dream. T he world had never before seen a war of the magnitude of the conflict fought in North America between 1861 and 1865. People were shocked both by the enormous loss of life— perhaps as many as 700,000 deaths—and the huge financial cost. The Union is estimated to have spent at least $2.3 billion waging the war at a time when its annual income was only around $50 million, while the Confederate government imposed taxes that seemed intolerably high, even to Europeans wearied by decades of heavy war expenditure. People and governments were willing to make such sacrifices because vital issues were at stake: nationhood, democracy, and slavery. The Union, with its vast industrial and financial capacity, as well as its larger population, seemed to hold all the advantages. Yet it took four long years of bitter and bloody fighting before the Confederacy was finally defeated.