May 1865 saw the final moments of the American Civil War even if the Confederacy had surrendered in April. Jefferson Davis had yet to hand himself in and a hefty reward was put up for him. A few groups of Confederates had yet to surrender and lay down their weapons but for the first time since April 1861 most of the American people could think in terms of peace.
A military commission made up of eight army officers was established by President Johnson to try the people arrested over Lincoln’s assassination.
President Lincoln was buried in Springfield, Illinois.
42,000 Confederate troops surrendered at Citronelle, Alabama. This was the remaining force for Alabama, Mississippi and eastern Louisiana.
Davis disbanded the large retinue of troops protecting him and chose to travel in a much smaller group. Those soldiers who had been protecting Davis were told to go home.
President Johnson declared that resistance “may be regarded as virtually at an end."
Those accused of being involved in the assassination of Lincoln were put on trial. All pleaded not guilty. However, the mood of the people was barely forgiving and this was resonated by those in charge of the military commission. Mercy was not expected. Even the lady, Mary Surratt, who owned the boarding house where John Wilkes Booth stayed, was on trial for her life. All eight arrested were found guilty and four, including Surratt, were sentenced to death. These four were hanged on July 7th – despite many calls for clemency for Surratt. The other four received prison sentences; one died in prison but by 1869 the other three had all been pardoned.
Johnson announced that all trade restrictions with Southern ports would be lifted from July 1st, with the exception of Galveston, La Salle, Brazos Santiago and Brownsville.
The Army of the Potomac paraded through the streets of Washington DC.
Johnson ordered the release of many of those held as prisoners of war.
Johnson issued a general amnesty for those who had fought against the North. All property was restored except for slave ownership. However, there were exceptions. Senior political and military figures had to personally apply for a pardon, as did those who had left a military or judicial position in the North to join the Confederate Army. However, Johnson was generous in this and by the end of 1865, he had granted 13,000 pardons.