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Petersburg to AppomattoxThe End of the War in Virginia$
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Caroline E. Janney

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640761

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640761.001.0001

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The Last Hour of the Slaveholders’ Rebellion

The Last Hour of the Slaveholders’ Rebellion

African American Discourse on Lee’s Surrender

Chapter:
(p.254) 9 The Last Hour of the Slaveholders’ Rebellion
Source:
Petersburg to Appomattox
Author(s):

Elizabeth R. Varon

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640761.003.0010

The essay elucidates how that belief took shape in the moment of Union victory, and the myriad ways it found expression in the postwar era. Varon demonstrates that the enshrinement of Appomattox as a “freedom day” rested on three interconnected claims: that the Union army’s victory over Lee dramatized the manly heroism and agency of African American soldiers; that the surrender brought many slaves their first consciousness and experience of liberation; and that the magnanimous terms of surrender which Grant offered Lee symbolized the promise of racial reconciliation between whites and blacks. Lee’s surrender figured as a prominent symbol in the bitter and protracted debates over race, reconstruction and reunion.

Keywords:   United States Colored Troops, Appomattox Campaign, Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, Civil War Memory

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