May 26, 1865: Kirby Smith Surrenders

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The last major Confederate force to surrender, General Edmund Kirby Smith, the commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, signed the articles of surrender on May 26, 1865 in Galveston, Texas.  Consisting of Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana, the Trans-Mississippi had been cut off from the rest of the Confederacy since the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson in mid 1863.  Smith then conducted the War in his sprawling Department on his own initiative, his command becoming known in the rest of the Confederacy as “Kirby Smithdom”.

After the surrender Smith, fearing charges of treason fled to Mexico and Cuba.  Smith returned to the country in November 1865.  He eventually became a noted botanist of all things, part of his specimen collection being donated after his death to the University of North Carolina, Harvard and the Smithsonian.  When he died in 1893 he was the last surviving full general of the Confederacy.

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