April 9 - 1865 - The Battle of Appomattox Courthouse
The Battle of Appomattox Courthouse was not, all things considered, one of the great battles in history, but it was one of the most significant, as after a morning skirmish, Confederate General Robert E. Lee realized he had to surrender to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. Lee and his men had been on the run for about a week, after giving up Richmond to Grant's troops on April 2. Lee was trying to move around the Union forces in Virginia and meet up with his fellow Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina. Instead, Union troops shadowed the Confederate movements and forced them to engage at the small crossroads of Appomattox Courthouse. After one small push by the vanguard of the Confederate Army, Lee told Grant he would surrender. Grant offered a rather generous surrender, giving out rations to Lee's troops and agreeing that no one, from Lee to the lowest private, would be prosecuted for treason, although that is what every Confederate was engaged in. Lee was the first major Confederate commander to surrender his troops, but once Lee had done so, most others followed suit.