By William H. Benson

Civil War ends


Abraham Lincoln recited the President’s oath of office on the Capitol’s steps at his second inauguration on Saturday, March 4, 1865. After four years of a ghastly series of bloody battles, the deaths of 620,000 men, and the dismemberment of thousands of others, the Civil War was winding down. Lincoln hoped that the Confederate States would surrender in the coming weeks. By that day, Grant’s army had encircled Lee’s army, the Confederacy’s resources were limited, and its soldiers’ willpower to fight was exhausted.

To the crowd, Lincoln said, “ Fondly do we hope, fervently do we...

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