After Appomattox (Paperback)

Military Occupation and the Ends of War

By Gregory P. Downs

Harvard University Press, 9780674241626, 352pp.

Publication Date: August 13, 2019

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (4/9/2015)

List Price: 18.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A Civil War Memory/Civil War Monitor Best Book of the Year
An Avery O. Craven Award Finalist
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title

In April 1865, Robert E. Lee wrote to Ulysses S. Grant asking for peace. Peace was beyond his authority to negotiate, Grant replied, but surrender terms he would discuss. The distinction proved prophetic.

After Appomattox reveals that the Civil War did not end with Confederate capitulation in 1865. Instead, a second phase of the war began which lasted until 1871--not the project euphemistically called Reconstruction, but a state of genuine belligerence whose mission was to shape the peace. Using its war powers, the U.S. Army oversaw an ambitious occupation, stationing tens of thousands of troops in hundreds of outposts across the defeated South. This groundbreaking study makes clear that the purpose of the occupation was to crush slavery and offer meaningful rights to newly emancipated slaves in the face of bold and violent resistance.

"The United States Army has been far too neglected as a player--a force--in the history of Reconstruction... Downs wants his work to speak to the present, and indeed it should."
--David W. Blight, The Atlantic

"Striking... Downs chronicles...a military occupation that was indispensable to the uprooting of slavery."
--Boston Globe

"Downs makes the case that the final end to slavery, and the establishment of basic civil and voting rights for all Americans, was 'born in the face of bayonets.' ...A remarkable, necessary book."