ABOUT THIS BOOK
“Original and revelatory.”
—David Blight, author of Frederick Douglass
Avery O. Craven Award Finalist
A Civil War Memory/Civil War Monitor Best Book of the Year
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 outposts across the defeated South. This groundbreaking history shows that the purpose of the occupation was to crush slavery in the face of fierce and violent resistance, but there were limits to its effectiveness: the occupying army never really managed to remake the South.
“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.”
“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.”