On April 9, 2015 the New Bern Historical Society joined the National Park Service taking part in “Bells Across the Land”, an initiative by the National Park Service to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. In conjunction with a major event at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, the National Park Service and its partners invited communities across the nation to join in the commemoration. Bells were rung at Appomattox at 3:00 p.m.on April 9 coinciding with the moment the meeting between Grant and Lee ended. At 3:15 p.m. churches, temples, schools, city halls, public buildings, and historic sites all across the country rang bells. At the New Bern Historical Society’s Attmore-Oliver House, members joined the commemoration of bell ringing for four minutes representing the four years of the Civil War.
Although there were later negotiated surrenders, the one at Appomattox Courthouse is often said to be the “beginning of the end” for the Confederacy and is the date most often commemorated as the end of the war. The Army of Tennessee surrendered on April 26, 1865, soon followed by the Departments of Alabama, east Louisiana and Mississippi. The Department of Trans-Mississippi surrendered on May 26, 1865 in New Orleans, and the last battle between Union and Confederates troops took place in Palmarito, Texas from May 11-12, 1865. Leaders of the American Indian nations negotiated their own surrenders to the Union. Chief Stand Watie was the last Confederate General to surrender with his First Indian Brigade on June 23, 1865.
Submitted by: Kathy Morrison, New Bern Historical Society