*Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Though hostilities had officially ceased more than a year before with the surrender of the last Confederate Army, no declaration of reunification had occurred for the United States of America after the Civil War. President Andrew Johnson, of North Carolina, offered up Proclamation 157 – “Declaring that Peace, Order, Tranquillity [sic], and Civil Authority Now Exists in and Throughout the Whole of the United States of America” – on August 20, 1866. The bloodiest conflict in America’s history was now officially over.
The Civil War had begun more than five years before, when Confederate soldiers fired on Union Fort Sumter in South Carolina on April 12th. President Abraham Lincoln, acutely aware that the disagreement over slavery and its consequences would no longer be settled through legislative means, called for 75,000 volunteers to aid the Union cause. Soon after, battles pitting brother against brother would define the future of the 85-year-old country.
Initially, the Confederacy gained the upper hand, stringing victories together for the better part of six months with comparatively few defeats and nearing the capital of Washington, DC. …(Read more)