Bourbon at the Largest Surrender of the Civil War
On today's date in 1865, Confederate General Joseph Johnston surrendered 89,270 rebel soldiers to General William Tecumseh Sherman near Durham, North Carolina. It was the largest surrender of the Civil War and took place more than two weeks after Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House.
While drafting the terms of surrender, General Sherman retrieved a bottle of bourbon from his saddlebag and shared it with Generals Johnston and John Breckinridge of Kentucky. Before signing the documents, however, General Sherman absented himself, poured another drink, and returned the bottle to his saddlebag without offering a second dram to either Confederate. “Did you see him take that drink by himself?” lamented Breckinridge. “No Kentucky gentleman would have acted that way.”