Virginia Civil War 150
Conference     2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

"Causes Won and Lost: The End of the Civil War"

University of Virginia
Old Cabell Hall
Charlottesville, VA 22904
Saturday, April 18, 2015

Gary W. Gallagher and Elizabeth R. Varon
Conference Chairs


2015 Signature Conference

2015 Signature Conference
"Causes Won and Lost: The End of the Civil War"

Gary W. Gallagher and Elizabeth R. Varon
Conference Chairs

$19.95 + S/H

To order: Please visit to purchase the print publication or two-DVD set from the 2015 Signature Conference, "Causes Won and Lost: The End of the Civil War."

Appomattox Court HouseThe capstone event in the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commission’s Signature Conference series brought together leading historians to discuss the Civil War’s dramatic closing scenes, its turbulent aftermath, and its long-term legacy in American life.  

Panel I: Surrenders and the Assassination

Panelists: Elizabeth Varon, Harold Holzer, Elizabeth Leonard, and Gary Gallagher

Panelists surveyed the surrenders of the Confederate armies, took up the controversial issues of why the Confederacy succumbed and the Union triumphed, and assessed how Lincoln’s presidency and his assassination shaped the peace.  

Panel II: The Lost Cause

Panelists: Gary Gallagher, Ed Ayers, John Coski, and Caroline Janney

Discussions traced the origins of the pro-Confederate “Lost Cause” understanding of the war, examining its reverberations in postwar politics and its potent role in shaping popular memory. 

Panel III: The Union Cause

Panelists: Gary Gallagher, Matthew Gallman, John Neff, and Joan Waugh

Panelists explored the countervailing understandings of the Union Cause, which represented the dominant meaning of the war among Northern soldiers and civilians, and addressed the postwar efforts of Northerners to enshrine their vision of a righteous Union in American politics and culture.

Panel IV: African American Memory

Panelists: Elizabeth Varon, Barbara Gannon, W. Fitzhugh Brundage, and Thavolia Glymph

The final panel considered African American interpretations and memory of the war, elucidating the experiences of emancipated slaves, of U.S.C.T. soldiers, and of prominent political leaders such as Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. Du Bois. 

This wide-ranging conference, which was televised nationally, served as an occasion for scholars and the public to join in reflecting on what we have learned collectively during the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

2015 Signature Conference Speakers

Edward L. Ayers
University of Richmond

W. Fitzhugh Brundage
UNC-Chapel Hill

John M. Coski
Museum of the Confederacy

J. Matthew Gallman
University of Florida

Barbara A. Gannon
University of Central Florida

Gary W. Gallagher
University of Virginia

Thavolia Glymph
Duke University

Harold Holzer
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Caroline E. Janney
Purdue University

Elizabeth D. Leonard
Colby College

John R. Neff
University of Mississippi

Elizabeth R. Varon
University of Virginia

Joan Waugh


Virginia Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the American Civil War
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