At the start of the year, only a small portion of Virginia remained under Confederate control. On January 31, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery. Four days later, Union and Confederate leaders met at Hampton Roads, Virginia, to discuss possible terms for reconciliation. The negotiations failed.
After two more months of fighting, the war finally came to an end in a rapid series of dramatic events on Virginia soil. A decisive Union victory on April 1 at the Battle of Five Forks meant that the Confederate capital could no longer be defended. Lee’s army retreated west and on April 2, the Confederate government likewise fled. Departing forces set fire to strategic buildings and bridges and much of Richmond burned. On April 9, Lee surrendered in Appomattox Court House. The next day, Jefferson Davis fled the temporary haven of Danville for North Carolina.
The war had already ended for Charlottesville: following Jubal Early’s defeat at the Battle of Waynesboro on March 2, and fearing pillaging by advancing Union troops, town and university officials surrendered to Union generals Philip Sheridan and George Custer on March 3, 1865.