39. Freedom Belatedly Reaches Texas
Of the slave states, none was as remote as Texas. So during the Civil War, many planters and other slaveholders from the rest of the Confederacy migrated to Texas to flee the fighting, and brought their black bondsmen with them. As a result, Texas’ slave population exploded during the war, and by the time the conflict ended, the Lone Star State had over a quarter million slaves.
News of the surrender at Appomattox, April 9th, 1865, did not reach Texas until the end of April, and the Confederacy’s Army of the Trans-Mississippi, within whose area of operations Texas lay, did not surrender until June 2nd. It was not until June 18th that US General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston Island with 2000 Union troops to occupy Texas. Until then, many of the state’s black population did not know that they were free. The following day, June 19th, Granger read aloud a general order, announcing the total emancipation of black Texans.