Within two months of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House on 9 April 1865, the Confederacy had collapsed, and its armed forces had ceased to exist. In the spring of 1865, the U.S. Army faced the unprecedented task of occupying eleven conquered Southern states and administering "Reconstruction" -- the process by which the former rebellious states would be restored to the Union. But a rapid demobilization of the Army placed the remaining occupation troops at a disadvantage almost from the start. Mark Bradley traces the Army's law enforcement, stability, and peacekeeping roles in the South from May 1865 to the end of Reconstruction in 1877, marking a unique period in American history. During that time, the Southern states remained under military occupation, and for several years, they were also ruled by military government. Veteran Army commanders such as Philip H. Sheridan, John M. Schofield, Daniel E. Sickles, Edward R. S. Canby, and Winfield S. Hancock may have found the work of Reconstruction less dangerous than fighting the Civil War had been, but they also found it no less challenging.