Surrender Oak Festival
THE SURRENDER OAK FESTIVAL
Citronelle, Alabama plays host to the Surrender Oak Festival each year on the first Saturday in May. The last surrender of the Confederate Army, east of the Mississippi River, occurred in Citronelle on May 4, 1865.
The closing scenes of that awful bloody drama, the Civil War, were witnessed in this vicinity. Lee and Johnson had surrendered; Mobile had been occupied by Union forces after the Battle of Mobile Bay, and but one organized body of Confederates that could be called an army, remained in the field. This last army of close to 9,000 Confederate soldiers was surrendered on the 4th of May, 1865 by its Commander, General Richard (Dick) Taylor, to the U.S. Army General, E.R.S. Canby under a large white oak tree in Citronelle.
The original “Surrender Oak” was blown down in the hurricane of 1906. From it was made numerous walking canes, gavels, and other items as souvenirs; most of which have long since disappeared, with the exception of several which were sent to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC and the few we have on display at the Citronelle Depot Museum.
A memorial marker was placed at this spot by the Historical Mobile Preservation Society on May 4, 1965 to commemorate 100 years. The City of Citronelle planted a young live oak tree in the approximate location of the Surrender Oak in 2012.
The Surrender Oak Festival is always held on the first Saturday in May of each year.