Collapse of the Confederacy
Ruins of Charleston.
The South had been destroyed. Major cities like Richmond and Charleston lay in ruins. Fields and harvests had been slashed and burned. Wounded soldiers returned to their homes, and some soldiers never returned at all. The Confederacy had collapsed.
After the surrender of Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1865, the Confederacy was all but finished. The Confederate government had fled Richmond and tried to still operate, but they no longer had a large enough army to fight. Jefferson Davis was caught in Georgia on May 10th and was arrested. The remaining smaller armies soon surrendered, and the war was over.
People in the South had no money. Confederate money, issued during the war and backed by the Confederate government, was worthless when the government ceased to exist. People had lost their farms and homes, and their family might have lost a father, or son, or brother. The South needed to be rebuilt.