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Civil War Terms and Definitions, U

Unconditional Surrender
The surrender of a military force or nation without being able to set any limits on the subsequent actions of the victorious. The term was popularized during the Civil War when Ulysses S. Grant informed the commander of Fort Donelson that he would accept no terms other than unconditional surrender. Thereafter, U.S. Grant became known as “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.

Underground Railroad
An informal network that helped slaves escape from the the South to the North or to Canada before the Civil War. The system was neither underground nor a railroad. Instead, escaping slaves traveled by any means possible and they stayed in shelters called “stations,” provided by people helping them gain their freedom.