This Week in the American Civil War: January 18-24, 1865

MN150Logo_OL_FNLInformation courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

(www.mncivilwar150.com and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)

 

Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday January 18, 1865

Federal Major General William T. Sherman transferred command of Savannah, Georgia and the nearby area to Major General John G. Foster and the Department of the South.

President Abraham Lincoln conferred once again with Francis P. Blair Sr., on his mission to Richmond, Virginia. Lincoln gave him a letter to present to Confederate President Jefferson Davis reiterating Lincoln’s call for “one common country” thereby nullifying any peace proposal that allows the Confederacy to exist.

In Richmond, Davis was still searching for any additional troops that could be spared to oppose Sherman in the Carolinas. He also urged General Robert E. Lee once again to extend his command to include all of the Confederate armies, in addition to his immediate command of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Thursday January 19, 1865

Federal Major General William T. Sherman issued orders for his army to begin its new march from Savannah, Georgia northward into South Carolina. Though the troops did not start off simultaneously, some elements of the army began their march northward. Since South Carolina was the birthplace of the Confederacy, Federal troops were more vindictive towards that state than they were towards Georgians.

President Abraham Lincoln inquired of Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant as to whether a place existed in the army for his son, Robert. The younger Lincoln was soon appointed to the rank of captain and served as an assistant adjutant general on Grant’s staff.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee declined President Jefferson Davis’s offer to serve as General-in-Chief of the Confederate armies but admitted that he would serve in that capacity if so appointed. Pressure continued on Davis to appoint Lee to the position.

Friday January 20, 1865

The four Federal corps under Major General William T. Sherman, plus Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick’s cavalry, got underway from their base of operations in Savannah, Georgia en route to South Carolina.

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton briefed President Abraham Lincoln of his visit to Savannah, Georgia and Fort Fisher, North Carolina.        

Saturday January 21, 1865

Federal Major General William T. Sherman embarked with his entire headquarters from Savannah, Georgia to Beaufort, South Carolina, pausing at Hilton Head. Sherman attempted to feign a movement to Charleston or Augusta, rather than Columbia.

Sunday January 22, 1865

    Fighting tapered off with only a small skirmish on the Benton Road, near Little Rock, Arkansas. Otherwise, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army was in motion towards South Carolina with the goal of reaching Goldsborough, North Carolina within six weeks.

Monday January 23, 1865

Confederate President Jefferson Davis signed an act providing for the appointment of a General-in-Chief of the Confederate Armies. The Confederate Congress had General Robert E. Lee in mind when it drafted the legislation.

Confederate Lieutenant General Richard Taylor assumed command of the Army of Tennessee, now reduced in strength to approximately 18,000 men, after the resignation of Lieutenant General John Bell Hood following the disastrous Nashville Campaign.

Tuesday January 24, 1865

The Congress of the Confederate States of America offered again to exchange prisoners with the Federals. This time, Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant accepted the offer. His previous refusal to exchange prisoners had been intended to cut down Southern manpower even further.

Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest assumed command of the Confederate District of Mississippi, East Louisiana and West Tennessee.

Skirmishing occurred at Fayetteville, Arkansas and Bayou Goula, Louisiana.

President Abraham Lincoln sent a telegraph to Vice-President-elect Andrew Johnson at Nashville, instructing Johnson to be in Washington for the March 4 inauguration.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of January 18-24, 1865 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia until April 2, 1865.       

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Savannah, Georgia until February 1, 1865.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Duvall’s Bluff, Arkansas until May 13, 1865.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Savannah, Georgia until February 1, 1865.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On provost duty at St. Louis, Missouri until January 29, 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – En route to Washington, D.C. via Clifton, Tennessee until January 29, 1865.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Eastport, Mississippi until February 6, 1865.

11th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Assigned to duty guarding the line of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Nashville to the Kentucky line. Companies E, G, and I were at Gallatin, Tennessee. Company A was at Buck Lodge. Company B at Edgefield Junction. Company C at Richland. Company D at Sandersville. Company H was at Mitchellsville. The location of companies F and K are unknown at this time. The regiment remained on duty at these locations until June 25, 1865.

2nd Regiment Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling, until November 17, 1865.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – Engaged in frontier and patrol duty between Forts Wadsworth, Abercrombie, Ripley and Ridgely with headquarters at Fort Snelling until May 1866.

Hatch’s Independent Battalion of Cavalry – Companies A, B, C and D moved to Fort Abercrombie. Companies A and B assigned to garrison at Fort Abercrombie.  Company C assigned to garrison at Alexandria and Pomme de Terre. Company D on patrol duty from Fort Abercrombie to Pembina.  Companies E and F on frontier duty. The battalion would remain in these duty locations for the duration of the war – until April 26, 1866.

1st Minnesota Heavy Artillery Battery – On duty at St. Paul and Rochester, Minnesota until February 1865.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty in Savannah, Georgia until February 1, 1865.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty as infantry at Fort Irwin, Defenses of Chattanooga until March 30, 1865.

3rd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – Various sections on duty at Fort Ridgely, Fort Ripley and Fort Sisseton until May 1865.

1st United States Sharpshooters Company I – Attached to the 1st Battalion, Minnesota Infantry at Petersburg, Virginia until Feb. 20, 1865. 

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Participated in the Siege of Petersburg until Feb. 20, 1865.

Inactive units: 

1st Regiment Minnesota Cavalry “Mounted Rangers” – Formally mustered out of service on December 7, 1863. Inactive.  

1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Mustered out of Federal service on April 29, 1864. Inactive.

About civilwarweek

Member - Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force, Civil War reenactor and historian since 1993, holds Bachelor's Degree in History from Concordia University-St. Paul, currently pursuing Master's Degree in History at St. Cloud State University and is author of the forthcoming book, "Muskets and Memories: A Modern Man's Journey through the Civil War."
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