This Week in the American Civil War: January 25-31, 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 25, 1865

The Confederate cruiser Shenandoah reached Melbourne, Australia, and later left for the northern Pacific to plague Federal fishing and whaling fleets.

Skirmishing occurred near Powhatan, Virginia and Simpsonville, Kentucky.

Thursday January 26, 1865

Federal Major General William T. Sherman continued to threaten Charleston, South Carolina, although he did not have any intention of attacking it. It was a useful means of diverting the Confederates.

Skirmishing occurred near Pocotaligo, South Carolina and Paint Rock, Alabama.

Friday January 27, 1865

Skirmishing was limited to Ennis’s Cross Roads, South Carolina and Eldrod’s Tanyard in DeKalb County, Alabama.

In Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee pointed out to officials in Richmond that there was an “alarming” frequency of desertion in the army and that the rations were too small and that the Commissary Department could do a better job in supplying the Army of Northern Virginia.        

Saturday January 28, 1865

Confederate President Jefferson Davis named three commissioners to hold informal talks with Federal authorities as a result of the visits of Francis Preston Blair Sr., to Richmond. The Confederate commissioners were Vice President Alexander Stephens, R.M.T. Hunter of Virginia, and former U.S. Supreme Court justice John A. Campbell.

Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon recommend to Davis that General Robert E. Lee be appointed General-in-Chief of all Confederate armies by the act of Confederate Congress that was approved on January 23.

In South Carolina, a skirmish took place on the Combahee River.

Sunday January 29, 1865

    Skirmishing occurred at Robertsville, South Carolina; Danville, Kentucky; and near Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

There was considerable interest in where and how Federal Major General William T. Sherman would move his forces when he got rolling in South Carolina, and whether there was any hope for a successful peace process between Federal and Confederate officials.

Monday January 30, 1865

President Abraham Lincoln issued a pass for the three Confederate commissioners to go through U.S. military lines to Fort Monroe, Virginia.

Skirmishing broke out in La Fayette County, Missouri; Lawtonville, South Carolina; and at Chaplintown, Kentucky.

Federal Major General John Pope was assigned to command the new Military Division of the Missouri, consisting of the combined Missouri and Kansas areas.

Tuesday January 31, 1865

ROBERT E. LEE NAMED GENERAL-IN-CHIEF

Confederate President Jefferson Davis recommended to the Confederate Senate, which it promptly approved, the appointment of General Robert E. Lee as General-in-Chief of the Confederate Armies. However, the measure came too late to have any real effect as Lee continued primarily as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia.

President Abraham Lincoln issued instructions for Secretary of State William H. Seward to travel to Fort Monroe, Virginia to confer with the Confederate commissioners. Lincoln was willing to confer on restoration of the national authority throughout all states but would not recede from his position on slavery and would only treat the problem as that of one nation, and that there would be no cessation of hostilities other than an end to the war and disbandment of hostile forces.

In Washington, D.C., the U.S. House of Representatives passed by two-thirds the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which abolished slavery. The vote was 119 in favor, 56 opposed and 8 abstentions. Since the U.S. Senate had already approved the measure, it now reverted to the states for ratification.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of January 25-31, 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 – En route to New Orleans, Louisiana for duty until February 7, 1865.

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

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Washington, D.C. until February 21, 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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