This Week in the American Civil War: March 1-7, 1865

MN150Logo_OL_FNLInformation courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

( and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)


Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday March 1, 1865

Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s cavalry skirmished with a small force of Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s troops at Mount Crawford, Virginia.

In South Carolina, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops continued to push to the north.

The Thirteenth Amendment was still a prime subject in the North. Wisconsin ratified the amendment but New Jersey rejected the measure to abolish slavery constitutionally.

Thursday March 2, 1865


The remnants of Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s once powerful army were dispersed by Federal cavalry under Brigadier General George A. Custer at Waynesborough, Virginia. Custer led the assault with nearly 5,000 men. The Confederate troops on the left gave way and could not be rallied. Custer defeated two Confederate infantry brigades and a small cavalry force of less than 2,000 troopers. Though not a major battle, Waynesborough was the last in a long line of battles in the Shenandoah Valley.

Skirmishing occurred at Thompson’s Creek, South Carolina and at Athens, Tennessee.

Friday March 3, 1865

The 38th Congress of the United States held its last regular session, adjourning around 8 a.m. the next morning. President Abraham Lincoln and Cabinet members went to the Capitol in the evening to consider last minute bills including the act establishing a Bureau for the Relief of Freedman and Refugees. The Freedman’s Bureau would supervise and manage all abandoned lands and have control of all subjects relating to refugees and freedmen from Confederate states. It would provide temporary subsistence, clothing and fuel as well as assigning land. Another act set up the Freedmen’s Savings and Trust Company.

Lincoln wrote a message directing Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant that removed any political questions out of the general’s hands. It laid the policy for the generals in the surrenders that were forthcoming, though the message was sent only to Grant and not to Sherman.      

Saturday March 4, 1865


Before the Inauguration, Governor Andrew Johnson of Tennessee took the oath of office thereby succeeding Hannibal Hamlin as Vice President of the United States. Having taken too much whiskey as a medicine, since he was taken ill, Vice President Johnson gave a rambling, incoherent address which shocked many and was an inauspicious beginning to the day. Then President Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated for the second time and gave his famous address which sought a full reconciliation.

The U.S. Senate met in special session to consider appointments and other business.

That evening, a public reception was held in which it is estimated that the president shook hands with 6,000 people.

William G. Brownlow was elected Governor of Tennessee to replace the new Vice President.

Skirmishing occurred at Phillips Cross Roads, North Carolina and at East River Bridge, Florida. The U.S. transport Thorn was destroyed by a torpedo in the Cape Fear River, North Carolina, as the Navy was busy trying to clear coastal waters of torpedoes or mines.

Sunday March 5, 1865

    Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army was in and around Cheraw, South Carolina with only a minor skirmish being the only fighting. They were preparing to enter North Carolina in the direction of Fayetteville.

President Abraham Lincoln asked Hugh McCulloch, Comptroller of the Currency, to be the new Treasury Secretary as William Fessenden had resigned after being reelected to the U.S. Senate from Maine.

Monday March 6, 1865

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston assumed command of all troops in the Department of North Carolina in addition to his other tasks. He now led all Confederate troops in the Carolinas and south of Petersburg, Virginia. Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s forces crossed the Pee Dee River and the entire army was now enroute to Fayetteville, North Carolina. The only skirmishing of the day occurred at Natural Bridge, Florida.

President Abraham Lincoln formally appointed Hugh McCulloch as Secretary of the Treasury in place of William Fessenden. In the evening, the gala inaugural ball was held at the Patent Office.

Tuesday March 7, 1865

In North Carolina, it was found that after the capture of Wilmington, New Berne was even a better supply base and a large force under Major General Jacob D. Cox was established there.

Federal troops skirmished with Indians eighty miles west of Fort Larned, Kansas. Fighting also occurred at Elyton, Alabama and Flint Hill, Virginia.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of March 1-7, 1865 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated the Battle of Hatcher’s Run and were in the Siege of Petersburg, Virginia until April 2, 1865.

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the march through the Carolinas until March 11, 1865.

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

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Cheraw, South Carolina until March 19, 1865.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in New Orleans, Louisiana until March 7, 1865.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Campaign against Mobile, Alabama until March 26, 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in New Orleans, Louisiana until March 17, 1865.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – En route to Kinston and Goldsborough, North Carolina until March 21, 1865.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in New Orleans, Louisiana until March 17, 1865.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in New Orleans, Louisiana until March 17, 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 garrison duty at Chattanooga, Tennessee until September 27, 1865.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On duty at Cheraw, South Carolina until March 20, 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 March 19, 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. 

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Transferred to the 1st Battalion, Minnesota Infantry on February 20, 1865 at Petersburg, Virginia for duration of service.

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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