This Week in the American Civil War: April 26- May 2, 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 April 26, 1865

JOHN WILKES BOOTH CAPTURED/JOHNSTON SURRENDERS

Early in the morning, Federal troops surrounded the barn of Richard H. Garrett. Lieutenant Colonel Everton Conger was in command. Although threatened with hanging, Garrett refused to reveal that there were two fugitives in his barn. To prevent further inquisition, his son, Jack, informed the officers that the suspects were there. David Herold surrendered and emerged from the barn. However, John Wilkes Booth was defiant and ranted dramatically. The barn was set on fire to force his surrender. As the flames roared around him, a shot was fired by Sergeant Boston Corbett and Booth fell, mortally wounded. He was pulled out of the burning barn and died around 7 a.m. Booth’s body was taken to the Washington Navy Yard for identification and placed aboard the U.S.S. Montauk for autopsy. After burial in the Arsenal Penitentiary, Booths remains were later reburied at his family grave in Baltimore, Maryland.

At the Bennett House near Durham Station, North Carolina, Federal Major General William T. Sherman met again with Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston in midafternoon. Final terms of the surrender of the troops of Johnston’s command were signed following the formula set forth by Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant at Appomattox Court House. Following the agreement, the formal terms of surrender were brought to Raleigh, North Carolina where Grant gave his final endorsement. Thus the second major army of the Confederate States of America, totaling approximately 30,000 men, had formally surrendered. Two primary Confederate armies remained at-large.

The Confederate Cabinet met with President Jefferson Davis at Charlotte, North Carolina and agreed to leave that day with the aim of getting west of the Mississippi River. Attorney General George Davis of North Carolina left the group at this time.

The funeral train of President Abraham Lincoln was in Albany, New York until 4 p.m. when it departed for Buffalo.

Thursday April 27, 1865

SULTANA DISASTER

Hundreds of paroled Federal soldiers were on their way home from Vicksburg, Mississippi after undergoing privations of Confederate prison camps. The S.S. Sultana, overcrowded and with defective boilers, was north of Memphis, Tennessee near Old Hen and Chickens Islands in the darkness of the early morning when a boiler exploded, hurling soldiers and wreckage high into the air. Fire broke out immediately and the water was full of struggling men, horses and mules. Some found their way ashore or were picked up, but hundreds died in the catastrophe. It is estimated that approximately 2,300 passengers, soldiers and crew were aboard the vessel. The loss is believed to be around 1,800, greater than the 1,512 who perished on the Titanic 47 years later.

Skirmishing still sputtered on the fringes of war, this time near James Creek, Missouri.

Confederate Secretary of the Treasury G.A. Trenholm, too ill to continue, resigned from the Confederate government. Postmaster General John Henninger Reagan succeeded him.

After pausing briefly in Rochester, New York, President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train arrived in Buffalo at 7 a.m. for a day of observances. The train departed at 10 p.m. for Cleveland, Ohio.

Friday April 28, 1865

Major General William T. Sherman left his officers to handle the disbandment of Joseph E. Johnston’s army and the preparations for taking his troops north. He then departed for Savannah to take care of affairs in Georgia.

Small groups of Confederate soldiers surrendered throughout the South. Confederate President Jefferson Davis accepted the resignation of Treasury Secretary G.A. Trenholm.

President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train arrived in Cleveland, Ohio at 6:50 a.m. Around 50,000 mourners visited Monument Square throughout the day to pay their respects to the fallen leader. The train departed at midnight.

Saturday April 29, 1865

President Andrew Johnson removed restrictions on trade in the former Confederate territory east of the Mississippi River within military lines.

A skirmish occurred in Lyon County, Kentucky.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the remnants of his Cabinet were at Yorkville, South Carolina continuing their flight.

President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train arrived at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio at 7 a.m. and departed at 8 p.m. for Indiana.

Sunday April 30, 1865

A few miles north of Mobile, Alabama, Federal Major General Edward R.S. Canby and Confederate Lieutenant General Richard Taylor agreed upon a truce prior to the surrender of Confederate forces in Alabama and Mississippi.

President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train arrived at Indianapolis, Indiana at 7 a.m. Mourners gathered at the Indiana Statehouse to pay their respects. The train departed at midnight.

Monday May 1, 1865

President Andrew Johnson ordered the naming of nine army officers to make up the military commission to try the eight accused Lincoln assassination conspirators. It had been ruled by Federal authorities that they were subject to trial before a military commission instead of in civil court. Those accused and held in prison were David E. Herold, George A. Atzerodt, Samuel Arnold, Lewis Paine, Michael O’Laughlin, Edward Spangler, Mary E. Surratt, and Samuel A. Mudd.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his fleeing party arrived at Cokesbury, South Carolina in what was becoming a more and more desperate flight.

President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train arrived at Michigan City, Indiana for a 35-minute stop while waiting for 100 important men of Chicago to arrive to escort the fallen president into the city. Meanwhile, the citizens of Michigan City held an impromptu funeral and 16 young women were allowed to enter the funeral car to place flowers on the casket. The train arrived in Chicago at 11 a.m. and stayed the entire day.

Tuesday May 2, 1865

Major General Edward R.S. Canby telegraphed Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant with the news that Confederate Lieutenant General Richard Taylor had accepted the terms of surrender of his forces in Alabama and Mississippi, based on the Appomattox Court House terms.

President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation accusing Confederate President Jefferson Davis and others of inciting the murder of President Abraham Lincoln and procuring the actual perpetrators. A $100,000 reward was offered for the arrest of Davis. This accusation is often ascribed to the hysteria resulting from the assassination. No reliable historian has ever connected Davis with the assassination.

Davis was now in Abbeville, South Carolina where the guards carrying the Confederate treasury now turned it over to him and what was left of his cabinet. In a council, Davis expressed a wish to try to continue the war, but the others did not agree with him. They left Abbeville around midnight. Confederate Navy Secretary S.R. Malloy officially resigned.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of April 26 – May 2, 1865 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – On the march to Washington, D.C. until May 12, 1865.

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the march to Washington, D.C. until May 19, 1865.

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

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On the march to Washington, D.C. until May 20, 1865.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Montgomery, Selma and Demopolis, Alabama until August 1865.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Montgomery, Alabama until July 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Montgomery, Alabama until May 10, 1865.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte, N.C. until July 11, 1865.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Montgomery and Selma, Alabama until July 26, 1865.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Meridian, Mississippi until July 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 the march to Washington, D.C. until May 24, 1865.

2nd Independent Battery Minnesota Light Artillery – On duty in Philadelphia, Tennessee until July 1865.

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

1st United States Sharpshooters Company I Mustered out of Federal Service on March 19, 1865.

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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