This Week in the American Civil War: May 10-16, 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 May 10, 1865

Early in the morning, Federal troops surprised the encampment of Confederate President Jefferson Davis near Irwinville, Georgia. President Davis, Mrs. Davis, Postmaster General Reagan, secretary Burton Harrison and a few others were taken into custody. President Davis was wearing a raincoat and had a shawl because of the rain, and was found a short distance from his tent in a futile attempt to escape the Fourth Michigan Cavalry. Now that Davis was captured, the Confederate government ceased to exist. He was taken to Macon, Georgia, then to Fort Monroe, Virginia, where he was imprisoned until May 13, 1867 when he was released without trial.

Confederate Major General Samuel Jones surrendered forces under his command at Tallahassee, Florida.

William Clarke Quantrill, the 27-year-old guerrilla leader who sacked the town of Lawrence, Kansas in 1863, was fatally wounded by an irregular force of Federals near Taylorsville in Spencer County, Kentucky. He and a small group of followers had been looting in Kentucky.

President Andrew Johnson ordered the blockade of states east of the Mississippi to be partially lifted but warned against continued hospitality by foreign powers to Confederate cruisers.

Thursday May 11, 1865

Confederate Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson surrendered the remnants of his famous brigade at Chalk Bluff, Arkansas under the same terms as Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant offered to General Robert E. Lee.

Friday May 12, 1865

In the last land engagement of significance, Federal troops from Brazos Santiago Post, Texas, under Colonel Theodore H. Barrett marched inland towards Brownville and attacked Palmito Ranch on the banks of the Rio Grande River. The camp was taken but Federals evacuated under pressure.

In Washington, D.C., the eight accused Lincoln assassination conspirators pleaded not guilty to both specifications and charges before the military commission sitting as their court. The taking of testimony then began.

President Andrew Johnson appointed Major General Oliver O. Howard to lead the Freedmen’s Bureau.

Saturday May 13, 1865

In Texas, Federal troops moved on Palmito Ranch once again, as it had been reoccupied by the Confederates. In the midafternoon, the Confederates attacked and forced the Federal troops to withdraw with considerable casualties. Colonel John S. Ford led the main Confederate drive. The Battle of Palmito Ranch had little bearing on the war. However, it was the last fighting between sizable bodies of men, and, ironically, was a Confederate victory.

At Marshall, Texas, the Confederate governors of Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and a representative of Texas, met with E. Kirby Smith and other ranking officers. There was a threat by Jo Shelby and others to arrest Smith unless he continued the war. The governors drew up terms which they advised Smith to accept.

Sunday May 14, 1865

Slight skirmishing on the Little Piney River in Missouri, and a three-day Federal expedition from Brashear City to Ratliff’s Plantation, Louisiana, marked the day.

Monday May 15, 1865

A Federal scout from Pine Bluff to Johnston’s Farm, Arkansas was the only action of the day.

Tuesday May 16, 1865

Captain John Norris, Company M of the 13th Illinois Cavalry, and his patrol found a fresh set of tracks and found that a party of Confederate Captain R. A. Kidd’s cavalry was in the area. Norris split his command in two. Later in the afternoon, Kidd’s cavalry approached the Federals but fled after seeing the hiding Federals. They fled into the underbrush after firing a single volley. One Confederate prisoner was captured but there were no casualties otherwise. It is known as the Skirmish on Monticello Road in Jefferson County, Arkansas.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of May 10-16, 1865 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – On duty in Washington, D.C. until May 23, 1865.

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Washington, D.C. until May 23, 1865.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Batesville, Arkansas until September 2, 1865.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Washington, D.C. until May 23, 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 Selma, Alabama until July 20, 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 duty in 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 in Dakota Territory until October 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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