This Week in the American Civil War: April 5-11, 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 5, 1865

Confederate General Robert E. Lee was confronted by a lack of supplies for the Army of Northern Virginia at Amelia Court House, Virginia. With Federal Major General Phil Sheridan and infantry in front of him near Jetersville, he could no longer use the Danville Railroad and turned towards Farmville instead, where supplies were ordered from Lynchburg by railroad. Sheridan wanted to attack but Major General George G. Meade refrained from ordering the attack until more troops could arrive.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis was at Danville and was out of touch with General Robert E. Lee but was establishing an executive office there, not willing to leave Virginia.

President Abraham Lincoln entered Richmond again before returning to City Point where he received word that Secretary of State William H. Seward was injured in a carriage accident in Washington that afternoon.

Thursday April 6, 1865

BATTLE OF SAYLER’S CREEK

The last major engagement between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and Federal Army of the Potomac occurred at Sayler’s Creek, near the Farmville and High Bridge crossings of the Appomattox River. Crossing the stream was imperative for safety and the army attempted to keep together, which was impossible. In the bottom land of Sayler’s Creek, the retreating column split and the Federals moved in forcing a gap in the Confederate line. Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Lieutenant General James Longstreet and Major General William Mahone continued on while Lieutenant General Richard S. Ewell and Lieutenant General Richard H. Anderson followed behind the gap. The wagons were ordered on a detour to cross the river. Anderson and Ewell were quickly pressed back, but mounted a countercharge which failed in the face of strong artillery fire. Federal flanks closed in towards the middle and Ewell was forced to surrender. Some 8,000 Confederates surrendered while Federals suffered approximately 1,180 sustained casualties. It is estimated that the Confederates lost about a third of the men that departed Amelia Court House that morning. As Lee witnessed the engagement, he exclaimed, “My God! Has the army been dissolved?” It was clear that the numbers of the once proud Army of Northern Virginia were diminishing rapidly.

Friday April 7, 1865

Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant, in an effort to avoid further bloodshed, sent a message to Confederate General Robert E. Lee asking for the surrender of his Army of Northern Virginia.

The Confederate army, meanwhile, received more punishment even though they repulsed the Federals in an engagement near Farmville, Virginia, and crossed the Appomattox River to continue their retreat on the north side. Though the Confederates attempted to burn the bridges behind them, Federal troop movements blocked Lee at Appomattox Station and Appomattox Court House, squeezing Lee between Federal forces on the east and west flanks.

Tennessee ratified the Thirteenth Amendment and inaugurated avowed abolitionist and unionist W.G. “Parson” Brownlow as the state’s governor.

At City Point, Virginia, President Abraham Lincoln sent a wire to Grant stating, “Gen. Sheridan says ‘If the thing is pressed I think that Lee will surrender.’ Let the thing be pressed.”

Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his Cabinet were in Danville, Virginia attempting to do what they could, though their efforts had little effect.

Saturday April 8, 1865

The road to Lynchburg, Virginia, the next goal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s army, passed through hamlets and villages and Appomattox Station near Appomattox Court House. Behind the remnants of the Army of Northern Virginia was Federal Major General George G. Meade with the Second and Sixth Corps., Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s cavalry and the Fifth Corps to the south. By evening, a detachment of the Army of the James blocked Lee’s route to Lynchburg. Though skirmishing occurred throughout the day, Meade was unable to bring on a general engagement, while Sheridan’s cavalry seized Confederate supply trains at Appomattox Station.

Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant, at Farmville, Virginia, received Lee’s reply asking what terms Grant would offer. Grant offered to meet with Lee to receive the surrender. Lee replied later in the day that he did not intend to propose surrender but merely inquired to ask the terms of the proposition. Still, Lee wanted to meet to discuss this with Grant.

Earlier in the morning, Lee was informed by a number of his officers that had conferred the previous evening and agreed that the army could not break through to join Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s troops and recommended that he open negotiations with the Federals.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis got information from Secretary of War John C. Brekinridge and messenger John S. Wise that the situation was critical. Nevertheless, a certain amount of routine business continued.

President Abraham Lincoln visited Petersburg, then late in the evening left City Point, Virginia by boat and headed back to Washington.

Late in the night near Appomattox Court House, Confederate General Robert E. Lee held his final council of war.

Sunday April 9, 1865

     LEE SURRENDERS TO GRANT AT APPOMATTOX COURT HOUSE

On Palm Sunday, a clear spring sun rose in Virginia. At dawn, near Appomattox Station, the Confederates had attacked with the hope of forcing a passage through the Federals in front of them. At first they were successful, but there was more than just enemy cavalry in front of them. The route was also blocked by infantry. The Federal forces drove in, and on the east other Federals under Major General George G. Meade attacked the Confederate rear guard. Escape was now impossible. Lee arranged to meet with Grant.

On the field, there was confusion with truce flags mixed in with small arms fire. Federal Brigadier General George A. Custer demanded the surrender of Confederates.

Yet by the early afternoon in the home of Wilmer McLean at Appomattox Court House, Confederate General Robert E. Lee and one aide met with Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant, his staff, and several of the major commanders. After pleasantries, Lee called attention to the matter at hand, discussion of surrender terms.

Grant wrote out his proposal, went over it with his staff, then presented it to Lee. The terms did not include surrender of side arms of officers or of their private horses or baggage, and allowed each officer and man to go home and not be disturbed as long as parole was observed. Lee brought up the fact that cavalrymen and artillerists owned their own horses, which would be needed for the spring planting. After a short conference, Grant agreed to let those who claimed horses to keep them. Arrangements were also made to feed Lee’s army from Federal supplies. Thus it was completed – a document from Grant to Lee giving terms of surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, and one from Lee to Grant accepting those terms. Contrary to legend, Lee did not surrender his sword to Grant.

However, the war was not over. There were still armies in the field and a Confederate government at Danville, Virginia. It was only after a gentle reminder later in the afternoon that Lieutenant General Grant remembered to inform Washington to what transpired at Appomattox Court House.

President Abraham Lincoln arrived back in Washington in early evening as news was spreading throughout the land. Bonfires sprang up as crowds jammed the streets. In the Army of the Potomac, flags waved, bands played, artillery boomed and the air was filled with knapsacks, canteens, tin cups and roaring cheers. When the noise receded, a silence of respect to the fallen dead and the vanquished foe fell over Appomattox a four years of war in Virginia had ended.

Monday April 10, 1865

News of the surrender arrived in Danville, Virginia, late in the afternoon. By evening, what little remained of the Confederate government took to the railroad again and headed for Greensborough, North Carolina, fearful that the cavalry in the area might overtake them.

President Abraham Lincoln was serenaded several times throughout the day by relieved and happy crowds in Washington. He promised to make a more formal appearance the following evening, and asked one of the bands to play “Dixie.”

In Mobile, Alabama, Forts Huger and Tracy kept up their bombardment, but it was clear that with less than 5,000 Confederates at hand, Major General D.H. Maury would be forced to evacuate the city.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee issued his last general orders imploring the members of his former command to return to their homes then bid an affectionate farewell.

As Lee was in the process of issuing his general order, Federal Major General Ulysses Grant arrived and the two conferred about surrendering all of the Confederate armies. Lee made note that it was not his decision to make but that of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Other officers, including Major General George G. Meade who was not present at the surrender, visited with Lee. Memories and curiosity seemed to draw them all together.

Tuesday April 11, 1865

At Mobile, Alabama, the remaining defenses of Forts Huger and Tracy were abandoned and Confederate Major General D.H. Maury began evacuation of the city itself. Only a rear guard remained behind that night.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops continued to advance towards Goldsborough, North Carolina. Sherman entered Smithfield, North Carolina, where he learned of Lee’s surrender.

The Confederate government train arrived at Goldsborough, North Carolina, early in the day to a cold response in comparison to what they received in Danville, Virginia. Citizens were concerned about reprisals from Federal troops.

President Abraham Lincoln spoke to an enthusiastic crowd from a window of the White House. He expressed the hope for a “righteous and speedy peace” and discussed reconstruction, including giving the Negro the right to vote.  Lincoln admitted the difficulties of reconstruction and desired that plans be kept flexible. It was a serious, anxious speech, full of the future – and was to be his last.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of April 5-11, 1865 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Present at Lee’s surrender and on duty at Appomattox Court House until May 2, 1865.     

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Raleigh, North Carolina campaign until April 14, 1865.

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

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Raleigh, North Carolina campaign until April 14, 1865.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Mobile, Alabama until April 12, 1865.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Mobile, Alabama until April 12, 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Mobile, Alabama until April 12, 1865.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On Raleigh, North Carolina campaign until April 14, 1865.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Mobile, Alabama until April 12, 1865.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Mobile, Alabama until April 12, 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 Raleigh, North Carolina campaign until April 14, 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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: March 29 – April 4, 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 March 29, 1865

APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN BEGINS

The Federal Army of the Potomac and Army of the James, approximately 125,000 soldiers combined, were on the move against Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia. Skirmishing occurred at Lewis’s Farm and at the junction of the Quaker and Boydton roads as well as the Vaughan Road near Hatcher’s Run. Rain in the evening slowed the Federal advance. Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s cavalry rode westward towards Dinwiddie Court House south of Five Forks with two Federal infantry corps, the Fifth and Second, marching in support. The intent was to force Lee out of his entrenched lines.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman returned to his army in Goldsborough, North Carolina from City Point, Virginia.

President Abraham Lincoln remained at City Point to inquire of Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant about how the new movement was looking.

Thursday March 30, 1865

Pelting rains bogged down most of the Federal advance on the Petersburg, Virginia front, where Federal Major General Phil Sheridan, at Dinwiddie Court House, was ready to move with infantry assistance against the Confederate right flank. Skirmishing occurred on the line of Hatcher’s Run and Gravelly Run as well as near Five Forks. Confederate moves by Major Generals George Pickett and Fitzhugh Lee weakened other segments of General Robert E. Lee’s line.

Friday March 31, 1865

WHITE OAK ROAD AND DINWIDDIE COURT HOUSE, VIRGINIA

The heavy rain ended in the morning and the action began as more than 10,000 Confederates were opposed by more than 50,000 Federals on the western part of the Petersburg, Virginia line. Federal Major General Phil Sheridan pressed from Dinwiddie Court House with a portion of his troops, but was repulsed by Confederate forces which drove them back towards the main body of troops at the Court House. However, Confederate Major General George Pickett understood the strength of the Federal Fifth Corps and pulled back towards Five Forks. The Fifth Corps had its difficulties on the White Oak Road, who were unable to repulse and turn back the opposing Confederates.

At Mobile, Alabama, Federal troops were occupying nearby towns and drawing in their siege lines.

Saturday April 1, 1865

BATTLE OF FIVE FORKS, VIRGINIA

Late in the afternoon, Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s cavalry and the Federal Fifth Corps attacked Confederate Major General George Pickett’s dug in troops at Five Forks. As Sheridan’s dismounted cavalry attacked in front, the Fifth Corps got in on the Confederate defender’s left flank and crushed them. Pickett’s forces were now separated from the rest of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. The Federals sustained losses numbering around 1,000 and captured at least 4,500 Confederates.

In North Carolina, Federal Major General William T. Sherman took the time to reorganize his army as a skirmish broke out at Snow Hill.

Skirmishing occurred at Randolph, Maplesville, Plantersville, Ebenezer Church, Centerville and Trion, Alabama forcing Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest to concentrate his troops at Selma. Skirmishing also occurred at White Oak Creek, Tennessee.

President Abraham Lincoln was serving as an observer at City Point, Virginia and forwarding messages to Washington on the progress of the fighting at Petersburg. Confederate President Jefferson Davis, meanwhile, reported to General Robert E. Lee that he was struggling to advance the raising of Negro troops, noting that “distrust is increasing and embarrasses in many ways.”

Sunday April 2, 1865

    CONFEDERATES ABANDON RICHMOND AND PETERSBURG

At 4:30 a.m., Federal troops advanced under a heavy fog along the Petersburg, Virginia lines. By 7 a.m., the drive was fully under way and was successful everywhere. The Federal Sixth Corps captured the South Side Railroad, and the Confederate lines vanished along Hatcher’s Run. West of the Boydton Plank Road, while attempting to rally his men, Confederate Lieutenant General Ambrose Powell Hill was killed. Only two forts, Gregg and Baldwin, held out at noon on the western part of the lines, making retreat possible only by crossing the Appomattox River.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee was determined to hold the inner fortifications until night enabled him to withdraw. In a few places, the Confederates stiffened their resistance in the afternoon until it was obvious that they had to pull out. Orders to evacuate Petersburg and for the defenders north of the James River to retreat through Richmond and join the remainder of the Army of Northern Virginia with Amelia Court House, forty miles west, as the rally point. Federal losses sustained amounted to 3,189 wounded, 625 killed and 326 missing for a total loss of 4,140 out of 63,000 engaged. Confederates engaged approximately 18,500 with unknown losses.

In Richmond, Virginia, a messenger entered St. Paul’s Church while the minister gave the prayer for Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Davis left quietly and went to his office to learn of the disaster that occurred at Petersburg. By 11 p.m., Davis and most of his Cabinet departed by train for Danville, Virginia. Rail stations were jammed and the streets filled with many of the local citizens and refugees crowding the city. Inmates broke from the state prison and the Local Defense Brigade was unable to keep order. Confederate government records were either sent away or burned. Cotton, tobacco and military stores were set on fire, which soon raged out of control. Richmond was falling at last. However, the Confederate government still existed even though it was in transit. The war resumed.

In Mobile, Alabama, the siege of Fort Blakely began while the siege of Spanish Fort continued.

Skirmishing broke out near Goldsborough, North Carolina; along with Van Buren and Hickory Station, Arkansas.

President Abraham Lincoln went to the front at Petersburg and saw some of the fighting from a distance while keeping Washington informed to the progress of Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant’s armies.

Monday April 3, 1865

Petersburg, Virginia was now occupied by Federal troops. President Abraham Lincoln and Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant conferred at a private home in the city and reviewed the troops passing through the city, which had undergone more than nine months of siege warfare.

The first flag flying over Richmond, Virginia, was a small guidon raised by Major Atherton H. Stevens Jr., of Massachusetts over the former Capitol of the Confederacy building. More Federal troops arrived as more people, many of whom were jubilant Negroes, swarmed into the streets of the city that was still in flames. Federal infantry playing “The Girl I Left Behind Me” soon arrived. The Federal occupation of Richmond was commanded by Major General Godrey Weitzel, who received the surrender in the City Hall at 8:15 a.m. Federal troops immediately attempted to restore order and put out the fires.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia slowly moved westward towards Amelia Court House, shadowed by Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant’s Army of the Potomac who ran parallel to keep Lee from intersecting General Joseph E. Johnston’s army in North Carolina. Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s cavalry skirmished with the retiring Confederates on the Namozine Church Road.

The train from Richmond to Danville moved slowly due to roadbed difficulties but by midafternoon, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his Cabinet had arrived in Danville, where citizens hurriedly prepared to receive their guests. Headquarters for Davis was at the home of Major W. T. Sutherlin. Davis admitted that he was not abandoning the cause.

Tuesday April 4, 1865

LINCOLN ARRIVES IN RICHMOND

President Abraham Lincoln traveled up the James River on the River Queen, transferred to the U.S.S. Malvern, and then landed in Richmond on a smaller landing vessel not far from Libby Prison. Admiral David Dixon Porter, three other officers and ten sailors armed with carbines served as Lincoln’s escort as he walked to the White House of the Confederacy. Crowds, mostly cheering Negroes, surrounded Lincoln as he toured the home that Confederate President Jefferson Davis recently vacated. Lincoln drove through the city under escort in the late afternoon. Before leaving Richmond, Lincoln talked with John A. Campbell, former U.S. Supreme Court justice and former Assistance Secretary of War for the Confederacy. Campbell admitted that the war was over and urged Lincoln to consult with public men of Virginia regarding restoration of peace and order. Lincoln returned to the Malvern for the night.

Skirmishing occurred at Tabernacle Church, also known as Beaver Pond Creek, and at Amelia, Virginia. Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s decimated army lacked supplies which brought on post-war discussion. There was an unfounded charge the Davis was using the necessary railroad and communications, though Federal Major General Phil Sheridan arrived at Jetersville on the Danville Railroad southwest of Amelia Court House, blocking Lee’s further use of that route towards North Carolina.

At Danville, Virginia, the new capital of the Confederacy, Confederate President Jefferson Davis issued a proclamation to the remaining people of the crumbling nation while admitting that there was now a new phase of the conflict, and that he had vowed to maintain the struggle.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of March 29 – April 4, 1865 

Active units:

1st Battalion Minnesota Infantry – Participated in the Appomattox Campaign including the battles of Hatcher’s Run, Boydton Road, Sutherland’s Station and the fall of Petersburg, Virginia, and were now in pursuit of Confederate General Robert E. Lee until April 9, 1865.       

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Goldsborough, North Carolina until April 10, 1865.

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

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Goldsborough, North Carolina until April 10, 1865.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in the Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, Alabama until April 8, 1865.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in the Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, Alabama until April 8, 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in the Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, Alabama until April 8, 1865.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Goldsborough, North Carolina until April 10, 1865.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in the Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, Alabama until April 8, 1865.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in the Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, Alabama until April 8, 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 Goldsborough, North Carolina until April 10, 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.

Posted in 1865, This Week in the Civil War | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Week in the American Civil War: March 22-28, 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 March 22, 1865

Another Federal offensive began as Major General James Harrison Wilson’s forces struck from the Tennessee River towards Selma, Alabama, one of the few centers left to the South. The raid was to be in conjunction with the Federal attack on Mobile to the south of Selma.

Fighting flared at Mill Creek, Hannah’s Creek and Black Creek, North Carolina; Patterson’s Creek Station, West Virginia; Celina, Tennessee; and Stephenson’s Mills, Missouri.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman issued orders for his army to concentrate in the area of Goldsborough, North Carolina.

Thursday March 23, 1865

Federal Major Generals William T. Sherman and John Schofield joined forces at Goldsborough, North Carolina. Now approximately 100,000 Federals dominated the state. Work began to immediately equip the armies after the long marches.

Even though the campaign in North Carolina was essentially over, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston positioned his forces on the two roads that he believed that Sherman would take towards Virginia, either through Raleigh or through Weldon. This position also made junction with the Army of Northern Virginia practical should General Robert E. Lee withdraw from Petersburg.

President Abraham Lincoln left Washington, D.C. for City Point, Virginia and Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant’s headquarters, accompanied by Mrs. Lincoln and their son, Tad. It was to be a combination vacation and conference with Grant concerning end-of-war measures.

Friday March 24, 1865

Confederate Major General John Brown Gordon had been assigned to lead an attack the next day at Fort Stedman on the Federal right at Petersburg, Virginia. If the siege line could be broken here, the indispensable supply line to City Point could be cut. A successful assault here would help General Robert E. Lee in his possible retreat from Richmond.

Skirmishing occurred near Moccasin Creek, North Carolina; near Dannelly’s Mills and Evergreen, Alabama; and at Rolla, Missouri.

The vessel containing President Abraham Lincoln and his party arrived at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

Saturday March 25, 1865

BATTLE OF FORT STEDMAN

Southerners claiming to be deserters arrived at the Federal lines near Fort Stedman at 3 a.m. on the east side of the Petersburg, Virginia siege fortifications. However, they were advance men aiming at sabotage when, an hour later, Confederate Major General John B. Gordon launched his attack at Fort Stedman and surrounding entrenchments. The Confederates quickly overwhelmed the opposition and rushed into the fort, completely surprising the Federal garrison. Several batteries and other trenches were taken until nearly a mile of Federal lines was in Southern hands. Like other Confederate late-war attacks, it lost momentum which allowed Federal troops to rally, change position and push the attackers back to Fort Stedman. By 7:30 a.m., a Federal division assaulted the fort, forcing Gordon to withdraw. Fifteen minutes later, the entire attack was defeated and the Federal lines were restored. Confederates lost approximately 4,000 troops to the Federal casualties that numbered around 1,500.

Federal troops neared Spanish Fort and the fortifications of Mobile, Alabama after a trying march because of drenching rains. Confederate Brigadier General R.L. Gibson tried to organize his 2,800 men to oppose the Federal force that numbered 32,000 men. Despite strong earthworks around the city, it was impossible for the South to hold out without assistance.

President Abraham Lincoln visited Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant at City Point, Virginia, and then took the military railroad to the Petersburg lines where he rode horseback over part of the Fort Stedman battlefield, the site of the morning engagement.

Sunday March 26, 1865

    The cavalry command of Federal Major General Phil Sheridan crossed the James River and headed towards Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant’s lines at Petersburg, Virginia, which would give Grant an even larger force and thin out Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s already numerically inadequate defenders. Lee was preparing to give up Petersburg and Richmond and pull back westward to attempt a reunion with General Joseph E. Johnston in North Carolina.

On the Mobile, Alabama front, skirmishing erupted as Federal troops pushed in nearer to Spanish Fort. Other skirmishing occurred at Muddy Creek, Alabama.

President Abraham Lincoln reviewed troops and watched Major General Phil Sheridan’s men cross the James River while on his visit to the main fighting front at Petersburg. Grant and Sheridan conferred, and prepared instructions for the beginning of the forthcoming campaign.

Monday March 27, 1865

Aboard the steamer River Queen at City Point, Virginia, President Abraham Lincoln, Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant, Major General William T. Sherman and Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter conferred about the state of the respective campaigns. The first day’s talk, largely social, included an account of Sherman’s campaign, since Sherman came up from Goldsborough, North Carolina where his army was located.

Tuesday March 28, 1865

President Abraham Lincoln, Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant, Major General William T. Sherman and Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter continued their discussions aboard the steamer River Queen off of City Point, Virginia. The generals detailed their plans and pointed out that one more major campaign would be needed to force an end to the war.

Shifting of troops by the Federals at Petersburg marked the preparations for a forthcoming move, which Confederate General Robert E. Lee noted in a letter to his daughter. Lee wrote, “Genl Grant is evidently preparing for something & is marshaling & preparing his troops from some movement, which is not yet disclosed…”

Skirmishing occurred near Snow Hill and Boone, North Carolina; Elyton, Alabama; and at Germantown, Tennessee.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of March 22-28, 1865 

Active units:

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

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Goldsborough, North Carolina until April 10, 1865.

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

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Goldsborough, North Carolina until April 10, 1865.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in the Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, Alabama until April 8, 1865.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in the Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, Alabama until April 8, 1865.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in the Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, Alabama until April 8, 1865.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Goldsborough, North Carolina until April 10, 1865.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in the Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, Alabama until April 8, 1865.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in the Siege of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, Alabama until April 8, 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 Goldsborough, North Carolina until April 10, 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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: March 15-21, 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 March 15, 1865

From Fayetteville, North Carolina and the Cape Fear River, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops moved out en masse with Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick’s cavalry in front. The cavalry clashed with Confederate rear guards near Smith’s Mills on the Black River and at South River.

Federal Major General Phil Sheridan moved on in Virginia and was at Hanover Court House near Ashland.

Skirmishing occurred at Boyd’s Station and Stevenson’s Gap, Alabama.

Thursday March 16, 1865

BATTLE FOR AVERASBOROUGH, NORTH CAROLINA

Four miles south of Averasborough, North Carolina, the advancing columns of Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s force attacked Confederate General William J. Hardee’s blocking force. By late afternoon, Hardee was told of Federals crossing the Black River and was instructed to turn his left flank even further. Hardee gave up his position during the night and marched towards Smithfield. Federal losses amounted to 95 killed and 533 wounded with 54 missing for 682 total, while the aggregate Confederate loss is numbered at 865. Even though it was not a major battle, Averasborough showed that the Confederates were actively putting up resistance to Federal movements in North Carolina.

Friday March 17, 1865

Skirmishing occurred at Falling Creek, North Carolina following the previous day’s battle at Averasborough.

Federal Major General E.R.S. Canby began maneuvering his 32,000 troops against Mobile, Alabama. One Federal force moved from Pensacola, Florida and another from the area of Mobile Point up the east side of Mobile Bay. About 2,800 Confederates under Brigadier General R.L. Gibson defended the city.

In Washington, D.C., President Abraham Lincoln directed that all people detected in the sale of arms and ammunition to the Indians should be arrested and tried by military court-martial.      

Saturday March 18, 1865

CONFEDERATE CONGRESS ADJOURNS FOR FINAL TIME

The Confederate Congress ended its session in a fit of contention with President Jefferson Davis. Many essential war measures were left unpassed and for the last few days its main business was to argue with Davis whether he or Congress had delayed action and was responsible for some of the difficulties facing the Confederacy. It was symptomatic of the need to blame someone for the nearly obvious disaster.

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston was attempting to concentrate his forces against the Federals, who were advancing towards Goldsborough, North Carolina. The Confederates had approximately 20,000 troops versus 30,000 Federal forces that were just south of Bentonville.

Skirmishing occurred along Mingo Creek, Bush Swamp and near Benton’s Cross Roads, North Carolina; Livingston, Tennessee; near Dranesville, Virginia and on the Amite River in Louisiana.

At Mobile Bay, approximately 1,700 Federal troops marched from Dauphin Island on the west side of the bay to deceive the Confederate defenders as to which side would be attacked.

Sunday March 19, 1865

    BATTLE OF BENTONVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

Federal Major General William T. Sherman did not expect an attack when the Federals resumed their march and ran into waiting Confederates near Bentonville, North Carolina. At first they did not seem to be a serious obstacle, but by afternoon they were being pressed. At first the Confederates crashed through the Federal breastworks, partially demoralizing one section of the Federal force and routing the left flank. However, other Federal units came in to stem the advance. The battle lasted until after dark when the three main Confederate assaults were beaten off. Late that night, the Confederates pulled back to their starting points and both sides spent the night preparing their positions.

Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s cavalry made it to White House on the Pamunkey River in Virginia after wrecking the Virginia Central Railroad and the James River Canal in its successful march from Winchester to join Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant’s army near Petersburg.

1st U.S. Sharpshooters Company I members mustered out of Federal service. Those with time remaining were transferred to the 1st Battalion of Minnesota Infantry.

Skirmishing at Celina, Tennessee; Welaka and Saunders, Florida rounded out the day.

Monday March 20, 1865

Federal reinforcements arrived at daybreak at Bentonville, North Carolina. There was no heavy fighting in the area though considerable amounts of skirmishing did occur.

The Federal column operating with the main attack on Mobile moved towards that city from Pensacola, Florida.

Skirmishing occurred near Falling Creek, North Carolina; Ringgold, Georgia; and at Talbot’s Ferry, Arkansas.

Tuesday March 21, 1865

BATTLE OF BENTONVILLE CONCLUDES

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops kept up the pressure on Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s forces at Bentonville, North Carolina. The men of Major General J.A. Mower moved from the far Federal right around the Confederate left flank late in the afternoon and threatened the Mill Creek Bridge on Johnston’s retreat line. Counterattacks halted the menace after considerable fighting, which ended the Battle of Bentonville, the last significant Confederate effort to halt Sherman’s advance. During the night, Johnston ordered evacuation after reports that Federal Major General John Schofield had taken Goldsborough. Casualties for the Federals totaled more than 1,500 while Confederates sustained more than 2,600 losses, many of whom were captured.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of March 15-21, 1865 

Active units:

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

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina on March 20-21, 1865.

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

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Participated in the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina on March 20-21, 1865.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Campaign against Mobile, Alabama and its defenses until March 26, 1865.

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

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Campaign against Mobile, Alabama and its defenses until March 26, 1865.

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

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Campaign against Mobile, Alabama and its defenses until April 9,1865.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Campaign against Mobile, Alabama and its defenses until April 9,1865.

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 – Participated in the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina on March 20-21, 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.

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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: March 8-14, 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 March 8, 1865

Confederates under General Braxton Bragg attacked the soldiers of Federal Major General Jacob D. Cox’s army in the morning forcing a green Federal brigade to break. However, other units repulsed the Confederate attacks in the opening salvo of the Battle of Kinston, North Carolina. It was intended to be a major move against the Federal invasion force coming in from the coast, but the Confederate numbers were too small to sustain more than a momentary attack.

Skirmishing occurred at Love’s Bridge, South Carolina; Jackson County, Tennessee; Duguidsville, Virginia; and Poison Creek, Indian Territory.

Secretary of the Interior John P. Usher submitted his resignation to President Abraham Lincoln.

The Confederate Senate, by a vote of 9 to 8, approved the use of Negroes as soldiers.

Thursday March 9, 1865

Skirmishing continued at Kinston, North Carolina between General Braxton Bragg’s Confederates and Federal Major General Jacob D. Cox’s army.

Confederate cavalry swept in to attack a completely surprised Federal cavalry at Monroe’s Cross Roads, South Carolina, nearly capturing Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick who allegedly fled without his trousers.

President Abraham Lincoln accepted the resignation of Secretary of the Interior John P. Usher, to be effective on May 15. Assistant Secretary William Otto handled the department until a successor could be named and confirmed.

Friday March 10, 1865

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army was nearing Fayetteville, North Carolina, with some difficulty from the wet weather and skirmishing with the Confederate cavalry.

The fighting at Kinston, North Carolina ended after several serious Confederate attacks against Federal Major General Jacob D. Cox’s defenders. At night, Confederate General Braxton Bragg retreated to Kinston and then to Goldsborough to join General Joseph E. Johnston.      

Saturday March 11, 1865

The second step of Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s Carolina Campaign came to an end with the occupation of Fayetteville, North Carolina. The whole army pulled up to the city in the southern part of the state after light skirmishing. Sherman sent messengers to Wilmington, North Carolina to make contact with Major General John Schofield, in order to report his presence and arrange for coordination with the force coming in from the sea and form a two-pronged attack against Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s forces.

President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a pardon to all who had deserted from the military or naval forces of the United States and returned within sixty days. If they did not return, they would forfeit their rights of citizenship.

The U.S. Senate adjourned after a brief special session to deal primarily with appointments. Presidential secretary John Nicolay was confirmed as U.S. consul in Paris, France.

Sunday March 12, 1865

    Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army remained in Fayetteville, North Carolina. They undertook the usual destruction of machinery, buildings and property they deemed of use to the enemy, including the former U.S. Arsenal and the machinery brought up from the old Harper’s Ferry Arsenal in 1861. Sherman also ordered the coastal troops to march straight for Goldsborough, North Carolina.

Skirmishing occurred near Peach Grove, Virginia; Morganza Bend, Louisiana; and near Lone Jack, Missouri.

Monday March 13, 1865

CONFEDERACY APPROVES NEGRO SOLDIERS

The Confederate Congress, after much delay and debate, finally sent a measure calling for the enlistment of Negroes in the Army to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who immediately signed it. Davis was authorized to call upon owners to volunteer their slaves and, it was general understood even if it wasn’t specifically stated, that any slaves who fought for the Confederacy would be made free by action of the states. The law was too late to be of much value.

Skirmishing occurred at Fayetteville, North Carolina; Beaver Dam Station, Virginia; Charles Town, West Virginia; and Dalton, Georgia.

Tuesday March 14, 1865

Major General Jacob D. Cox’s Federal troops occupied Kinston, North Carolina, in their advance inland from the sea towards Goldsborough and a junction with Major General William T. Sherman’s army.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of March 8-14, 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 duty at Fayetteville, North Carolina until March 19, 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 Campaign against Mobile, Alabama and its defenses until March 26, 1865.

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

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Campaign against Mobile, Alabama and its defenses until March 26, 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.

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

ENGAGEMENT AT WAYNESBOROUGH, VIRGINIA

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

LINCOLN’S SECOND INAUGURATION

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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: February 22-28, 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 February 22, 1865

The Federals entered Wilmington, North Carolina without opposition. The last major port of the South was now lost as Confederate General Braxton Bragg had withdrawn the last of his troops before daylight broke. The Confederates were able to remove their most important stores with the help of the Weldon and Wilmington Railroad, but the rest was destroyed. The two-pronged Federal attack under Major General John Schofield was a success.

Official orders from Confederate General-in-Chief Robert E. Lee assigned General Joseph E. Johnston to the Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and the Department of Tennessee and Georgia. Johnston was ordered to concentrate all available forces, especially those coming in from the West.

Tennessee voters approved the new state constitution which included the abolition of slavery and abrogation of all Confederate debts. However, Kentucky rejected the Thirteenth Amendment which abolished slavery.

Thursday February 23, 1865

MINNESOTA RATIFIES 13th AMENDMENT

Federal troops at Wilmington, North Carolina consolidated their gains while the advance of Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops crossed the Catawba River in South Carolina, getting closer to the North Carolina line. A light skirmish occurred near Camden, South Carolina as heavy rains moved in halting the advance.

Minnesota ratified the Thirteenth Amendment.

Friday February 24, 1865

The heavy rain holding up Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s advance also hindered the ability for the Confederates to concentrate their forces.

Skirmishing occurred at Camden, South Carolina and at Switzler’s Mill, Missouri.      

Saturday February 25, 1865

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston assumed command of the Army of Tennessee, now in the Carolinas, and all troops in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Johnston pointed out to General Robert E. Lee, the Confederacy’s General-in-Chief, the difficulties of concentrating his Confederates and stress that he had between 20,000 and 25,000 men to oppose the Federal army under Major General William T. Sherman coming north from South Carolina.

Skirmishing occurred at West’s Cross Roads, South Carolina; and at Piketon, Kentucky.

Sunday February 26, 1865

    Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s advance troops reached Hanging Rock, South Carolina, but other movements were slowed by the heavy rains. Skirmishing occurred at Lynch’s Creek and near Stroud’s Mill, South Carolina.

Monday February 27, 1865

Federal Major General Phil Sheridan’s force of ten thousand cavalry left Winchester, Virginia and headed south to destroy the Virginia Central Railroad and James River Canal, under orders from Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant. They were then to take Lynchburg and then either join Major General William T. Sherman in North Carolina or return to Winchester, Virginia. Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early only had two weakened brigades and a few pieces of artillery to halt Sheridan’s movements.

Minor skirmishing occurred at Mount Elon and Cloud’s House, South Carolina; Sturgeon, Missouri; and at Spring Place, Georgia.

Tuesday February 28, 1865

Skirmishes near Rocky Mount and Cheraw, South Carolina marked the march of Federal Major General William T. Sherman, while Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston was attempting to create a plan to oppose the Federal advance. As the month ended, the entire Confederate military position was quite precarious.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of February 22-28, 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 the march through the Carolinas until March 3, 1865.

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

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in New Orleans, Louisiana until March 5, 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 the march through the Carolinas until March 3, 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.

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This Week in the American Civil War: February 15-21, 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 February 15, 1865

Fairly heavy skirmishing occurred at Congaree Creek, Savannah Creek, Bates’s Ferry, Red Bank Creek and Two League Cross Roads, South Carolina as the Federal army marched toward Columbia. They made rapid progress despite opposition from Confederates, difficult swamps, mud, rivers, burned bridges and blocked roads.

Thursday February 16, 1865

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army arrived on the south bank of the Congaree River opposite Columbia, the capital of South Carolina. Some Federal shells were fired into the city towards the railroad depot, and Federal troops could see people, including a few Confederate cavalry, running through the streets in confusion. Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard sent a telegram to General Robert E. Lee notifying the general-in-chief that Beauregard had to abandon the city because he did not have enough troop strength to hold it. By late afternoon, Beauregard and his troops evacuated the city.

Skirmishing took place at Bennett’s Bayou and Tolbert’s Mill, Arkansas; Gurley’s Tank, Alabama; and Cedar Keys, Florida. Confederates attacked the garrison at Athens and Sweet Water, Tennessee.

Friday February 17, 1865

The mayor of Columbia, South Carolina and a delegation of officials rode out in carriages to meet the Federal troops and surrender the city. As Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army entered the capital, remnants of Confederate cavalry fled. The blue-clad troops were met by jubilant Federal prisoners and Negroes. In the new state Capitol building, boisterous Federal soldiers held a mock session of the “state legislature” after imbibing in confiscated liquor supplies. While Sherman and his officers took up headquarters in some of the elegant mansions of the tree-shaded rural capital, much of the city burned. The Federals blamed newly promoted Confederate Lieutenant General Wade Hampton and his cavalry for the destruction. Hampton’s troops set fire to cotton bales before evacuating the city. However, Confederates called it barbaric and blamed Sherman, making the burning of Columbia a symbol of the Federal invasion. Historians still have not discovered the true cause of the burning of Columbia a century-and-a-half later.      

Saturday February 18, 1865

As the city of Columbia, South Carolina was burning itself out, Federal Major General William T. Sherman added to its toll by ordering the destruction of railroad depots, supply houses and other public buildings that he deemed to be of military significance.

Federal naval units bombarded Fort Anderson on the Cape Fear River as the combined land and sea forces began their campaign for Wilmington, North Carolina. There was also skirmishing at Fort Anderson and Orton Pond, as Federals probed the land defenses below Wilmington.

A scheduled vote on the recognition and admission of the restored state of Louisiana to Congress was postponed in the U.S. Senate.

Sunday February 19, 1865

    Federal Major General Jacob D. Cox’s army was on its way to outflank Fort Anderson and the Confederate defense line on the west side of the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, North Carolina. By evening, the Federals had marched about fifteen miles in a detour around the enemy works and fought off several skirmishes, including one at Town Creek. In front of Fort Anderson, the infantry had demonstrated while the Federal navy cannonaded the fort. During the night, the Confederates pulled out towards Wilmington and on the east side of the Cape Fear River.

At Columbia, South Carolina, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s men continued to destroy the arsenal, railroad installations, machine shops, foundries, and railroad lines.

Monday February 20, 1865

Federal troops marched rapidly towards Wilmington, North Carolina. They had outflanked the defenders on the west bank of the Cape Fear River, but still faced opposition on the east bank.

Skirmishing occurred at Fort Myers, Florida and at Centre Creek, Missouri.

The Confederate House of Representatives authorized the use of slaves as soldiers after a lengthy debate.

Tuesday February 21, 1865

The Federal forces in North Carolina were close to Wilmington, with shaky resistance in front of them. Columns of smoke rose in the city as the Confederates destroyed their stores. Confederate General Braxton Bragg arrived and ordered the evacuation in order to preserve what force he had left in the city.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s advance forces were on the march from Columbia through the northern part of South Carolina.

The Confederate Senate postponed debate on the House bill authorizing the use of slaves as soldiers.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee ordered General Joseph E. Johnston to report for duty to replace General P.G.T. Beauregard in the Carolinas.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of February 15-21, 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 the march through the Carolinas until March 3, 1865.

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

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in New Orleans, Louisiana until March 5, 1865.

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

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Washington, D.C. until February 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 the march through the Carolinas until March 3, 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 February 20, 1865. 

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

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This Week in the American Civil War: February 8-14, 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 February 8, 1865

The United States House of Representatives passed a joint resolution declaring that the states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee were not entitled to representation in the Electoral College. President Abraham Lincoln signed the resolution but failed to offer an opinion on the matter and disclaimed any right to interfere in the counting of ballots.

Skirmishing occurred at Williston, White Pond and at Cannon’s Bridge in South Carolina; New Market and Bradfordsville, Kentucky; and near Rush Creek, Nebraska Territory.

Massachusetts and Pennsylvania became the next states to ratify the 13th Amendment.

Thursday February 9, 1865

Federal Major General Quincy A. Gillmore took command of the Department of the South, replacing Major General John G. Foster. Federal Major General John M. Schofield assumed command of the Department of North Carolina. Schofield’s 23rd Corps advance units arrived at Fort Fisher, North Carolina, to prepare an attack on Wilmington and eventual joining with Major General William T. Sherman in North Carolina.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee assumed his duties as General-in-Chief of the Confederate Armies and pledged to rely on the field commanders in the operation. He also proposed a pardon to deserters who reported back to the army within 30 days. Confederate President Jefferson Davis approved the measure.

Unionists in Virginia ratified the 13th Amendment.

Friday February 10, 1865

President Abraham Lincoln reported to the United States House of Representatives, a status on the Hampton Roads Conference.

Skirmishing occurred on James Island and at Johnson’s Station, South Carolina, as Confederates guarded against attack from both Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s forces and from the sea.

All Federal troops in the Departments of Kentucky and the Cumberland were declared subject to the orders of Major General George H. Thomas, except for posts protecting the Mississippi River.

Confederate Captain Raphael Semmes was named Rear Admiral, C.S.A., and put in command of the James River Squadron.

Ohio and Missouri ratified the 13th Amendment.      

Saturday February 11, 1865

Fighting took place at Aiken, Johnson’s Station, near Sugar Loaf, at Battery Simkins and around Orangeburg, South Carolina; Clear Creek and Pine Bluff, Arkansas; and at Williamsburg, Virginia.

Sunday February 12, 1865

    The electoral vote was taken in the United States House of Representatives and Abraham Lincoln was officially re-elected with 212 votes to 21 for George B. McClellan.

President Lincoln, meanwhile, was still concerned by reports that Missouri provost marshals were selling confiscated property.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops swept enemy opposition from the Orangeburg Bridge on the North Edisto River as the march continued through South Carolina. Other skirmishing occurred near Columbia and Macon, Missouri; Lewisburg, Arkansas; and Waterloo, Alabama.

Monday February 13, 1865

Prospects for success remained dim for Confederates in South Carolina as General P.G.T. Beauregard had only remnants of troops available to defend Augusta, Georgia.

In Richmond, Virginia and elsewhere throughout the South there was increasing insistence that General Joseph E. Johnston be put in overall command in the Carolinas, though General Robert E. Lee believed that continual command change was unwise, even though he personally had a good opinion of Johnston.

In London, Lord Russell protested to Federal commissioners against the St. Albans, Vermont, Raid of Oct. 19, 1864, its aftermath in Canada and general activity on the Great Lakes waterways.

Tuesday February 14, 1865

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops pushed across the Congaree River and the army turned towards Columbia. Skirmishing flared at Wolf’s Plantation and Gunter’s Bridge on the North Edisto River, South Carolina.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of February 8-14, 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 the march through the Carolinas until March 3, 1865.

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

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in New Orleans, Louisiana until March 5, 1865.

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

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Washington, D.C. until February 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 the march through the Carolinas until March 3, 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 February 20, 1865. 

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

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

After two weeks of preliminary movements and extensive preparation, Federal Major General William T. Sherman actively began his march into South Carolina from Savannah, Georgia and Beaufort, South Carolina. The troops of the Fifteenth and Seventeenth Army Corps moved ahead despite felled trees and burned bridges. The well-trained pioneer battalions quickly cleared the way. Confederate cavalry attempted to hinder the advance forcing skirmishes at Hickory Hill and Whippy Swamp Creek, South Carolina.

Illinois became the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery. President Abraham Lincoln signed a resolution submitting the amendment to the states even though his signature was not required.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis reluctantly accepted the resignation of Secretary of War James A. Seddon. A Virginia delegation in the Confederate Congress even called for relieving all of the Confederate Cabinet, though Davis defended his right to choose his own advisors.

Thursday February 2, 1865

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s right wing was on the Salkehatchie River in South Carolina. The rivers and swamps were as much obstacles to the Federal advance into South Carolina as the Confederate cavalry and other troops trying in vain to block their way. Severe skirmishing occurred at Lawtonville, Barker’s Mill on Whippy Swamp, Duck Branch near Loper’s Cross Roads, and Rivers’s and Broxton’s bridges on the Salkehatchie River.

Rhode Island and Michigan joined Illinois in ratifying the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery.

President Abraham Lincoln left Washington, D.C. for Hampton Roads, Virginia, where the three Confederate commissioners were already gathered. They were Vice President Alexander Stephens, Assistant Secreatry of War and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John A. Campbell, and Senator R.M.T. Hunter. In the evening, Lincoln arrived at Fort Monroe and boarded the River Queen, where Secretary of State William H. Seward already had his headquarters.

Friday February 3, 1865

HAMPTON ROADS CONFERENCE

Five men sat in the salon of the River Queen in Hampton Roads off of Fort Monroe, Virginia, discussing the fates of the United States and Confederate States of America. On one side, President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward; the other side featured Vice President Alexander Stephens, R.M.T. Hunter of Virginia, and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John A. Campbell. The terms of resolution by the United States were for unconditional submission. The Confederate commissioners reported back to President Jefferson Davis, effectively ending the only real effort at peace that was made before surrender occurred months later at a heavier price in dollars and men.

Maryland, New York and West Virginia ratified the 13th Amendment, bringing the total number of states to six.        

Saturday February 4, 1865

President Abraham Lincoln returned from the unsuccessful Hampton Roads conference and reported to the Cabinet. He again told Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant through Secretary of War Edwin Stanton that nothing should cause any change or delay of Grant’s military operations.

Skirmishing occurred at Angley’s Post Office and Buford’s Bridge in South Carolina.

Federal Major General John Pope assumed command of the Military Division of the Missouri.

Discouraged by Federal advances in South Carolina, Confederate President Jefferson Davis wrote to General P.G.T. Beauregard at Augusta, Georgia that things were worse than he expected and that Beauregard should take overall command in Georgia and concentrate as many troops as possible.

Sunday February 5, 1865

    Federal Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant ordered the Second and Fifth Corps, along with cavalry, towards the Boydton Plank Road and Hatcher’s Run in an attempt to extend the Federal lines south and west of Petersburg, Virginia, in order to weaken the already strained defensive positions of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.  The Confederates moved troops into the vicinity but could only do little against the stronger Federal infantry and cavalry units at Hatcher’s Run.

In South Carolina, skirmishing occurred at Duncanville and Combahee Ferry, as Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s four corps continued to cross the various streams and swamps of the southern part of the state.

In other areas, skirmishing occurred at Charles Town, West Virginia; Braddock’s Farm near Welaka, Florida; and McMinnville, Tennessee.

Monday February 6, 1865

Confederate President Jefferson Davis named Major General John C. Breckinridge as Confederate Secretary of War, replacing James A. Seddon. The Senate approved the appointment on the same day.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee received his orders to assume the duties as General-in-Chief of the Armies, as provided for by the Act of the Confederate Congress and approved by Davis. While important posts, these two appointments came too late in the war to have much of a  bearing on its outcome.

On the Petersburg, Virginia front, fighting at Hatcher’s Run increased. Confederate Brigadier General John Pegram, commanding a Confederate division, was killed while trying to halt the Federal advance.

Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s troops fought against Confederates trying to delay the advance at Fishburn’s Plantation near Lane’s Bridge on the Little Salkehatchie River, at Cowpen Ford, and at Barnwell, South Carolina.

Tuesday February 7, 1865

Two more states ratified the 13th Amendment, bringing the total to eight. Delaware voted on the measure but it failed to receive the necessary votes.

The fighting at Hatcher’s Run, Virginia ended with Federals abandoning the Boydton Plank Road but fortifying their new lines to Hatcher’s Run at the Vaughan Road Crossing, three miles below Burgess’s Mill. The 46,000-strong Confederate army now had to defend over 37 miles of Richmond-Petersburg lines. This was the last major Federal move to extend the lines prior to the final push in late March and early April. It came at a cost of 170 killed, 1160 wounded and 182 missing for an aggregate Federal loss of 1,512. Confederate casualties are unknown out of approximately 14,000 engaged.

In South Carolina, Federal Major General William T. Sherman’s army continued their march against light Confederate resistance. The geographical obstacles like the swamps and rivers proved to be more resistance than the Confederate army, though skirmishing took place at Blackville and at the Edisto River Bridge.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of February 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 the march through the Carolinas until March 3, 1865.

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

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in New Orleans, Louisiana until March 5, 1865.

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

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty in Washington, D.C. until February 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 the march through the Carolinas until March 3, 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 February 20, 1865. 

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

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