On Monday, January 23, 1865 President Jefferson Davis signed an act of the Confederate Congress providing for the appointment of a General-in-Chief of Confederate Armies. Despite Lee’s reluctance to be “gifted” with the responsibility, Congress obviously had that officer in mind when proposing the new command. On the same day General Richard Taylor assumed control of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, given the resignation of John Bell Hood after the disaster at Nashville. With his new command now reduced to approximately eighteen thousand men since the bulk of the army had been sent
Union General William Tecumseh Sherman on Thursday, January 19, 1865 ordered his army on a new march from the Savannah, Georgia area northward into South Carolina. With a goal of reaching Goldsborough, North Carolina by March 15, Sherman expected little, substantive resistance; few effective Confederate forces opposed him. There were simply not enough Confederate troops available to Hardee, Beauregard, or others to stop Sherman’s drive. Adding insult to injury, the demeanor of Sherman’s army also changed as it moved into South Carolina. The state had been the birthplace of the rebelli
On Thursday, January 19, 1865 President Abraham Lincoln made an interesting request to General Ulysses Grant, inquiring if the general would consider a military appointment for Robert Lincoln, the president’s twenty-two year old son who had just graduated from Harvard but desired to participate in the Civil War “before it ends.” Mary Lincoln had for several years thwarted Robert’s desire to enter the military. Somewhat embarrassed by his request, the president asked Grant to respond not as if he were president, but as a friend. Grant soon appointed Robert Lincoln to the rank of captain
On Monday, January 16, 1865 in Richmond, Virginia the Confederate Senate overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution, declaring that the Confederate Congress believed that the South’s premier military leader, General Robert E.
News of Ft. Fisher’s capitulation spread rapidly throughout both the North and the South, since the fort’s capture essentially cut off Wilmington, North Carolina, the South’s last, major access point for blockade runners.
On January 13, 1865, after a three-day bombardment during which Admiral David Porter’s navy fired approximately 20,000 artillery rounds at Fort Fisher, eight thousand troops under General Alfred Terry landed on a narrow flat north of the fort. Terry’s troops dug in, expecting resistance from some 6000 Confederates from nearby Wilmington under Braxton Bragg. Bragg, however, elected not to come to the assistance of Fort Fisher, despite appeals by both Fisher’s commander Colonel William Lamb and General W. H. C.
Anticipating that General Richard Taylor, the only son of President Zachary Taylor, would soon be appointed to replace John Bell Hood as the commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, President Jefferson Davis on Friday, January 13, 1865 wrote Taylor, noting “Sherman’s campaign has produced bad effect on our people, success against his future operations is needful to reanimate public confidence. Hardee requires more aid than Lee can give him, and Hood’s army is the only source to which we can now look.” Davis advised that some of Hood’s troops had to be kept in the West to hold Uni
On Thursday, January 12, 1865 in Richmond, Virginia Francis Preston Blair, Sr., a Democrat who abandoned his party and helped establish the Republican Party in the 1850s, meet with President Jefferson Davis, discussing unofficially the possibilities for peace. With Lincoln’s apparent blessings, Blair made a series of suggestions to Davis. From this meeting Blair procured a letter to Lincoln, expressing Davis’ willingness “to enter into conference, with a view to secure peace to the two countries.” That would be a problem; Davis did not wish to relinquish independence of the southern st
In the early evening hours of Thursday, January 12, 1865 a large Federal naval flotilla of approximately thirty warships, bearing 627 pieces of heavy artillery, and troop transports carrying some eight thousand troops arrived off the coast from Fort Fisher. With calm seas to assist them, both Admiral David Porter’s naval personnel and General Alfred Terry’s infantry were anxious to erase the blunders of last month’s abortive attempt to take the vital fortification which had helped keep Wilmington, North Carolina partially open to southern blockade runners. A massive artillery barrage an