This week in the Civil War Feed

This week in the Civil War for March 29, 1865

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The forces of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee reached the breaking point this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. Lee ordered infantry and cavalry units to hold a key defensive line at Five Forks, Virginia, only to come under withering Union attack. Union forces took many prisoners as they beat back Lee's forces and soon cut off Lee's only remaining supply line for the Confederacy to Petersburg and nearby Richmond, Virginia, seat of the Confederacy. News reports of the week recalled bloody combat and thousands of Confederates taken prison as the Southern troops were rapidly becoming demoralized. The dire turn of events forced Lee to inform Jefferson Davis that both cities would have to be evacuated and the Petersburg-Richmond siege lines abandoned. After a hasty Confederate evacuation begun on April 2, 1865, Union troops entered Richmond the next day. "Richmond and Petersburg Taken!" blared the New York Tribune in bold headlines in its April 4, 1865, edition. It added: "Colored Troops the First to Enter the Slaveholders' Capital ... THE REBELS LEAVE IN HASTE. Gen. Grant Attempting to Cut Off Lee's Escape." That same day, President Abraham Lincoln would visit the city, greeted by jubilant former slaves. Lee's surrender would only be a matter of days.

From The Associated Press


This week in the Civil War for March 22, 1865

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President Abraham Lincoln, his Union forces nearing victory after years of bloody conflict, visited the military headquarters of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at City Point, Virginia, this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. City Point — where the James and Appomattox Rivers meet — proved to be a strategic spot where Grant had his headquarters for months while leading the siege of Petersburg, Virginia. Lincoln, arriving aboard the River Queen at City Point, was briefed by Grant and other Union military leaders about efforts to bring about an end to the war. The site, several miles from the Petersburg siege lines, afforded the Union forces easy supply lines to the front. Fighting continued nearby in Virginia during the week. Grant reported in a statement to the Secretary of War that his forces had taken hundreds of Confederates prisoner after they attacked his forces in the state, adding the Union repulsed the attack "with great loss to the enemy."

From: ABC News and the Associated Press


This week in the Civil War for March 15, 1865

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Days after President Abraham Lincoln began his second term, the Union scored a new victory in fighting in North Carolina 150 years ago in the Civil War. Troops under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and a fellow general collided with a Confederate force led by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston on March 19, 1865. The battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, came as Sherman's army was marching across North Carolina. Johnston attacked. Fierce fighting erupted. The Union counterattacked. Repeated Southern efforts to overrun the federal contingent failed after hours of hard fighting on March 19, 1865, and the combat would drag on two more days before the Confederates retreated. Though Sherman's advance was momentarily slowed by fighting at Bentonville, his forces continued their march across the Carolinas. One newspaper dispatch reported: "Sherman walks over the Carolinas as fearlessly and unconcerned as a giant." And it would only be a matter of weeks before the Union prevailed. The Cleveland Morning Leader signaled Northern morale was running high as it reported March 22, 1865, that some projections put a war-weakened Confederate army now at just over 120,000 troops. "Against this our forces, in the three armies of Grant, Sherman, and Schofield alone, muster more than 250,000 men. Who can doubt the result?"

From ABC News and the Associated Press


This week in the Civil War for March 8, 1865

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Fighting flared anew in North Carolina as Union forces sought to move inland from Wilmington, captured weeks earlier when the federal forces closed down the last major Atlantic seaport for the Confederacy. A Union force advancing under the command of Maj. Gen. John Schofield was halted by two Confederate divisions near Kinston, North Carolina, on March 7, 1865. The following day a Confederate attempt at an assault on the Union flanks began fiercely, but then broke down. By March 9, 1865, Union forces were able to repel further Confederate attacks and force the Southern divisions to retreat over days of hard fighting. Kinston, North Carolina, would fall later that week to the Union, 150 years ago in the Civil War.

From The Associated Press and ABC News


This week in the Civil War for March 1, 1865

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Astride the momentum of a string of Northern battlefield victories, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in this week 150 years ago to a second term as U.S. president. Lincoln's second inauguration opened on a damp, muddy day on March 4, 1865, in Washington, D.C. Where his oath four years earlier had been administered amid a growing, warlike atmosphere, his second swearing-in came as many sensed war was nearing an end with the North prevailing. Tens of thousands gathered as he delivered his second inaugural address on a day with sun breaking from the clouds. He spoke in stirring words of healing a nation long divided by war. And he delivered the oft-recalled phrase as he concluded his speech: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nations wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

From The Associated Press and ABC News


This week in the Civil War for February 8, 1865

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Union forces bidding to sever Confederate supply lines near Petersburg, Virginia, took the offensive against Confederate rivals this month 150 years ago in the Civil War. Union Cavalry fanned out down the Boydton Plank Road on a mission to search out and destroy Confederate supply wagons. Other Union troops taking part in the fight found themselves pushed back by fierce Confederate resistance. The fighting that began on Feb. 5, 1865, dragged on for two more days. In the end, Confederate soldiers thwarted the Union raiders but federal fighters at the end of the battle had gained new ground in what was part of the larger Richmond-Petersburg campaign.

From the ABC News and the Associated Press


This week in the Civil War for February 1, 1865

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Confederate Robert E. Lee was made commander-in-chief of all Confederate forces on Jan. 31, 1865, receiving the promotion even as the Southern war effort was faring badly.

By early 1865, the secessionists were hard-pressed by the Union on several sides. In early February 1865, Union Gen. William T. Sherman's troops were beginning to enter the Carolinas after their destructive march across Georgia in late 1864. In other developments, The Associated Press reported that a group of "rebel peace commissioners" had apparently arrived inside Union lines in early February 1865.

But their movements remained uncertain and there was no immediate report on their intent. The U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 31, 1865, passed the 13th Amendment proposing to formally abolish slavery. President Abraham Lincoln, noting the measure had passed the senate in April 1864, submitted the proposed amendment to state legislatures for their consideration. It would obtain ratification by the required number of states by December 1865.

From ABC News and the Associated Press


This week in the Civil War for January 15, 1865

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News reports this week 150 years ago in the Civil War focused on reports that Gen. William T. Sherman's Union forces — after reaching Savannah, Georgia before Christmas 1864 — were now poised to enter South Carolina.

The Springfield Republican of Springfield, Mass., noted the speculation on Jan. 30, 1864, that a move was planned while other reports said Sherman's forces were still resting just outside the state. The Cleveland Leader, of Cleveland, Ohio, reported, meanwhile, of a "Great Panic in South Carolina." The Newark (N.J.) Daily Advertiser cited reports of residents of South Carolina fleeing in anticipation of Sherman's advance "accompanied by families, flocks, herds, cattle, servants." Other reports, this week in 1865, spoke of the retirement of the Confederate secretary of state, saying the Confederate government appeared to be disintegrating amid a settling gloom over war developments.

From ABC News and the Associated Press


This week in the Civil War for January 18, 1865

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The Associated Press reported in a dispatch Jan. 16, 1865, that conditions appeared to be deteriorating for Robert E. Lee's Confederate forces in Virginia. The dispatch said heavy winter rains and flooding had destroyed "every culvert and bridge" along the Danville railroad that was a key supply route for Lee's army in Virginia. "Lee's army is likely to be out of rations altogether very soon," The AP dispatch said, adding that reports foodstuffs were running so low that many Confederates were though to "suffer almost starvation." It said the wipeout of the key rail supply line to Richmond marked a big blow for the Confederate capital. "As this is their main road by which they get their supplies to Richmond, it would not be strange if the state of affairs in this neighborhood should undergo an important change within a few days." The AP report did not elaborate further on the possible impact. Meanwhile, reports were just reaching Northern newspapers of the Union's successful on Fort Fisher in North Carolina. One account cited a report from the U.S. Flagship Malvern as saying big eleven-inch guns were used to bombard the fort hours. The dispatch added that "the fort was reduced to a pulp — every (Confederate) gun was silenced by being injured or covered up with earth, so that they would not work."


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/nation-world/article3616620.html#storylink=cpy

This week in the Civil War for January 11, 1865

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A heavy Union bombardment and second assault within weeks led to the federal capture of Fort Fisher in North Carolina. For Southerners who only recently rejoiced over an early Confederate success in turning back a Union attack on the fort in December 1864, it was demoralizing news. The fall of the fort effectively shut off the last Confederate seaport on the Atlantic coast. In the attack this month 150 years ago in the war, nearly 60 Union vessels rained hundreds of shells down on the stout parapets. Within two days, the Confederate garrison in the fort was overrun and had surrendered. Union troops would then march inland to ensure Wilmington was shut off from the coast, enduring heavy casualties en route.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/nation-world/article3616620.html#storylink=cpy