Saturday, February 28, 2015

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - March 1-7, 1865

March 1,1865-Wisconsin ratifies the 13th amendment but the amendment is rejected by New Jersey.

March 1,1865-At Mount Crawford, Virginia, General George Custer's Union troops and General Thomas Rosser's Confederates skirmish when General Rosser directs his troops to burn the bridge over the Middle Fork of the Shenandoah River. General Custer, with many more troops available to quickly put the fire out, charges over the bridge and defeats Rosser's unit.

March 2,1865-General Robert E. Lee requests a conference with General Ulysses S. Grant. General Grant turns down the invitation stating that he lacks the authority to convene such a meeting.

March 2,1865-After General Rosser's cavalry is scattered at the Middle Fork Bridge, they join General Gabreil C. Wharton's division on a ridge near Waynesboro, Virginia. Warton's 2,000 Confederates and Rosser's few hundred cavalry are the remnants of General Jubel Early's once feared army which had ruled the Shenandoah Valley.

March 2,1865-General George Custer observes that General Rosser lacks enough defenders to guard both flanks and soon encircles the Confederate left without being detected. At 3:00 PM, Custer charges the left flank and orders two brigades to charge the center of the Confederate Army. General Early and his Staff flee. General Custer's men take 1,600 prisoners, 17 flags, 11 cannon, and 200 wagons. The Confederates suffer with 900 dead or wounded. The four year control of the Shenandoah Valley by the Confederate forces ends.

March 3,1865-President Lincoln sends instructions via Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton to General U.S.Grant to ignore any request for a war conference unless General Robert E. Lee surrenders first.

March 3,1865-In a move to improve funding for the war effort, the U.S. Congress levies a 10% tax on state bank notes. This tax is designed to force states to join the national banking system and use Federal Bank notes.

March 3,1865-The Bureau for the Relief of Freedmen and Refugees (later the Freedman's Bureau),is formed to assist former slaves to find work, education, and land. This is the nation's first social welfare agency and served some 4 million former slaves.

March 3,1865-General Philip Sheridan occupies Charlottesville, Virginia and then moves on to Petersburg.

March 3,1865-General Sherman's army forces the Confederate units across the Pee Dee River. The Union occupies Cheraw, South Carolina.

March 4,1865-President Lincoln's second inauguration takes place in Washington D.C. His eloquent conciliatory speech begins: "With  malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness for the right...." Vice President Andrew Johnson delivered a rambling speech that offended many in the audience.

March 4,1865-At General Grant's request, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Wells sends several heavy monitors up the James River to City Point. The river is running high with the recent rains and these heavy guns will further secure General Grant's main supply base.

March 4,1865-Federal gunboats, the USS General Burnside and General Thomas, steam down the Tennessee River to Muscle Shoals, Alabama. General Philip D. Roddey's encampment is bombarded and Union shore parties secure the position.

March 5,1865-Secretary of Treasury William Fessenden resigns after winning re-election as a senator from Maine. Hugh McCulloch (former Comptroller of Currency)is appointed Secretary of the Treasury.

March 6,1865-General Joseph E. Johnston formally takes charge of all Confederate forces in North Carolina.

March 6,1865-With General Hugh J. Kilpatrick's 4,000 man Union cavalry guarding the left flank, General Sherman moves across the Pee Dee River, South Carolina. Approaching Fayetteville, North Carolina, a large supply base is established at New Bern.

March 6,1865-Union General John Newton's 600 man expedition encounters strong Confederate defenses at Natural Bridge, Florida. After repeated attempts to flank the position, General Newton falls back to entrenchments. Southern reinforcement bring the total Confederate force to about 1,000. Union troops hold off a heavy attack and withdraw back to the coast. This minor Southern victory prevents a planned attack on the state capital at Tallahassee.

March 7,1865-In testimony before Congress, Admiral David D. Porter offers negative comments concerning Generals Benjamin Butler and Nathaniel P. Banks.

March 7,1865-General Jacob Cox and 13,000 Union soldiers repairing railroads leading toward Goldsborough, North Carolina, run into a smaller Confederate force at Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Confederates are massed to wait for the rest of the Army of Tennessee. About 6,500 Confederate troops under General's Robert Hoke and Braxton Bragg delay General Cox's Army when a day long artillery duel at long range takes place.