Sunday, February 15, 2015

Civil War - 150 Years ago this week - February 15-21,1865

February 15,1865-Confederate forces in Columbia, South Carolina bombard Union encampments across the Congaree River as both wings of General Sherman's army arrives south of the capital. The Confederates are shelling the approaching army to cover their evacuation north.

February 15,1865-The Union steamer 'Knickerbacker' runs hard aground at Smith's Point, Virginia and is burned by Confederate forces.

February 16,1865-Nevada, Indiana, and Louisiana ratify the 13th amendment. Nine states have completed their voting to date.

February 16,1865-To execute General Schofield's plan to evict Confederate defenders from Wilmington, North Carolina, General Jacob D. Cox ferries his XXII Corps up the Cape Fear River toward Smithville, North Carolina.

February 16,1865-Federal artillery batteries begin to shell Columbia, South Carolina. General Oliver O. Howard's troops deploy a pontoon bridge across the Broad River north of the city. Generals Beauregard and Hampton complete the evacuation of their forces from Columbia while General William Hardee flees Wilmington.

February 16,1865-The XXIII Corps of Schofield's army are ferried from Fort Fisher, North Carolina to Smithville on the Cape Fear River. The transports and gunboats are supplied by Admiral David D. Porter.

February 17,1865-The U.S. Congress refuses to accept any and all debts accrued by the Confederacy and individual Confederate  States.

February 17,1865-In the morning, town officials of Columbia, South Carolina ride out to surrender the city formally to Union General William T. Sherman and his army. The last of the Southern cavalry flees the city as the Northern troops occupy the capital. Officers and staff settle into a few of the fine mansions.

February 17,1865-By nightfall, blazes break out in Columbia. Many Union troops and some 20,000 residents fight the blaze but wind blown flames consume two thirds of the city. The burned capital stood as a symbol of the savage cruelty of Sherman's army while General Sherman was quick to blame the fleeing cavalry for setting the fires. The mansion owned by General Wade Hampton was completely destroyed. General Hampton was commander of the Southern cavalry opposing Sherman.

February 17,1865-Federal warships bombard Fort Anderson, North Carolina. Admiral Porter's crew built a fake ironclad from a scow, limber, and canvas. They named the fake "Old Bogey" and pushed her to the head of the line where she drew most of the fire with little damage to other ships.

February 18,1865-Robert E. Lee reluctantly agrees to arming slaves to fight for the southern cause. He feels that the slaves must be employed as freed men.

February 18,1865-General Sherman orders all factories, supply houses, and railroad facilities in Columbia to be burned to deny their use to the Confederacy.

February 18,1865-General Alexander Schimmelfenning leads his Union forces into Charleston, South Carolina and captures the town.

February 19,1865-Union troops under command of General Jacob D. Cox board boats to run past Fort Anderson on the Cape Fear River at Wilmington, North Carolina. Before they launch, Confederate General Johnson Hagood evacuates his post at Fort Anderson, fleeing eight miles north to Town Creek.

February 20,1865-The Confederate House of Representatives approves the use of African American men as soldiers.

February 20,1865-Having finished the destruction at Columbia, General Sherman begins to move toward Goldsborough, North Carolina.

February 20, 1865-General Cox corners Hagood's Brigade at Town Creek. Three hundred and fifty Confederates are taken as prisoners.

February 20,1865-In Florida, 500 Confederate infantry and cavalry troops besiege Fort Myers housing a Union garrison of 275 Union soldiers. No assault is launched but an artillery dual at long range lasted most of the day. Union Captain James Doyle has four wounded and four missing while Confederate Major William Footman loses about 40 men. This is the southern most battle of the Civil War.

February 21,1865-The Confederate Congress postpones the authorization of the bill to allow freed slaves to become soldiers. Intense debate re-opened a day after the initial vote was completed.

February 21,1865-General Lee alerts Confederate Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge that it may become necessary to abandon Richmond and Petersburg so he can move to Burkeville to maintain communication with Confederate forces in the Carolinas. General Lee also mentions the ill health of General Beauregard and asks for Joseph E. Johnston to be returned to active duty.

February 21,1865-Admiral David D. Porter's Squadron rings Fort Strong, North Carolina on the Cape Fear River. Army troops approach the fort while the squadron concentrates fire on the structure.