From our headquarters in Gettysburg, wishing you all, who celebrate, a joyous Easter Sunday.
The Civil War Chronicles is an organization dedicated to the education and enlightenment of the American Civil War.
From our headquarters in Gettysburg, wishing you all, who celebrate, a joyous Easter Sunday.
"If they do kill me, I shall never die another death." Abraham Lincoln
7:22am, April 15, 1865 that death came at the hands of John Wilkes Booth.
Goodnight from our Headquarters to yours.
And with an assassin's bullet on April 14, 1865 to the back of Abraham Lincoln's head, the President's life would end hours later. Jubilation turned to mourning in what could be said to be the culmination of four years of hard fought, was, when the man who saved the Union became a casualty himself like so many who fell before him.
Now, after 34 hours of bombardment, Fort Sumter surrenders to Confederates on April 13, 1861. It was not for almost another two and a half years that Union forces, in September, 1863, tried to regain control of Fort Sumter. Their efforts failed. With that failed attempt, it remained in Confederate hands until it was evacuated in February of 1865 when General Sherman's troops marched through South Carolina.
Photo credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Now, most people believe that the entire Army of Northern Virginia surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. But the truth is, there were other parts of the army that required more time to surrender. Therefore, today on April 11, 1865 General E.P. Alexander had lined up along the road leading out of town with 61 guns. That was all that was left of the mighty Army of Northern Virginia's artillery.
Grant and Lee met in the parlor of the Wilmer McLean home at 1:00pm, April 9, 1865. The terms of surrender for the Army of Northern Virginia were signed. Four bloody years of Civil War in the Eastern theater ended and in a larger sense ended the war itself with the exception of some smaller engagements in other theaters of the country.
Note: The last Confederate surrender took place November 6, 1865, when the Confederate warship CSS Shenandoah surrendered at Liverpool, England.
Now after being pushed back to Pittsburg Landing, Ulysses S. Grant receives the long awaited reinforcements from Don Carlos Buell and begins to form a plan. Sherman said "Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?" Grant looked up. "Yes," he replied, followed by a puff. "Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow, though." And that's exactly what happened, numbering close to 45,000 men the Confederate army of the Mississippi was no match for the Union juggernaut that counterattacked today April 7, 1862.
Within a hour of being shot, on the Shiloh battlefield, Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston's life faded away as he bled to death after a Minié ball entered his right leg severing his popliteal artery on April 6,1862.
Jefferson Davis called Johnston the Confederacy's finest general. He was laid to rest in New Orleans until 1867 when he was re-interred at the Texas State Cemetery with full honors in recognition of his service to Texas.
Photo credit: Library of Congress
Arabella "Belle" Macomber was born on October 20, 1840 in Shelbourne Falls, Massachusetts. In April 1860, Belle married William Reynolds, a druggist in Peoria, Illinois. A year later with the fall of Fort Sumter their young married life changed and their future was unknown. William enlisted to serve the Union and Belle followed him to serve as a nurse.
Now, as the Battle of Shiloh raged on in the Western Theater on April 6 & 7, 1862, Belle tirelessly worked to provide comfort to the wounded and dying in the hospital ships. Dressing wounds she worried about her husband. She "feared each moment to see him among the almost lifeless forms that were being brought on board the boat.”
Her husband survived the battle. Belle's health suffered under the grueling hours strung together and was sent back to Illinois. On the ship that carried her was the Governor of Illinois, Richard Yates. When he heard this brave young woman's story he, likely many others, was touched by her heroism.
On April 27, 1862, Yates commissioned Belle as Major in the US Army for her “meritorious conduct on the bloody battlefield of Pittsburg Landing [Shiloh]." She also received honorary status of Daughter of the Regiment for the Seventeenth Illinois.
Belle returned to the battlefield. Her husband fought at Vicksburg and she tended to the wounded. Both she and her husband mustered out in 1864 returning to Illinois.
The couple moved to Chicago where Belle studied and became a physician. They relocated to California to live out their lives where Belle practiced medicine and William found success in real estate. With failing health, William died in 1910 at age 76. Belle lived another 27 years. She passed away peacefully July 30, 1937 at the age of 96.
"A Civil War Captain and His Lady" by Gene Bare, Illinois Regimental History & Find A Grave
On April 5, 1839, Robert Smalls was born into slavery in Beaufort, S.C. His mother was Lydia and the identify of his father unknown. Smalls was educated and favored by the plantation owners. This stature with the owners afforded him opportunities not given to other slaves.
In, 1862, he devised a plan where he freed himself and his family from slavery in a daring move. Smalls asked permission for this family to visit him onboard the CSS Planter, a Confederate vessel he was working. He ultimately piloted the ship to the safety of Union Navy under a white sheet of surrender.
Smalls later went on to become a successful politician and businessman.
Photo credit: Hagley Museum, Wilmington, DE.
Now, the forth child, another son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln was born April 4, 1853. Thomas "Tad" Lincoln would out live two of his brothers and his father but die at the age of eighteen. Another sad tragic heartache for the mentally fragile Mary Lincoln to endure.
For more about Tad here are a couple of links.
Photos from the Lincoln Collection.
Born today April 4, 1841 in Swanton, VT Stephen F. Brown would enlist in the fall of 1862 in Company K of the 13th Vermont. He was popular with the men in his company and received promotion to First Lieutenant. Now, during the march to Gettysburg, Brown would disobey the forced march orders and allow his men to fill canteens. Due to this, he was placed under arrest. His sword and pistol taken from him. Once the regiment arrived on the field, unarmed Brown was determined to still lead his men into battle. He grabbed a camp hatchet. After Pickett's Charge he acquired a Confederate officer's sword. When the surviving members of the regiment came back to Gettysburg, they wanted to pay special tribute to the heroic actions of Lieutenant Brown so they included a statue of him holding the captured sword and the camp hatchet at his feet. Photos courtesy of Civil War Chronicles and stonesentiels.com
Outside of Petersburg, Ambrose Powell Hill was killed on April 2, 1865 as a bullet pierced his heart. When General Robert E. Lee heard of Hill's death he wept. It is reported he would say, “He is at rest now,” “and we who are left are the ones to suffer.”
159 years ago the Bread Riots occured on Richmond, Virginia. After stares seceded the population in the newly formed Capitol city of the Confederacy tripled and the Union blockade made it nearly impossible to get food from others countries.
Now, these hard conditions forced women, desperate to feed their children, to the storm the streets and brake into shops to steal mostly food and clothing. The militia was called to restore order. The riot was organized by a local citizen, Mary Jackson. Jackson was described as "tall, daring, Amazonian-looking", "strong features" "with the eye of the Devil."
Today on April 2, 1865 the union troops from the 6th corps crossed in front of their fortifications during the early morning. The objective was to break the confederate line and if possible enter Petersburg itself. Soon after the sun was barely up the whole line charged across no-man's land and stormed up to and over the breastworks. Among the first to enter the enemy lines was a sergeant in the 6th Maryland. It had been known to the troops that a reward or bounty had been issued by General Grant to the first person across the lines. When it came time to divy up the money John Buffington was not given his share even though several higher officers made his claim. He would return home to Taneytown, Maryland and try to live a normal life. Now a friend of his with political connections made sure that Buffington got the honor he deserved and on March 6, 1908 in front a packed opera house, Buffington received the medal of honor. He died in 1924 and the medal that he received was donated by his family to Pamplin Historical Park where it is currently on display. Photo courtesy of Civil War Chronicles
After four bloody years of conflict, the United States was on course to defeat the Confederacy. March 29, 1865, the final campaign of those four bloody years begins. Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant move against the trenches of Petersburg. Outnumbered with little supplies Lee was forced to evacuate the city and at the same time abandon Richmond, the capital city of the Confederacy. Now, this final phase of the war for the Army of Northern Virginia resulted in several smaller scale battles as Lee moved west, ultimately ending at Appomatox Courthouse, Virginia.
Now, there are things that people try to compete with.....but, it sure is hard to beat a Gettysburg sunset!
At the age of 53, on March 28, 1870, "the Rock of Chickamauga" General George Thomas died in California of a stroke. He is remembered for his successful defenses which prevented the Union Army from being totally routed at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863.
He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York.
Image from Flicker and Wikipedia.
Wade Hampton was born this day, March 28, 1818. Although he was against secession he did join the southern cause to fight for the Confederacy. Hampton, without official military training, rose to be a successful calvary commander. Robert E Lee promoted him to lead the calvary in 1864 after JEB Stuart's death and the victory at Trevilian Station.
You can find more on Wade Hampton through this link.
As Women's History Month comes to an end this week we celebrate and honor the great many women who sacrificed during the Civil War. Whether it was a wife left to raise children alone, a mother who sent her sons to war, a young woman turned nurse or physician, the countless of women who passed on information as spies and to those who took up arms to fight, these brave women are all hero's and deserve to be recognized and called hero for all their efforts.
Of these many women let us know in the comments who do you hold with high regard and why? Is there a good book you can recommend to us on these incredible women?
Images of Belle Boyd, Confederate Spy & Elizabeth Van Lew, Union Spy.
Samuel Kosciuszko Zook was born this day, March 27, 1821. Zook was mortally wounded at Gettysburg during the second day's fighting. He died on July 3, 1863. After hearing "the enemy in retreat. ‘Then I am perfectly satisfied,’ said the general, ‘and ready to die.’ He died within minutes of the news."
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