This Week in Georgia Civil War History
This Week in Georgia Civil War History
Apr. 2, 1865: After the loss at the Battle of Five Forks the previous day, and with his lone remaining supply line threatened, Confederate General Robert E. Lee informed Confederate President Jefferson Davis that Petersburg and Richmond must be evacuated. The Confederate Government immediately abandoned the Confederate capital city of Richmond. While this occurred, the Union launched an attack on the lines defending Petersburg - resulting the Battle of Petersburg - in which the Confederates were able to prevent the Union forces from entering the city on this night. Simultaneously, the Battle of Sutherland's Station took place, in which Union forces overran the road which served as the Confederates' last supply line. After the fighting on this day, all Confederate forces abandoned Petersburg and Richmond.
Drawing of Confederates Leaving Richmond
Things were not going any better further South for the Confederacy on this day, as Union General James H. Wilson defeated Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest at the Battle of Selma in Alabama. This was notable for for a couple of reasons - one Forrest had been a thorn in the side of Union forces since he joined the war effort, but this defeat showed he was not invincible. Secondly, Wilson's forces would be making appearances in Georgia soon.
Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her diary of preparing to leave her sister's home in south Georgia to return to her home in Washington, Georgia. She wondered if the war would end plantation life forever, and also commented on how it might affect slaves.
"I went to church at Mt. Enon. After service we stopped to tell everybody good-by, and I could hardly help crying, for we are to leave sure enough on Tuesday, and there is no telling what may happen before we come back; the Yankees may have put an end to our glorious old plantation life forever. I went to the quarter after dinner and told the negroes good-by. Poor things, I may never see any of them again, and even if I do, everything will be different. We all went to bed crying, sister, the children, and servants. Farewells are serious things in these times, when one never knows where or under what circumstances friends will meet again. I wish there was some way of getting to one place without leaving another where you want to be at the same time; some fourth dimension possibility, by which we might double our personality."
Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 127-128.
While the present situation was not appealing, The Daily Intelligencer of Atlanta chose to look back one year at the predictions for the war. They acknowledged the power of the Union, and the slaughter of so many soldiers in the past year, but still held out hope that somehow the South could overcome such overwhelming odds.
Apr. 3, 1865: Union forces occupied Richmond - the national capital of the Confederate States of America.
Drawing of Union Troops Entering Richmond
Richmond Ruins in front of Confederate Capitol, 1865
Graves of Confederate Soldiers with Wooden Markers, Richmond 1865
Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her diary of leaving her sister's to return home to Washington, Georgia, and of a brother being assigned to military duty in north Georgia.
"All of us very miserable at the thought of parting. Mrs. Meals goes with us as far as Wooten's, on her way to Gopher Hill, so sister and the children are left alone. Brother Troup has been ordered to Gen. Wofford's command in North Georgia, and this separation adds to her feeling of loneliness, but she and the children will soon join us in Washington, so it won't matter so much. The ride to Albany was very unpleasant, the sun scorching hot, the glare of the sand blinding, and Mrs. Meals with a headache. Mr. George Hull writes that the Georgia R.R. will be open for travel by the last of this month, and so our visits to Cuthbert and Macon will just fill in the interval for Mett and me. We can then go home by way of Atlanta. It is something to think we will be able to go all the way by rail and won't have to undergo that troublesome wagon ride again across the country."
Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), p. 130.
Apr. 4, 1865: President Abraham Lincoln visited Richmond - former capital of the Confederate States of America. He was met by cheering crowds - mostly former slaves. He even visited the former home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and sat at his desk for a moment.
Confederate White House - Home of Jefferson Davis in Richmond, 1865
Confederate Capitol, Richmond 1865
Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her diary of encountering a train load of Union prisoners leaving Andersonville.
"Up early and at the depot. Jim Chiles accompanied us as far as Smithville. We had to wait five hours there for the train to Cuthbert. The hotel was so uninviting that we stayed in the car, putting down the blinds and making ourselves as comfortable as we could. Capt. Warwick, who is stationed there, was very kind and attentive. He paid us a call in our impromptu parlor, and made some of his hands bring in buckets of water and sprinkle the floor to cool it off a little. Just before the train arrived on which we were to leave, there came one with 1,100 Yankee prisoners on their way from Anderson en route for Florida, to be exchanged.
The guard fired a salute as they passed, and some of the prisoners had the impudence to kiss their hands at us - but what better could be expected of the foreign riff-raff that make up the bulk of the Yankee army? If they had not been prisoners I would have felt like they ought to have a lesson in manners, for insulting us, but as it was, I couldn't find it in my heart to be angry. They were half- naked, and such a poor, miserable, starved-looking set of wretches that we couldn't help feeling sorry for them in spite of their wicked war against our country, and threw what was left of our lunch at them, as their train rattled by, thinking it would feed two or three of them, at least. But our aim was bad, and it fell short, so the poor creatures didn't get it, and if any of them noticed, I expect they thought we were only "d - d rebel women" throwing our waste in their faces to insult them. I am glad they are going to be exchanged, anyway, and leave a climate that seems to be so unfriendly to them, though I think it is the garden spot of the world. If I had my choice of all the climates I know anything about, to live in, I would choose the region between Macon and Thomasville. ... "
Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 130-132.
The Confederate Union of Milledgeville printed a brief item showing what many soldiers had to endure simply to clothe themselves in the closing days of the war.
The Southern Recorder of Milledgeville printed an editorial acknowledging the many setbacks the South had endured - and admitted even more might well occur - but still maintained independence could be won by "staying true to ourselves."
Apr. 5, 1865: Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown ordered the 1st Georgia Infantry Regiment, which was then composed of remnants of Georgia units from all around the state, to assemble in Macon - Georgia's temporary capital since the destruction of government buildings in Milledgeville.
Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her diary of fixing her sister's hair - which had changed after a bout with typhoid fever, and of meeting a soldier who had survived a serious wound. Finally, she mentioned hearing of the fall of Selma (see April 2).
"...I fixed Metta up beautifully, though, and she was very much admired. Her hair that she lost last fall, from typhoid fever, has grown out curly, and her head is frizzled beautifully all over, without the bother of irons and curl-papers. Metta says she never saw more elegant dressing than at Miss Long's wedding, which is a great credit to the taste and ingenuity of our Southern girls in patching up pretty things out of all sorts of odds and ends.
Capt. Tennille, an acquaintance of Garnett's, dined here, and five of Cousin Bolling's patients called in the afternoon. One of them, Capt. Guy, had had a curious experience with a minie ball that knocked out one tooth and passed out at the back of his neck without killing him. I laughed and told him he was certainly born to be hanged. Another poor fellow, with a dreadfully ugly face, had six battle scars to make him interesting.
A report has come that the Yankees have taken Selma, and a raid is advancing towards Eufaula, so that puts a stop to our Chunnennuggee trip. I can't say that I am disappointed, for I don't want to turn my face from home any more, but Mett was anxious to make the trip, and I thought it would be mean not to go with her. "
Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 133-134.
At Camp Sumter - Andersonville prison - officials announce that all of the inmates will soon be removed from the prison, except for 20 too sick to travel, and transferred to a Union headquarters in Jacksonville, FL, for exchange.
Apr. 6, 1865: Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, author of many of the letters used on this web site, was wounded April 2 at the Battle of Petersburg; he died on this day - a mere three days before the surrender at Appomattox. A man who had been with him wrote his wife with the sad news.
"...As you in all probability have not heard of the death of your husband and as I was a witness to his death I consider it my duty to write to you allthough I am a stranger to you. But your husband and myself have share the same dangers under the same army for the past four years, allthough I did not get acquainted with him until he was wounded. Him and myself was wounded the same day the second of April and were brought to Richmond that night layed in the cars that night and Richmond was evacuated the next day and we fell into enemy hands, but that morning before the Yankees got into Richmond we wer carried back on the other side of the river to Manchester wher the ladies dressed our wounds and had us moved to a house and all the attention was paid that could be given both by the ladies and private physicians of Manchester but it availed nothing in regards to your husband. He died on the 6th of April, but I am happy to say he died happy and I certainly think that he is now better off. A few minutes before he breathed his last he sang Jesus can make a dying bed as soft as downy pillows are & he said he would of liked to of seen you before he died. He said that the Lord's will be done and for you to meet him in heaven. ..."
Source: Jeffrey C. Lowe and Sam Hodges (eds.), Letters to Amanda: The Civil War Letters of Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), p. 209.
Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her diary of having a soldier play the flute for her, and of hearing of the fall of Richmond
"Capt. Greenlaw brought his flute and spent the morning. He is red-headed and ugly, but very musical, and such jolly good company that one can't help liking him. I don't know when I have met a person that seemed so genial and altogether lovable, in a brotherly sort of way.... I took a long walk through the village with Capt. Greenlaw after dinner, and was charmed with the lovely gardens and beautiful shade trees. On coming home, I heard of the fall of Richmond. Everybody feels very blue, but not disposed to give up as long as we have Lee. Poor Dr. Robertson has been nearly distracted since he heard the news. His wife and five little children are on a farm near Petersburg, and he don't know what is to become of them."
Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 134-135.
At the Battle of Sailor's Creek, approximately 25% of the retreating Confederate army was cut off by Union cavalry and other troops. Most surrendered, including eight Confederate generals. One general who was able to escape from another encounter on this day - the Battle of Rice's Station - was native Georgian James Longstreet, although his troops' progress was blocked by Union forces Longstreet was able to lead them towards joining with what remained of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.
Appomattox Campaign Map, National Park Service
Apr. 7, 1865: With the victories earlier this week, Union General Ulysses S. Grant wrote the following letter to Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE U. S.,
5 P.M., April 7, 1865.
GENERAL R. E. LEE
Commanding C. S. A.
The result of the last week must convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so, and regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further effusion of blood, by asking of you the surrender of that portion of the Confederate States army known as the Army of Northern Virginia.
U. S. GRANT,
And Lee responded.
April 7, 1865.
GENERAL: I have received your note of this day. Though not entertaining the opinion you express on the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia, I reciprocate your desire to avoid the useless effusion of blood, and therefore before considering your proposition, ask the terms you will offer on condition of its surrender.
R. E. LEE,
At the Battle of Cumberland Church in Virginia the Confederates won a small victory when they temporarily halted the Union advance. But at the Battle of High Bridge the Union forces were able to stop the Confederates from burning a major bridge, allowing them to keep following the retreating Confederates closely.
Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her diary of two colleges in the town they were passing through being used for hospitals, and of hearing more bad news from the war front.
"...The two female colleges have been turned into hospitals, one of which is under Cousin Bolling's charge.
The news this evening is that Montgomery has gone, and the new capital of the Confederacy will be either Macon, or Athens, Georgia. The war is closing in upon us from all sides. I am afraid there are rougher times ahead than we have ever known yet. I wish I was safe at home. Since Brother Troup has been ordered from Macon our chance of getting a government wagon is gone, and the railroad won't be finished through to Atlanta for a week or ten days yet. If ever I do get back home again, I will stay there till the war is over."
Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 135-136.
Apr. 8, 1865: Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee continued their correspondence regarding a possible surrender, Grant wrote first.
GENERAL R. E. LEE,
Commanding Confederate States Army
Your note of last evening in reply to mine of same date, asking the condition on which I will accept the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia is just received. In reply I would say that, peace being my great desire, there is but one condition I would insist upon, namely: that the men and officers surrendered shall be disqualified for taking up arms again against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged. I will meet you, or will designate officers to meet any officers you may name for the same purpose, at any point agreeable to you, for the purpose of arranging definitely the terms upon which the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia will be received.
U. S. GRANT,
I received at a late hour your note of to-day. In mine of yesterday I did not intend to propose the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, but to ask the terms of your proposition. To be frank, I do not think the emergency has arisen to call for the surrender of this army, but as the restoration of peace should be the sole object of all, I desired to know whether your proposals would lead to that end. I cannot, therefore, meet you with a view to the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia; but as far as your proposal may affect the Confederate States forces under my command and tend to the restoration of peace, I should be pleased to meet you at ten A.M. to-morrow on the old stage road to Richmond, between the picket lines of the two armies.
R. E. LEE,
At the Battle of Appomattox Station, Union forces under General George A. Custer captured several Confederate supply trains - carrying both weaponry and provisions.
Eliza Frances Andrews wrote in her diary of how gloomy everyone felt about the war, and of having to deal with small south Georgia pests.
"Cousin Bolling has returned from his visit to Americus. Mary, Lizzie, Mett, and I went to the depot to meet him and hear the news, then took a walk through Lovers' Lane, a beautiful shady road that runs through woods so thick as to make solid walls of green on either side. It is intersected with other roads as white and shady as itself, with all sorts of wild flowers blooming on the ground and climbing over the trees. This is indeed one of the loveliest villages I ever was in, but it has one most unromantic drawback; it is awfully infested with fleas. They are like an Egyptian plague, and keep you wriggling and squirming in a perpetual struggle against the vulgar impulse to scratch.
Everybody is talking about the gloomy aspect of affairs. Capt. Greenlaw spent the morning as usual, and the more I see of him the better I like him for his bright, cheery disposition. Among those who called in the evening, was a Mr. Renaud, of New Orleans, whom I liked very much. He has that charming Creole accent which would make it a pleasure to listen to him, even if he were not so nice himself. "
Source: Eliza Frances Andrews, The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, 1864-1865 (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908), pp. 136-137.
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