Civil War Daily Gazette

A Day-By-Day Accounting of the Conflict, 150 Years Later

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‘I Will Soon Be Home Once Again’

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May 28, 1865 (Sunday) Camp 133 Regt New York Vols Fort Meigs Md May 28 1865 Dear Sister Cate I will soon be home once again I think the Regt will leave for New York the first of next week and it will take about three weeks to get mustard out and then I will start for Michigan you may look for me about the middle of July if nothing hapens. the Rebbles are all played out so you see my occupation is gone. President Johnson has had Gov Brown of Georgia and the gov of Virginia (Reb) arrested and they are confined in prison here in Washington and we expect Gen Lee here soon to keep them company they all begin to see their mistake in having Lincoln assassinated for they will have a hard man to deal with now in Andrew Johnson we had a review of Grants and the army of the Shanandoah Vally in washing on the 23d of this month and on the 24th Shermans army was Reviewed by the… Read More

‘They Have Mustered Out Some Few’

Samuel Bassitt in the 1890s.

May 27, 1865 (Sunday) The mustering out of soldiers began almost immediately following the Grand Review. Some left as early as the 25th. For others, like sixteen year old Samuel Bassitt, who had volunteered the year previous. He had marched with Sherman’s army through Georgia and the Carolinas, but in early April, he came down with, as he put it, “the chronic diareah and I am getting rund down pretty low although I am up and around most all the time.” He found himself in a hospital in North Carolina, and was then shipped back to Ohio, where he whiled away his time at Camp Dennison until being mustered out in June. On this date, he wrote home. Camp Dennison Ohio May the 27 A.D. 65 Respected Father and Mother This being a wet and rainy morning I thought that I would engage my time in writing you a few lines to let you know that I am still on the land amonst the living and sincearly hope and trust that those few unworthy lines… Read More

The Last Great Book Sale!

Overland $40

With the war winding down, I need to do two things. First, I’ve got a mess ‘o books – far more than I have shelves, really. Second, I need to raise a bit of money to keep the website up and running for the next decade or so. And that brings us to this… Below you’ll find photos of the book lots that I’m selling. I tried to keep prices as cheap as possible (few bucks a book) and have made the shipping free. All of the books are in pretty good shape – some are basically new. You’ll be getting a handful of books to read and helping me out in the process. Your support is ridiculously appreciated and helpful. So how this works is you can drop me an email or a comment and let me know what you’d like. I’ll then send a PayPal invoice via email, which can be paid via your PayPal account or credit/debit card. I can’t accept checks/money orders,etc or any non-US orders (sorry!). If you’ve got any… Read More

The Final Surrender

Kirby Smith

May 26, 1865 (Saturday) While the surrender of Lee’s army had gone off with little trouble, and Johnston’s eventually worked out, that of Kirby Smith’s sprawling yet dwindling army west of the Mississippi was a different story. It had been coming, of course. Ever since they learned of Lee’s capitulation it was certain. There were some attempts to make such a surrender political rather than solely of the military, but any attempt at such a venture had been shut down before it even started. In all, the various Confederate leaders throughout Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas had tried four different times to come to some sort of agreement where the word “surrender” wouldn’t be bandied about so much. Those four were either shut down or came too late. Some even went as far as the assure the Federals that Kirby Smith had sent them – something which he later denied. On this date, , Generals Samuel Buckner, Sterling Price, and J.L. Brent took a steamer to New Orleans to meet with Union General Edward Canby. After… Read More

Citizenship of Former Slaves ‘Fearful to Contemplate’

South Carolinian slaves as photographed by Timothy O'Sullivan.

May 25, 1865 (Friday) Henry William Ravenel was a botanist from South Carolina. Through his studies he discovered numerous new species of fungi and is still remembered for his work. He was, however, also a slave owner. He had inherited his plantation from his father, and with this inheritance came families of slaves. As the war ended, he realized that slavery too was at an end. He despised abolitionist and Republicans, and had no idea how even the concept of emancipation might work. In his diary, on the 25th and 30th, he addressed this question, coming to no conclusions, but giving a slight glimpse into the complex relationship of the slave and slave owner. We still remain in doubt as to the emancipation policy. No official announcement except President Lincoln’s amnesty proclamation has been published… The party in power now are radical abolitionists and will do all in their power to urge it forward. Both policy and humanity would dictate that it should be gradual, so that both parties at the South may accommodate themselves… Read More

The Second and Last Day of the Great Pageant – The Grand Review of Sherman’s Armies

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May 24, 1865 (Thursday) As with the day previous, below you’ll find text pulled from the New York Times describing the second day of the Grand Review. It is accompanied by photographs taken mostly by Matthew Brady. The men who marched from the Ohio to the Tennessee under BUELL, only to march back again; who first penetrated down into Alabama under the daring and nervous MITCHELL; who fought at Perrysville under MCCOOK, and checked the advancing tide of the rebellion to again send it reeling southward, at Stone River, under the chivalrous ROSECRANS; who toiled over the rugged passes of the Cumberland Mountains and seized the great natural fortress of Chattanooga; who held the left with a tenacity that saved them from defeat at Chicamauga, under the ever-victorious THOMAS; who stormed Lookout Mountain, and fought above the clouds with HOOKER; who cut their way from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and from Atlanta to the sea; who swept the Carolinas as with a besom of destruction, and who gave the finishing blow to the great rebellion, in… Read More

Propitious Weather and a Splendid Spectacle – The Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac

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May 23, 1865 (Tuesday) Below are photos of today’s Grand Review culled from the Library of Congress. They are accompanied by selections of print from the New York Times. The Army of the Potomac has passed in review. The first day’s pageant is over, and to the correspondent falls the duty of depicting a scene almost devoid of incident, save in its grand aspiration. Every circumstance has combined to make it a complete success. The weather has been magnificent; the air, delightfully tempered by the rains of the past week, is cool and fragrant, and dust is for the time subdued. Washington has been filled as it never was filled before; the hotel-keepers assert that the pressure upon their resources never was so great, and thousands of people have been nightly turned away to seek a place of rest where best they might. At four o’clock this morning reveille was sounded in the camps of all the organizations composing this vast army, and by six o’clock breakfast had been eaten, baggage packed and loaded on… Read More

Jefferson Davis Finally Imprisoned

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May 22, 1865 (Monday) On this date, Jefferson Davis was removed from the steamer Clyde and taken to his cell inside Fortress Monroe. Below are four accounts, including that of Davis himself, of this day. Lieut. Col. Benjamin D. Pritchard, Fourth Michigan Cavalry We remained on shipboard until the 22d instant, disposing, meanwhile, of all the prisoners except Davis, Clay, and families, in obedience to orders from General Halleck, and as per receipts in my possession. On the afternoon of that day the prisoners Davis and Clay were transferred, under orders from the same source, to the casemates of Fortress Monroe and turned over to Brevet Major-General Miles, the Fourth Michigan Cavalry acting as special escort, after which it was temporarily assigned quarters within the fort. Virginia Clay-Clopton, wife of Clement Clay: On the morning of May 22d a sultry, drizzling rain fell. It was a day exactly calculated to induce melancholy even in the stoutest-hearted. To us, eagerly alert to learn what we might of our fate, it was unspeakably distressful. Shortly after breakfast… Read More

‘Mr. Davis Was Exceedingly Depressed’ – The Rebel President Arrives Before Hampton Roads

Jefferson Davis

May 21, 1865 (Sunday) On Board Steamer Clyde, Off Fortress Monroe, May 21, 1865. Major-General Halleck, U.S. Army: Sir: I have the honor to report the following-named prisoners and persons remaining in my custody on board this steamer after having made the transfers directed in your order of the 20th instant, viz: Jeff. Davis and family (a. wife and four children); Clement C. Clay and wife; Victor Maulin, major of artillery; George V. Moody, captain of artillery; Leland Hathaway, lieutenant of cavalry; Jeff. D. Howell, midshipman; William W. Munroe, private; John Messick, private; Miss Maggie Howell, sister of Mrs. Davis; two waiting maids, one white and one colored. I am. sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, B. D. PRITCHARD, Lieutenant-Colonel Fourth Michigan Cavalry. John Reagan, Confederate Treasury Secretary: At Augusta we were joined by Vice-President Stephens and General Wheeler, who had also been arrested. At Savannah we were all placed on a sternwheel steamer for the trip to Hampton Roads. Shortly after reaching there, Vice-President Stephens and I received notice that we were to go… Read More

The Testimony Most Wanted: Davis Approved of the Plot! (On the Other Hand….)

St. Albans Raid

May 20, 1865 (Saturday) Sanford Conover’s name was actually Charles Durham, and though he had been a clerk in the Confederate War Department, he was actually from New York. He had lived in Baltimore and Columbia, South Carolina. At the latter place, he was conscripted into the Rebel army, but was plucked from the ranks to work under James Seddon, the Confederate Secretary of War. Soon enough, he task was to get to Montreal, Canada, and slipped away in December of 1863, walking much of the ground to Washington. There, he became a reporter for the New York Tribune. This lasted until October of 1864, when he finally left for Canada. It was because of his pastimes in Canada that he was caught in the net cast after the assassination of President Lincoln. While in Canada, he became, as he testified on this date, “intimately acquainted” with the likes of Jacob Thompson, Clement Clay, Beverly Tucker, all Confederate agents, spies and secret service, as well as John Surratt and John Wilkes Booth, though only once.… Read More

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