‘You Dare Not Hang That Man’ – Johnson Receives a Letter Brimming With Crazy

May 14, 1865 (Sunday) “Intelligence was received this morning of the capture of Jefferson Davis in southern Georgia. I met Stanton this Sunday P.M. at Seward’s, who says Davis was taken disguised in women’s clothes. A tame and ignoble letting down of the traitor.” – Gideon Welles, Naval Secretary. As the news spread through Washington,Read More

The Last Volley of the War

May 13, 1865 (Saturday) Union Colonel Theodore Barrett, 62nd US Colored Troops, official report1: On the morning of the 13th about 200 men of the Thirty-fourth Indiana Veteran Volunteer Infantry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Morrison, joined Lieutenant-Colonel Branson. Assuming command in person of the forces thus united. I at once ordered an advance to be again madeRead More

‘You Can Retreat and Go To Hell If You Wish!’ – Undefeated Rebels in Texas

May 12, 1865 (Friday) The day previous, Col. Theodore Barrett, commanding the Federal troops at Brazos Santiago, Texas, ordered 250 men under Col. David Branson to attack and hold the nearby port of Brownsville. They marched, but were stymied by a storm and rerouted. Finding themselves in the dead of night near to a suspectedRead More

‘I Regret This Conclusion’ – The War Continues in Texas

May 11, 1865 (Thursday) The mouth of the Rio Grande River had been guarded by a small blockade of Federal ships and less than 1,000 men stationed on the small island of Brazos Santiago. In late February, General Lew Wallace (who would later gain fame for his novel Ben-Hur), was sent south from Washington toRead More

Jeff Davis Captured!

May 10, 1865 (Wednesday) Following are five first-person accounts of the capture of Jefferson Davis. Four are from a Confederate points of view, while the last was written by the Union officer responsible for his capture. Jefferson Davis: I travelled with my family two or three days, when, believing that they were out of theRead More

Federal Cavalry Surrounds Jeff Davis’ Camp

May 9, 1865 (Tuesday) From the report of Lieut. Col. Benjamin D. Pritchard, Fourth Michigan Cavalry. After a march of seventy-five miles, during which nothing of special interest occurred, the command reached Abbeville about 3 o’clock on the afternoon of May 9, and where I discovered the first trace of any of the parties forRead More

‘Make Every Endeavor to Capture or Kill Jeff Davis’ – The Federals Tighten the Noose

May 8, 1865 (Monday) It had all fallen upon Col. Robert Minty to capture Jefferson Davis. Minty, in turn, selected his own Second Brigade. To the commander, he issued these instructions: You will move with your command in as light order as possible to-morrow, the 9th instant, marching, via Hawkinsville, to Spalding, Irwin County, atRead More

The Federals About to Close in on Jefferson Davis

May 7, 1865 (Sunday) “Davis’ escort has been crowded so closely on all sides that it has been disbanded,” wrote General James Wilson to John Schofield, explaining the latest bit of rumors he had heard concerning the escape of the former Confederate President. “Three regiments have given themselves up to us here, and many othersRead More

Federals Still Unable to Find Davis

May 6, 1865 (Saturday) “One of our scouts,” wrote General James Wilson to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, “says [Jefferson] Davis left Washington [Georgia] with only six men. This I regard as probable. He can’t possibly get through the country with an escort.” Wilson, commanding troops movements from Macon, Georgia, had learned that Jefferson DavisRead More

Jeff Davis Strikes Out on His Own

May 5, 1865 (Friday) “Do not try to meet me,” wrote Varina Davis to her husband, “I dread the Yankees getting news of you so much, you are the country’s only hope, and the very best intentioned do not calculate upon a stand this side of the river. Why not cut loose from your escort,Read More