The Final Surrender

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 wereRead 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

Johnston Finally Able to Surrender His Army

April 26, 1865 (Wednesday) General Sherman had apparently overstepped his bounds, wishing to treat with the entire Confederacy rather than simply Joe Johnston’s army. In his mind, he wanted to wrap the entire war up in one fell swoop and thought that the capitulation of all the remaining Rebel forces, as well as the reestablishmentRead More

Sherman Learns of the Rejection; Davis Wants a Body Guard

April 24, 1865 (Monday) Though General Sherman was expected Major Henry Hitchcock to arrive on the train from Washington with news of Washington’s approval or disapproval of his terms of surrender for Joe Johnston, what he was not expecting was General Grant. Believing this too important to be left to Sherman alone, Grant decided toRead More

Davis Plans to Retreat into Texas or Mexico

April 23, 1865 (Sunday) “The dispersion of Lee’s army and the surrender of the remnant which remained with him destroyed the hopes I entertained when we parted,” wrote Jefferson Davis to his wife. Jefferson Davis was still in Charlotte, North Carolina. He had scurried away from Richmond mere hours before its fall, and by AprilRead More