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

‘I Fear Now It Will Be Impossible’ – Lee With Nowhere to Turn

March 26, 1865 (Sunday) With the utter failure of the assault upon Fort Stedmen the day previous, General Robert E. Lee had now to consider what was best for his army. But first, he had to explain to President Jefferson Davis why he took the risk of an assault, and why it failed. “I haveRead More

‘I Can Do No More Than Annoy Him’ – Johnston Must Give Up

March 23, 1865 (Thursday) Following the Battle of Bentonville, Joseph Johnston, commanding the Confederate forces, retreated across Mill Creek, into and through the town. Taking up positions a couple of miles beyond the crossing, Jo Wheeler’s cavalry held the bridge until the Federals came near to crossing. By that evening, Johnston’s army was near Smithfield.Read More

Sherman’s Mistake at Bentonville

March 21, 1865 (Tuesday) “The next day,” wrote General Sherman, “it began to rain again, and we remained quiet till about noon.” Sherman had placed Francis Blair’s Seventeenth Corps on the right, with Joseph Mower’s division holding the flank near Mill Creek. In his report, General Mower wrote: Learning that a road. leading from theRead More

‘Our Position Was Extremely Perilous’ – Johnston Hangs on at Bentonville

March 20, 1865 (Monday) “On the 21st the skirmishing was resumed with spirit by the enemy,” wrote Joe Johnston. Through the night, little hand changed on the Bentonville battlefield. Johnston’s three small corps still remained in their initial lines and his left was sharply engaged. His right, on the other hand, was quiet. General Sherman,Read More