Johnson Offers Amnesty to All Persons….

May 29, 1865 On this date, President Andrew Johnson issued his proclamation of amnesty to (almost) all who participated in the Rebellion against the United States. There were, of course, some notable exceptions…. Whereas the President of the United States, on the 8th day of December, A.D. eighteen hundred and sixty-three, and on the 26Read More

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

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; whoRead More

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

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 sceneRead More

Jefferson Davis Finally Imprisoned

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 allRead More

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

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 andRead More

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

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 ranksRead More

Drama, Gossip, and Petty Politics Still Alive in Washington

May 19, 1865 (Friday) Of late, Naval Secretary Gideon Welles’ diary entries had been short, a few sentences at best. But on this date, he returned to his windy and meandering ways, writing gossip, complaining, and recording the general drama of the time. Preston King tells me he has a letter from Senator Dixon, speakingRead More

Are Such Men Fit to Be at Liberty?

May 18, 1865 (Thursday) On this date, another letter was sent to President Andrew Johnson. Like the previous one, it was filled with violent threats. This one, however, streamed from the North rather than the South. Dear President Sir I do feel unworthy to write to you, but because the trouble We have out NorthRead More

Grant Orders Philip Sheridan to the West

May 17, 1865 (Wednesday) From the Personal Memoirs of Philip Sheridan: The surrender at Appomattox put a stop to all military operations on the part of General Grant’s forces, and the morning of April 10 my cavalry began its march to Petersburg, the men anticipating that they would soon be mustered out and returned toRead More