House Passes Thirteenth Amendment – Slavery to Be Abolished!

January 31, 1865 (Tuesday) The Constitutional amendment outlawing slavery had been introduced into the US congress in late 1863. Over the ensuing year, the item was debated, rebuffed, and further debated by both houses. It was in April that the Senate approved the amendment, but it had languished then in the House since June, whenRead More

The Prisoner Exchange Restarted – Black Prisoners Now Included

January 24, 1865 (Tuesday) The exchange of prisoners had broken down in late 1863 for several reasons. First, it more greatly aided the South than the North, as far as percentages were concerned. Second, the South refused to treat black prisoners as equal to white prisoners. Instead, they often sold them back into slavery orRead More

‘On the Eve of an Internal Revolution’ – Davis to Send Peace Commissioners

January 23, 1865 (Monday) Francis P. Blair, Sr. was back in Richmond, visiting again with old friends and personally delivering a message to Jefferson Davis, himself a comrade, from President Lincoln. Writing to Blair, but looking directly at Davis, Lincoln had scrawled on the back of a letter: “You having shown me Mr. Davis’s letterRead More

Davis Struggles to Find Men to Stop Sherman

January 17, 1865 (Tuesday) With William Tecumseh Sherman’s 60,000 resting in Savannah, the South was doing all they could to find enough troops to oppose him. This, however, was an impossible task. General William Hardee, commanding at Charleston, was trying to drawn them from anywhere, fielding promises from South Carolina’s governor of 5,000 militia. HardeeRead More

Lee Supports Slave Soldiers, Gradual Emancipation

January 11, 1865 (Wednesday) The debate over whether the Confederate armies should force slaves into their ranks was churning its way across the South. State legislatures, citizens, officers, and even the President all had opinions. Though Robert E. Lee had spoken in favor of such a measure, on this date he wrote to Andrew Hunter,Read More

Emancipation Amendment Debated in Congress

January 9, 1865 (Monday) While the South was debating whether or not they should force slaves into the ranks of the Confederate army, the North was clashing over whether or not to fully emancipate them with the Thirteenth Amendment. Moses Odell of Brooklyn made what the New York Times called “a convincing argument in favorRead More

‘If Slaves Will Make Good Soldiers Our Whole Theory of Slavery is Wrong’

January 8, 1865 (Sunday) In the ongoing debate in the South about whether or not to draft slaves into the Confederate ranks, two more prominent voices expressed their fears, warnings and misgivings about this peculiar turn the peculiar institution was taking. The first such name is that of General Howell Cobb, once governor of Georgia.Read More

The Southern Argument Against Arming Slaves

January 6, 1865 (Friday) While some in the South, like Davis and Lee were desperate enough to consider the idea of conscripting slaves into the ranks of the Confederate Army, many were not so warm to the idea. Such an opinion was expressed on this date in the Macon Telegraph: Amid the storm of revolution,Read More

Davis Ponders How to Fill Confederate Ranks

January 5, 1865 (Thursday) From his office in Richmond, there was little Jefferson Davis believed he could do. His armies numbered, in total 155,000 men. Being winter, and with much of them under seige, it was impossible to know how many would be available to him should fighting begin anew. The Army of Northern Virginia,Read More

‘We Cannot Control the Elements’ – The Pursuit of Hood that Wasn’t

December 21, 1864 (Wednesday) Though the victory of George Thomas’ Federals at Nashville was complete, the pursuit was not going nearly as well as hoped. Weather was much to blame, but was not wholly responsible. Though the rains poured and wagons churned the ice-crusted roads, the Rebels had been able to slip out of harm’sRead More