Lincoln’s Annual Message to Congress

December 6, 1864 (Tuesday) President Lincoln’s “Annual Message to Congress” was delivered on this date, and it covered a great many subject little-related to the war at hand. For the most part, it serves as a peek into what the 1860s might have been had the Southern States not seceded. There was a war ragingRead More

Sherman Burns Cobb’s Plantation, Enters Georgia Capital

November 22, 1864 (Tuesday) For a time now, the weather had carried with it the expected November chill. But on the morning of this date, even that seemed warm and comforting as the mercury plummeted and the winds howled against the Federals marching in Sherman’s Left Wing. Under the helm of General Henry Slocum, theyRead More

Davis Proposes Arming the Slaves Only if Necessary to Win the War

November 7, 1864 (Monday) Throughout the history of the war, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was concerned most with saving territory rather than armies. In trying to save Vicksburg, for example, he sacrificed an entire army, losing the city anyway. His top western generals argued that this philosophy was short-sighted, but Davis pursued this path regardless.Read More

‘And Now I am Here to See You for Myself’ – Sojourner Truth Meets Abraham Lincoln

October 29, 1864 (Saturday) Many legends have since wandered into our national memory concerning the role Sojourner Truth, the former-slave and abolitionist, had in Lincoln’s administration. Though her influence in this specific area was overstated and, in many cases, completely fabricated, her own words describing the only time the President and she formally met remainRead More

The Slaves and Free Negroes Can Be Impressed Just as Any Other Property

October 6, 1864 (Thursday) The Confederate government was doing almost everything in their power to fill up their armies with conscripts, former soldiers, ex-partisan rangers, and pretty well any male who could carry a musket. But the Richmond Enquirer understood that there was an untapped wealth of soldiers within the slave population. Earlier in theRead More

Lincoln Issues Another Proclamation on Reconstruction

July 8, 1864 (Friday) Half of a week had slid by since Abraham Lincoln had pocket-vetoed the Wade-Davis Bill. After refusing to sign the measure, he explained that the bill conceded that the rebellious states had indeed left the Union. In his opinion, the states simply could not leave the Union unless the Union itselfRead More

The Bill in Lincoln’s Pocket

July 4, 1864 (Monday) President Abraham Lincoln had very specific ideas for how to “reconstruct” the South, both during and after the war. His plan had been detailed in December, through a proclamation allowing any seceded state to return to full participation in the Union if but ten percent of their population swore to beRead More

Maryland Abolishes Slavery

June 24, 1864 (Friday) Since the abolition of slavery in Washington, DC in April of 1862, it was clear that Maryland, herself still a slave state, would follow. Once Lincoln released his Emancipation Proclamation, it was a near certainty. There was no going back. Through 1863, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution wasRead More

‘No Man Could Live at the Guns’ – Plymouth Falls to the Rebels

April 20, 1864 (Wednesday) While the CSS Albemarle sunk one Federal vessel and dispersed another before the Union-held defenses of Plymouth, North Carolina the day previous, General Robert Hoke’s troops did little more than exchange fire with their Northern counterparts. Late in the day (the 19th), Hoke sent Matt Ransom’s brigade a few miles east,Read More

Grant Ends the Prisoner Exchange (Though it Wasn’t that Simple)

April 17, 1864 (Sunday) Over the summer of 1863, the Federal victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg included many thousands of captured Confederates. Previously in the war, these prisoners would have been paroled on the spot, the captives vowing not to take up arms against their enemies until officially “exchanged,” when the Southern army released aRead More