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

And Darkness Favors Us – Booth Escapes into Virginia

April 22, 1865 (Saturday) John Wilkes Booth, accompanied by his compatriot, David Herold, had been on run for over a week. Having hastily planned to be in Virginia long before now, due to Booth’s broken leg they found themselves still in a thicket of pines on the Samuel Cox property near the Potomac River inRead More

Sherman’s Terms Rejected by Washington

April 21, 1865 (Friday) It was all going so well for General Sherman. He had convinced Confederate General Joe Johnston to capitulate, and drew up terms for the surrender of the Army of Tennessee. True, many of the objects touched upon in the terms were beyond the reach of the military, but Sherman was certainRead More

Lee Recommends that Davis Seeks Peace

Richmond, Virginia April 20, 1865 Mr. President The apprehensions I expressed during the winter, of the moral [sic] condition of the Army of Northern Virginia, have been realized. The operations which occurred while the troops were in the entrenchments in front of Richmond and Petersburg were not marked by the boldness and decision which formerlyRead More

‘There Were No Truer Mourners’ – Gideon Welles on Lincoln’s Funeral

April 19, 1865 (Wednesday) From every part of the country comes lamentation. Every house, almost, has some drapery, especially the homes of the poor. Profuse exhibition is displayed on the public buildings and the dwellings of the wealthy, but the little black ribbon or strip of black cloth from the hovel of the poor negroRead More

Sherman and Johnston Discuss Terms

April 18, 1865 (Tuesday) William Tecumseh Sherman had left City Point in the Richmond area, where he was visiting with General Grant, at the end of the month previous. While Grant pursued Lee’s retreating army, Sherman reorganized and readied his own in Goldsboro, North Carolina to move not against Joe Johnston’s Army of Tennessee atRead More

‘I Come to Arrest You’ – The Assassination Round Ups Begin

April 17, 1865 (Monday) Edwin Stanton had watched him die. He had seen the body removed, and had called the impromptu Cabinet meeting in the rear room of the Peterson House. By the afternoon of the 15th, Stanton was certain that the actor John Wilkes Booth had murdered the President. He knew there were accomplices,Read More

‘Tom, You Must Get Them Across’ – The Escape of John Wilkes Booth

April 16, 1865 (Easter Sunday) “The moment has come at last when my plans must be changed. The world may censure me for what I am about to do; but I am sure posterity will justify me. -Men who love their country more than gold or life: J.W. Booth, Payne, Atzerodt, and Herold. John WilkesRead More

And They Were Alone – The Dying of Abraham Lincoln

April 15, 1865 (Saturday) Robert Lincoln, the 21-year old son of Abraham and Mary, had declined the invitation to accompany them to Ford’s Theater the night previous. He claimed weariness from his recent campaign as General Grant’s staff officer, but mostly wanted to catch up with his old friend John Hay. His little brother, Tad,Read More