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Fall of Richmond- The End of the War - History

Fall of Richmond- The End of the War - History

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The end came quickly, when the lines at Petersburg broke, it forced both Petersburg and Richmond fell.. Jefferson Davis was in church, when he received a message- he turned white, Lee had informed him that Richmond would have to be evacuated.

The next day President Lincoln who had been visiting Grant was able to tour Petersburg. He stated to Admiral David Porter: "Thank God I have lived to see this. It seems to me that I have been dreaming a horrid dream for four years, and now the nightmare is gone, I want to see Richmond". Porter obliged and took Lincoln upriver to Richmond the next day. There guarded initially by 10 sailors he made his way through the streets to Jefferson Davis office. He was thronged by Blacks one old lady is said to have shouted: "I know I am alive for I have seen Father Abraham and felt him."

Meanwhile Grant and the army pursued Lee. On April 6th near a stream called Saylers Creek, 6,000 confederates were captured. Finally on the morning of April 9th Lee and his hungry men found themselves surrounded by five times the number of Union soldiers. Lee had no choice- At a ceremony at Appomattox Court House he surrendered the army of Northern Virginia, thus effectively bringing to an end the most horrible war in American history.


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“Ruins of Richmond, VA, 1865,” by photographer Mathew Brady (1822�). National Archives and Records Administration, College Park. Wikimedia Commons.
By the spring of 1865 Robert E. Lee’s army of about 60,000 men held a line in Virginia that extended from outside the Confederate capital, Richmond, forty miles south to Petersburg. In an attempt to open an escape route to the west for his army, Lee attacked Fort Stedman, a Union strongpoint east of Petersburg, on March 25. The attack failed, and about 3,000 Confederates were killed, wounded, or captured.

The defeat marked the beginning of the end of the Civil War. After heavy fighting on March 31, Union forces advanced on Five Forks, a crossroads about twelve miles southwest of Petersburg defended by a force of 10,000 under Major General George E. Pickett, who had been ordered by Lee to hold the position “at all hazards.” On the afternoon of April 1 the Union Army broke the Confederate lines at Five Forks. General Ulysses S. Grant then ordered an assault on the Petersburg defenses at dawn on Sunday, April 2. Within hours Lee telegraphed the Confederate War Department that both Petersburg and Richmond would have to be abandoned that night.

It is with Jefferson Davis’s receipt of that message that Sallie Brock begins the following account, which describes the fall of Richmond—and the devastation caused entirely by the actions of the fleeing Confederate military. After a triumphant entry, Union soldiers struggled to put out the fires, but it is clear from accounts that the conflagration was far too widespread—and the damage was already far too extensive—for any effort to save much of the city. On Tuesday, April 4, President Lincoln ignored the concerns for his safety and entered Richmond with his son Tad to meet with Union leaders, speak with the residents, and survey the damage.

In a later chapter of her account Brock describes the effects of the city’s destruction on the population:

Born in Madison County, Virginia, Brock had moved with her family to Richmond in 1858. In early 1861 she was working as a tutor about fifty miles away, in King and Queen County, but returned to Richmond when the war began and remained there for its duration. After the fall of Richmond she moved to New York City and two years later anonymously published her account of the war, which has remained in print for most of the past century and a half. In 1873 she published a poorly received (and soon forgotten) novel, Kenneth, My King, described by one recent scholar as “four hundred pages of courtship.” In 1882 Brock briefly returned to Virginia to marry Richard Putnam, an Episcopal minister from Boston. The couple lived in Brooklyn for the rest of their lives, but both were buried in Richmond.

T he morning of the 2d of April, 1865, dawned brightly over the capital of the Southern Confederacy. A soft haze rested over the city, but above that, the sun shone with the warm pleasant radiance of early spring. . . . If you don't see the full selection below, click here (PDF) or click here (Google Docs) to read it—free!

This selection may be photocopied and distributed for classroom or educational use.


    should be viewed as an evolutionary process.
  • Events still occur at the end of history.
  • Pessimism about humanity's future is warranted because of humanity's inability to control technology.
  • The end of history means liberal democracy is the final form of government for all nations. There can be no progression from liberal democracy to an alternative system.

Misinterpretations Edit

According to Fukuyama, since the French Revolution, liberal democracy has repeatedly proven to be a fundamentally better system (ethically, politically, economically) than any of the alternatives. [1]

The most basic (and prevalent) error in discussing Fukuyama's work is to confuse "history" with "events". [3] Fukuyama claims not that events will stop occurring in the future, but rather that all that will happen in the future (even if totalitarianism returns) is that democracy will become more and more prevalent in the long term, although it may suffer "temporary" setbacks (which may, of course, last for centuries).

Some argue [ who? ] that Fukuyama presents "American-style" democracy as the only "correct" political system and argues that all countries must inevitably follow this particular system of government. [4] [5] However, many Fukuyama scholars claim this is a misreading of his work. [ citation needed ] Fukuyama's argument is only that in the future there will be more and more governments that use the framework of parliamentary democracy and that contain markets of some sort. Indeed, Fukuyama has stated:

The End of History was never linked to a specifically American model of social or political organization. Following Alexandre Kojève, the Russian-French philosopher who inspired my original argument, I believe that the European Union more accurately reflects what the world will look like at the end of history than the contemporary United States. The EU's attempt to transcend sovereignty and traditional power politics by establishing a transnational rule of law is much more in line with a "post-historical" world than the Americans' continuing belief in God, national sovereignty, and their military. [6]

An argument in favour of Fukuyama's thesis is the democratic peace theory, which argues that mature democracies rarely or never go to war with one another. This theory has faced criticism, with arguments largely resting on conflicting definitions of "war" and "mature democracy". Part of the difficulty in assessing the theory is that democracy as a widespread global phenomenon emerged only very recently in human history, which makes generalizing about it difficult. (See also list of wars between democracies.)

Other major empirical evidence includes the elimination of interstate warfare in South America, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Europe among countries that moved from military dictatorships to liberal democracies.

According to several studies, the end of the Cold War and the subsequent increase in the number of liberal democratic states were accompanied by a sudden and dramatic decline in total warfare, interstate wars, ethnic wars, revolutionary wars, and the number of refugees and displaced persons. [7] [8]

Critics of liberal democracy Edit

In Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International (1993), Jacques Derrida criticized Fukuyama as a "come-lately reader" of the philosopher-statesman Alexandre Kojève (1902–1968), who "in the tradition of Leo Strauss" (1899–1973), in the 1950s, already had described the society of the U.S. as the "realization of communism" and said that the public-intellectual celebrity of Fukuyama and the mainstream popularity of his book, The End of History and the Last Man, were symptoms of right-wing, cultural anxiety about ensuring the "Death of Marx." In criticising Fukuyama's celebration of the economic and cultural hegemony of Western liberalism, Derrida said:

For it must be cried out, at a time when some have the audacity to neo-evangelize in the name of the ideal of a liberal democracy that has finally realized itself as the ideal of human history: never have violence, inequality, exclusion, famine, and thus economic oppression affected as many human beings in the history of the earth and of humanity. Instead of singing the advent of the ideal of liberal democracy and of the capitalist market in the euphoria of the end of history, instead of celebrating the ‘end of ideologies’ and the end of the great emancipatory discourses, let us never neglect this obvious, macroscopic fact, made up of innumerable, singular sites of suffering: no degree of progress allows one to ignore that never before, in absolute figures, have so many men, women and children been subjugated, starved or exterminated on the earth. [9]

Therefore, Derrida said: "This end of History is essentially a Christian eschatology. It is consonant with the current discourse of the Pope on the European Community: Destined to become [either] a Christian State or [a] Super-State [but] this community would still belong, therefore, to some Holy Alliance" that Fukuyama practised an intellectual "sleight-of-hand trick", by using empirical data whenever suitable to his message, and by appealing to an abstract ideal whenever the empirical data contradicted his end-of-history thesis and that Fukuyama sees the United States and the European Union as imperfect political entities, when compared to the distinct ideals of Liberal democracy and of the free market, but understands that such abstractions (ideals) are not demonstrated with empirical evidence, nor ever could be empirically demonstrated, because they are philosophical and religious abstractions that originated from the Gospels of Philosophy of Hegel and yet, Fukuyama still uses empirical observations to prove his thesis, which he, himself, agrees are imperfect and incomplete, to validate his end-of-history thesis, which remains an abstraction. [9]

Radical Islam, tribalism, and the "Clash of Civilizations" Edit

Various Western commentators have described the thesis of The End of History as flawed because it does not sufficiently take into account the power of ethnic loyalties and religious fundamentalism as a counter-force to the spread of liberal democracy, with the specific example of Islamic fundamentalism, or radical Islam, as the most powerful of these.

Benjamin Barber wrote a 1992 article and a 1995 book, Jihad vs. McWorld, that addressed this theme. Barber described "McWorld" as a secular, liberal, corporate-friendly transformation of the world and used the word "jihad" to refer to the competing forces of tribalism and religious fundamentalism, with a special emphasis on Islamic fundamentalism.

Samuel P. Huntington wrote a 1993 essay, "The Clash of Civilizations", in direct response to The End of History he then expanded the essay into a 1996 book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. In the essay and book, Huntington argued that the temporary conflict between ideologies is being replaced by the ancient conflict between civilizations. The dominant civilization decides the form of human government, and these will not be constant. He especially singled out Islam, which he described as having "bloody borders".

After the September 11, 2001, attacks, The End of History was cited by some commentators as a symbol of the supposed naiveté and undue optimism of the Western world during the 1990s, in thinking that the end of the Cold War also represented the end of major global conflict. In the weeks after the attacks, Fareed Zakaria called the events "the end of the end of history", while George Will wrote that history had "returned from vacation". [10]

Fukuyama did discuss radical Islam briefly in The End of History. He argued that Islam is not an imperialist force like Stalinism and fascism that is, it has little intellectual or emotional appeal outside the Islamic "heartlands". Fukuyama pointed to the economic and political difficulties that Iran and Saudi Arabia face and argued that such states are fundamentally unstable: either they will become democracies with a Muslim society (like Turkey) or they will simply disintegrate. Moreover, when Islamic states have actually been created, they were easily dominated by the powerful Western states.

In October 2001, Fukuyama, in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, responded to the declarations that the September 11 attacks had disproved his views by stating that "time and resources are on the side of modernity, and I see no lack of a will to prevail in the United States today." He also noted that his original thesis "does not imply a world free from conflict, nor the disappearance of culture as a distinguishing characteristic of societies." [10]

The resurgence of Russia and China Edit

Another challenge to the "end of history" thesis is the growth in the economic and political power of two countries, Russia and China. China has a one-party state government, while Russia, though formally a democracy, is often described as an autocracy it is categorized as an anocracy in the Polity data series. [11]

Azar Gat, Professor of National Security at Tel Aviv University, argued this point in his 2007 Foreign Affairs article, "The Return of Authoritarian Great Powers", stating that the success of these two countries could "end the end of history". [12] Gat also discussed radical Islam, but stated that the movements associated with it "represent no viable alternative to modernity and pose no significant military threat to the developed world". He considered the challenge of China and Russia to be the major threat, since they could pose a viable rival model which could inspire other states.

This view was echoed by Robert Kagan in his 2008 book, The Return of History and the End of Dreams, whose title was a deliberate rejoinder to The End of History. [13]

In his 2008 Washington Post opinion piece, Fukuyama also addressed this point. He wrote, "Despite recent authoritarian advances, liberal democracy remains the strongest, most broadly appealing idea out there. Most autocrats, including Putin and Chávez, still feel that they have to conform to the outward rituals of democracy even as they gut its substance. Even China's Hu Jintao felt compelled to talk about democracy in the run-up to Beijing's Olympic Games." [14]

Failure of civil society and political decay Edit

In 2014, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the publication of the original essay, "The End of History?", Fukuyama wrote a column in The Wall Street Journal again updating his hypothesis. He wrote that, while liberal democracy still had no real competition from more authoritarian systems of government "in the realm of ideas", nevertheless he was less idealistic than he had been "during the heady days of 1989." Fukuyama noted the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Arab Spring, both of which seemed to have failed in their pro-democracy goals, as well as the "backsliding" of democracy in countries including Thailand, Turkey and Nicaragua. He stated that the biggest problem for the democratically elected governments in some countries was not ideological but "their failure to provide the substance of what people want from government: personal security, shared economic growth and the basic public services. that are needed to achieve individual opportunity." Though he believed that economic growth, improved government and civic institutions all reinforced one another, he wrote that it was not inevitable that "all countries will. get on that escalator." [15]

Twenty-five years later, the most serious threat to the end-of-history hypothesis isn't that there is a higher, better model out there that will someday supersede liberal democracy neither Islamist theocracy nor Chinese capitalism cuts it. Once societies get on the up escalator of industrialization, their social structure begins to change in ways that increase demands for political participation. If political elites accommodate these demands, we arrive at some version of democracy.

Fukuyama also warned of "political decay," which he wrote could also affect established democracies like the United States, in which corruption and crony capitalism erode liberty and economic opportunity. Nevertheless, he expressed his continued belief that "the power of the democratic ideal remains immense." [15]

Following Britain's decision to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States in 2016, Fukuyama feared for the future of liberal democracy in the face of resurgent populism, [16] [17] [18] and the rise of a "post-fact world", [19] saying that "twenty five years ago, I didn't have a sense or a theory about how democracies can go backward. And I think they clearly can." He warned that America's political rot was infecting the world order to the point where it "could be as big as the Soviet collapse". Fukuyama also highlighted Russia's interference in the Brexit referendum and 2016 U.S. elections. [18]

Posthuman future Edit

Fukuyama has also stated that his thesis was incomplete, but for a different reason: "there can be no end of history without an end of modern natural science and technology" (quoted from Our Posthuman Future). Fukuyama predicts that humanity's control of its own evolution will have a great and possibly terrible effect on liberal democracy.

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Lee's Last Campaign: Starved for Supplies

The string of events marking the end of the war all began with Lee’s Appomattox campaign.

General Lee's final campaign began March 25, 1865, with a Confederate attack on Fort Stedman, near Petersburg. General Grant’s forces counterattacked a week later on April 1 at Five Forks, forcing Lee to abandon Richmond and Petersburg the following day. The Confederate Army’s retreat moved southwest along the Richmond & Danville Railroad. Lee desperately sought a train loaded with supplies for his troops but encountered none.

Grant, realizing that Lee's army was running out of options, sent a letter to Lee on April 7 requesting the Confederate general's surrender.

"The result of last week must convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia in this struggle," Grant wrote. "I feel that it is so, and regard it as my duty to shift from myself any further effusion of blood, by asking of you the surrender of that portion of the C.S. Army known as the Army of Northern Virginia."

Lee responded, saying he did not agree with Grant's opinion of the hopelessness of further resistance of his army. However, he did ask what terms Grant was offering. This correspondence would continue throughout the following day.

Meanwhile, Union Gen. Philip Sheridan's cavalry, along with two rapidly moving infantry corps, marched hard from Farmville, in central Virginia, along a more southerly route than Confederate forces. Union cavalry reached Appomattox Station before Lee and blocked his path on April 8.

The next morning, Lee faced Union cavalry and infantry in his front at Appomattox Court House and two Union corps to his rear three miles to the northeast at New Hope Church. At dawn, Confederate Gen. John B. Gordon's corps attacked Federal cavalry, but Gordon quickly realized he could not push forward without substantial help from other Confederate forces.

Lee, upon learning of this news and realizing his retreat had been halted, asked Grant for a meeting to discuss his army's surrender. He later asked for "a suspension of hostilities" pending the outcome of the surrender talks.

Grant received Lee's request four miles west of Walker's Church, about six miles from Appomattox Court House. One of Grant's aides, Lt. Col. Orville Babcock, and his orderly, Capt. William McKee Dunn, brought Grant's reply to Lee. The meeting place was left to Lee's discretion. Lee and two of his aides rode toward Appomattox Court House, accompanied by Babcock and Dunn. Soon Lee sent the aides ahead to find a suitable location for the surrender.

Lee's Men Get to Keep Horses: Rations Go to Confederate Soldiers

Soon after entering the village, the two Confederates happened upon a homeowner, Wilmer McLean, who showed them an unfurnished and somewhat run-down house. After being told that would not do for such an important occasion, he offered his own house for the surrender meeting. After seeing the house, they accepted and sent a message back to Lee.

Lee reached the McLean house around 1 p.m. Along with his aide-de-camp Lt. Col. Charles Marshall and Babcock, he awaited Grant's arrival in McLean’s parlor, the first room off the center hallway to the left. Grant arrived around 1:30. His personal staff and Generals Phil Sheridan and Edward Ord were with him. Grant and Lee discussed the old army and having met during the Mexican War.

Grant proposed that the Confederates, with the exception of officers, lay down their arms, and after signing paroles, return to their homes. Lee agreed with the terms, and Grant began writing them out.

One issue that Lee brought up before the terms were finalized and signed was the issue of horses. He pointed out that unlike the Federals, Confederate cavalrymen and artillerymen in his army owned their own horses. Grant stated that he would not add it to the agreement but would instruct his officers receiving the paroles to let the men take their animals home. Lee also brought up the subject of rations since his men had gone without rations for several days. Grant agreed to supply 25,000 rations to the hungry Confederate soldiers. Most of the rations were provided from Confederate supplies captured by Sheridan when he seized rebel supply trains at Appomattox Station the previous day.

Lee and Grant designated three officers each to make sure the terms of the surrender were properly carried out.

Grant and Lee met on horseback around 10 in the morning of April 10 on the eastern edge of town. There are conflicting accounts to what they discussed, but it is believed that three things came out of this meeting: each Confederate soldier would be given a printed pass, signed by his officers, to prove he was a paroled prisoner all cavalrymen and artillerymen would be allowed to retain their horses and Confederates who had to pass through Federal-occupied territory to get home were allowed free transportation on U.S. government railroads and vessels.

Printing presses were set up to print the paroles, and the formal surrender of arms took place on April 12. For those who stayed with Lee until the end, the war was over. It was time for them to head home. Lee left Appomattox and rode to Richmond to join his wife.

Lee's Wife Asserts that the General Did Not Surrender the Confederacy

In a statement about her husband, Mary Custis Lee remarked that "General Lee is not the Confederacy."

Her assessment was spot on, for the Confederacy still lived. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army—the next largest after Lee's still at war—was operating in North Carolina. Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor controlled forces in Alabama, Mississippi, and part of Louisiana. Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith's men were west of the Mississippi, and Brig. Gen. Stand Watie was in command of an Indian unit in the Far West. Nathan Bedford Forrest had men in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi.

The day after Lee's surrender, the federal War Department was still trying to work out who was included in the terms of the agreement its terms had not yet been received in Washington. Was it all members of the Army of Northern Virginia or just those who were with Lee at the time of surrender?

Maj. Gen. Godfrey Weitzel, the Union commander in charge of Richmond, telegraphed Grant that "the people here are anxious that [John] Mosby should be included in Lee's surrender. They say he belongs to that army." The unit they were referring to was Mosby's Rangers, also known as the 43rd Battalion of Virginia Cavalry, who harassed Union forces in Virginia for the last few years of the war.

In addition, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton requested from Grant further clarification about forces in Loudoun County, Virginia, that belonged to the Army of Northern Virginia and whether they fell under Lee's surrender. Grant clarified the matter in a telegram to Stanton on the night of April 10:

This matched a telegram sent mid-afternoon from Chief of Staff Gen. Henry W. Halleck to Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock in which the chief of staff advised the general that the secretary of war wanted him to print and circulate the correspondence between Grant and Lee concerning the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. Halleck then provided further guidance that "All detachments and stragglers from that army will, upon complying with the conditions agreed upon, be paroled and permitted to return to their homes."

The "Gray Ghost" Gives Up Without Surrendering

Col. John Mosby, the Gray Ghost. (National Archives Identifier 530499)

Since not everyone was yet in a surrendering mood, Halleck further advised that those who did not surrender would be treated as prisoners of war. He ended the telegram with one exception, "the guerrilla chief Mosby will not be paroled."

Mosby's response was delivered to Hancock on April 16. Mosby was not ready to surrender his command but would meet to discuss terms of an armistice. After reading the letter, Hancock agreed to meet at noon on April 18 a cease-fire would begin immediately. That evening the War Department wired that Grant had authorized Hancock to accept the surrender of Mosby's command.

In the days just after President Abraham Lincoln's assassination on April 14, there were heightened personal safety concerns for top officers. Hancock sent Brig. Gen. George Chapman, a Union cavalry officer, in his place to confer with Mosby on the April 18. Mosby was still not ready to surrender and requested a 48-hour extension of the cease-fire. Chapman agreed and notified Mosby that the cease-fire would continue until noon on April 20. Hancock turned down Mosby's requests for another 10 days until Mosby could learn the fate of Johnston’s army.

The "Gray Ghost" chose to disband his unit rather than surrender en masse. In his announcement read to his men on April 21, Mosby told them, "I disband your organization in preference to surrendering it to our enemies. I am no longer your commander." Each man would be left to decide his own fate.

Most of Mosby's officers, and several hundred of his men, rode into Winchester to surrender themselves and sign paroles. Federals allowed them to keep their horses. Hancock estimated that around 380 rangers were paroled. Others followed suit and started turning themselves in at other towns in Virginia. Even more joined their colleagues and signed paroles in Washington and at military posts over the next several months.

Hancock offered a $2,000 reward for the capture of Mosby the same day that the majority of his men surrendered conspicuously without their commander and raised it to $5,000 in early May.

Mosby and his younger brother, William, went into hiding, near their father's home outside Lynchburg, Virginia, soon after learning of Johnston's surrender to Sherman in North Carolina. In mid-June William received assurances from a local provost marshal in Lynchburg that his brother would be paroled if he turned himself in. John Mosby presented himself the next day only to be told the offer had been countermanded by Union authorities in Richmond. Several days passed before Grant himself interceded, and on June 16 Mosby was told his parole would be accepted. The following day, Mosby turned himself in and signed the parole in Lynchburg. Mosby returned to the business of law shortly after the war.

Mosby, like Lee prior to his surrender, was counting on Johnston to pull away from Sherman in North Carolina and join other Confederate forces.

But Johnston was being pursued by the forces commanded by Union Gen. William T. Sherman. After Sherman's successful "March to the Sea," in which his army marched from Atlanta to Savannah, Georgia, in the fall and winter of 1864, he steadily pushed Johnston's Confederate army further north through the Carolinas.

Sherman Pursues Johnston, But Overplays His Hand

Sherman marched through South Carolina, capturing the state capital, Columbia, in February. Union forces reached Fayetteville, North Carolina, on March 11 and began a push toward Goldsboro. Sherman's forces clashed with Johnston's army at Averasboro on March 16 and again at Bentonville in a multiday battle that ended on March 21.

Johnston's Confederate army was reduced to around 30,000 following the battle of Bentonville. This amounted to about half the size of Sherman's Union command. When Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield's Union force joined Sherman at Goldsboro several days later, the combined Union force reached approximately 80,000 men. Sherman was now on a rail line that connected him directly with Petersburg, Virginia.

Sherman went to City Point, Virginia, where he met with Grant and Lincoln on March 27 and 28 to discuss the coming end of the war. After the meetings ended, Sherman returned to his army to resume his pursuit of Johnston. As the two adversaries continued moving north, Johnston learned of the evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond and of Lee's surrender at Appomattox. The plan for Lee and Johnston to join forces had collapsed. With Grant now free from fighting Lee in Virginia, the two Union forces—Grant's and Sherman's—could turn their combined attention toward Johnston and crush his lone Confederate army.

Sherman's army started marching toward Raleigh on April 10 with Johnston's army retreating before it. Word reached Sherman of Lee's surrender on April 11, and he informed his troops the following day. North Carolina Governor Zebulon Vance sent representatives on April 10 to begin peace talks with Sherman. Those talks stopped several days later after Union forces entered Raleigh on April 13. The following day Johnston sent a letter proposing a suspension of operations to allow civil authorities to make arrangements ending the war.

Sherman notified Grant and Stanton that "I will accept the same terms as Gen. Grant gave Gen. Lee, and be careful not to complicate any points of civil policy."

Johnston, who had received advice from both Governor Vance and Confederate President Davis regarding peace talks, reached out to Sherman to discuss terms of his surrender. Several days passed before Sherman and Johnston eventually met near Durham Station on April 17. Sherman offered Johnston the same terms as those given Lee at Appomattox.

Johnston suggested that they take it one step further and "arrange the terms for a permanent peace." Sherman saw an opportunity to not only end the war for his opponent's army but to end the war entirely.

Talks continued the following day with Confederate Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge accompanying Johnston.

Sherman, Johnston in Accord, But Washington Says "No"

Sherman agreed to seven principal provisions. The agreement, however, went beyond military terms and the surrender of Johnston's army. The agreement applied to any (read all) Confederate armies still in existence. The troops would disband and return to their state capitals, where they were to deposit their arms and public property at the state arsenals. The federal executive would recognize state governments, including their officers and legislatures. Where rival governments existed, the U.S. Supreme Court would decide which one would be recognized.

Federal courts would be reestablished in southern states, and the people would have their political rights and franchises guaranteed, including their rights of person and property. The war would cease, and a general amnesty would be provided.

Sherman was convinced his signed agreement with Johnston would end the war. In his cover letter awkwardly addressed to Grant or Halleck, Sherman argued that the agreement, "if approved by the President of the United States, will produce peace from the Potomac to the Rio Grande."

In a follow-up letter to Halleck the same day, Sherman advised: "please give all orders necessary according to the views the Executive may take, and influence him, if possible, not to vary the terms at all, for I have considered everything."

Sherman had overplayed his hand. He did not realize that neither the President nor any high-ranking member of the federal government would ever agree to the terms outlined in his accord with Johnston. The plan he worked out with Johnston was quickly rejected by federal authorities.

Sherman, thinking he ended the war, was surprised by the response he received from Washington. The Union commander had to inform Johnston that unless new military terms were reached, their armistice would end on April 26. That day the opposing army commanders met once again in Durham Station and worked out an agreement limited to military issues. Now that political matters were not included in the terms, Grant, who was sent to make sure Sherman got it right this time, quickly gave his approval, thus accepting the surrender of the largest Confederate force still in existence.

More Surrenders Follow General Johnston's Lead

In addition to his Army of Tennessee, General Johnston also surrendered various forces under his command in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

After Lee and Johnston capitulated, there were still armed Confederate troops operating in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).

At the time of Johnston's surrender, Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor, son of former U.S. President Zachary Taylor, commanded around 10,000 men in the Confederate Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana.

The city of Mobile, Alabama, surrendered to Union forces in mid-April after Union victories at two forts protecting the city. This, along with the news of Johnston's surrender negotiations with Sherman, led Taylor to seek a meeting with his Union counterpart, Maj. Gen. Edward R.S. Canby. The two generals met several miles north of Mobile on May 2. After agreeing to a 48-hour truce, the generals enjoyed an al fresco luncheon of food, drink, and lively music. Canby offered Taylor the same terms agreed upon between Lee and Grant. Taylor accepted the terms and surrendered his command on May 4 at Citronelle, Alabama.

After Taylor surrendered, other units followed quickly.

The fleeing Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, was finally captured by Union cavalry on May 10, near Irwinville, Georgia. His capture was soon followed by the surrenders of smaller Confederate forces in Florida, Georgia, and northern Arkansas.

Nathan Bedford Forrest, who fell under the geographic command of Richard Taylor, surrendered his cavalry corps several days after his commander.

In his farewell address to his men at Gainesville, Alabama, on May 9, Forrest stated: "I do not think it proper or necessary at this time to refer to causes which have reduced us to this extremity nor is it now a matter of material consequence to us how such results were brought about. That we are beaten is a self-evident fact, and any further resistance on our part would justly be regarded as the very height of folly and rashness."

He ended his address by advising his men to "Obey the laws, preserve your honor, and the Government to which you have surrendered can afford to be, and will be, magnanimous."

Several weeks later, the War Department issued a special order calling for a grand review of Union armies to be held in Washington to celebrate recent Union victories. On May 23, Maj. Gen. George Meade's Army of the Potomac marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, followed the next day by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's Army of Georgia and Army of the Tennessee. Despite this 19th-century equivalent of a victory lap, the war still continued in Texas and Indian Territory.

Fighting Continued West of the Mississippi River

From January 1863 until the end of the war, Confederate Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith commanded the Trans-Mississippi Department. The department included Arkansas, most of Louisiana, Texas, and Indian Territory. After Union victories at Vicksburg and Port Hudson, Smith's command was cut off from the rest of the Confederacy. Union control of the Mississippi would keep his army west of the river for the remainder of the war.

In the spring of 1864, Confederate forces in his department defeated Union Gen. Nathaniel Banks at the Battle of Mansfield in the River Red campaign. Smith later sent Maj. Gen. Sterling Price on a large cavalry raid into Missouri, which proved a huge failure after Price's men were repulsed back into Arkansas.

Two days after President Johnson declared the war "virtually at an end," Union Col. Theodore Barrett attacked a smaller Confederate force, half his size, commanded by Col. John S. Ford at Palmito Ranch in Texas, May 12, 1865. The overconfident Barrett was soundly defeated in what became the last engagement of the American Civil War.

Less than two weeks later, Smith, succumbing to the inevitable, surrendered his command on May 26. Following his surrender, the former West Point graduate and U.S. Army officer fled to Mexico and then Cuba to avoid prosecution for treason. After learning of President Johnson's May 29 proclamation concerning amnesty and pardon, Smith returned to Virginia in November to take the amnesty oath.

Brig. Gen. Stand Watie (National Archives Identifier 529026)

At the outset of the Civil War, members of the Cherokee Nation tried to stay neutral. Within months, however, the Cherokee split between those who supported the Union and those who supported the Confederacy. The most famous Confederate supporter was Stand Watie, who was promoted to colonel of the First Cherokee Mounted Rifles in late 1861. Watie was eventually promoted to brigadier general in the spring of 1864 and later commanded the First Indian Brigade.

Watie still maintained a fighting force nearly a month after Smith surrendered the Trans-Mississippi Department. Realizing he was fighting a losing battle, Watie surrendered his unit of Confederate Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, and Osage Indians at Doaksville, near Fort Towson in Indian Territory, on June 23. Stand Watie was the last Confederate general to surrender his command.

The Final Surrender: Liverpool, England

While Confederate land forces surrendered throughout the late spring and summer of 1865, the Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah continued to disrupt Union shipping. The ship, originally the Sea King, involved in the Bombay trade, was purchased in England in the fall of 1864 by a Confederate agent. Precautions were taken to disguise ownership, and the ship sailed to Madeira, off the coast of Portugal, manned by an English crew.

There, the Englishmen were replaced by a Confederate crew led by James I. Wadell. The vessel was soon transformed into a war ship with the addition of armament and naval supplies, and her name was changed to CSS Shenandoah. After being outfitted, the newly christened raider sailed southward around the Cape of Good Hope, into the Indian Ocean, and into the South Pacific. The vessel was in Micronesia at the time of Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

The Shenandoah continued north through the Pacific Ocean, into the Sea of Okhotsk, and settled in the Bering Sea in mid-June. Wadell was under orders to destroy the whaling fleets of New England, and the Shenandoah now focused on Yankee whalers. Because the ship's crew were still unaware that the war had ended, the Shenandoah went to work disrupting Union vessels in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean. By August of 1865, the Shenandoah had captured or destroyed 38 ships, including whalers and merchant vessels.

Waddell set sail for England after learning from a British ship that the war was over. The last Confederate surrender occurred on November 6, 1865, when the Shenandoah arrived in Liverpool. The only Confederate vessel to circumnavigate the globe was surrendered by letter to the British prime minister, Lord John Russell. She was soon turned over to the Americans, who hired a merchant captain to sail her to New York. After a couple days at sea, a winter storm forced the captain to limp back to Liverpool with badly damaged sails. Eventually the vessel was sold to the sultan of Zanzibar and renamed El Majidi.

President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation on August 20, 1866, formally announcing the end of the Civil War (page 1 shown). (General Records of the U.S. Government, RG 11)

In a presidential proclamation issued on April 2, 1866, President Johnson declared that the insurrection that had existed in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, and Virginia, was at an end. The one exception was Texas.

Later that summer, the President declared that the insurrection in Texas was suppressed. The President acknowledged that "adequate provisions had been made by military orders to enforce the execution of the acts of Congress, aid the civil authorities and secure obedience to the Constitution and the laws of the United States in the state of Texas."

On August 20, 1866, President Johnson issued a proclamation announcing the end of the American Civil War: "And I do further proclaim that the said insurrection is at an end and that peace, order, tranquility, and civil authority now exists in and throughout the whole of the United States of America."

With that proclamation the United States officially closed a costly, bloody, and deadly chapter in its nation's history that started at Fort Sumter several years—and hundreds* of thousands lives—earlier.

*Corrected from "tens of thousands" on 11/30/2016

Trevor K. Plante is chief of the Reference Services Branch at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. He is a supervisory archivist who specializes in 19th- and early 20th-century military records and is an active lecturer and a frequent contributor to Prologue.

This page was last reviewed on June 4, 2021.
Contact us with questions or comments.

Gettysburg and the End of the War, Part 1 – The Fall of Richmond

This is the first in a three-part series which focuses on reactions in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to the end of the Civil War’s Eastern Theater. As the site of the costliest battle of the entire conflict in July 1863, the Adams County seat felt its effects more directly than any other town in the Keystone State. These entries examine Gettysburgians’ and associated soldiers’ feelings on the effective culmination of the rebellion through three events—the fall of Richmond, the surrender at Appomattox, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

When writing about his Civil War experience in 1903, Brevet Maj. Gen. St. Clair Mulholland, former colonel of the 116th Pennsylvania Infantry, recalled that 40 years earlier, “Gettysburg became the victory that marked the beginning of the end of the war.” But it was not this south-central Pennsylvania battlefield and its effects that delivered his most profound wartime memories. That distinction belonged to news he received on a spring day nearly two years later.[1]

“There are hours in the life of all men that are filled with a joy so great that nothing can add to or increase it,” Mulholland recalled. “The morning of April 3d, 1865, was an occasion of this nature, giving to each and every tired and weary soldier a meed of happiness and a thrill of joyful emotion the like [sic] of which he might never experience again. ‘Richmond and Petersburg taken and the Confederate Army in full retreat’ was the news that flashed through the ranks.”[2] After ten months of siege around Petersburg, Virginia, United States forces had finally broken through enemy lines on April 2, opening the door to a newly evacuated Richmond, set afire by fleeing Confederate sympathizers. “Thus the great capital of treason and rebellion, which had defied the Union army for four years fell,” recalled Bvt. Maj. Penrose Mark of the 93rd Pennsylvania. “Richmond and Petersburg were now captured hundreds of guns and thousands of prisoners taken [Robert E.] Lee’s army demoralized, shattered, broken and driven to the four winds.”[3]

The 11th Pennsylvania (a famous Battle of Gettysburg regiment known for its canine mascot, Sallie) was encamped near Petersburg on April 4. Chaplain William Henry Locke noted, “it was not until this morning that we knew of the successful storming of its outer defenses, and the compression of our lines around the city. It was while the men were waiting for the order to fall into ranks, that a deep and prolonged cheer came rolling along the line of troops, like the swellings of a tornado, telling that Petersburg and Richmond were both evacuated, and that the whole rebel army was in precipitate retreat. If the quartermaster. had issued to each man of the regiment a new pair of legs, they could not have marched forth with a more supple step.”

Amid the Union troops were, “Scores of stragglers from the Southern army, and multitudes of contrabands, who had lost their masters,” wrote Locke, who overheard a newly freed man named Harvey remark to “a group of darkies” gathered around him, “‘I feels better to-night than I did after that fight at Gettysburg. That was a mighty warm place, I tell you.’” In hindsight, when Harvey learned “‘de Johnnies is gitting whipt’” at Gettysburg, “‘I felt good then’”—but in light of the fall of Richmond and the looming defeat of his former enslavers, he added, “‘I feels a heap better now.’”[4] It was also April 4 when Gettysburg residents first read about the martial developments in their local press. A headline in the Adams Sentinel screamed, “Glorious News! PETERSBURG & RICHMOND CAPTURED! TWELVE THOUSAND PRISONERS AND FIFTY CANNON TAKEN!” The paper detailed the movements of belligerents, the “telegraphic despatch[es]” (sic) of major commanders, and the response of Abraham Lincoln, who visited the front lines in Petersburg on April 3, and entered Richmond on April 4—a scene which must have sounded familiar in Gettysburg, a town and battlefield the president had previously toured on November 18 and 19, 1863.[5] Overall Union commander Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. “Grant is pushing on after Lee, who is in full retreat. ” the Sentinel lauded. “Our town was quite jubilant last evening over the glorious intelligence. The flags, the ringing of bells, the firing of salutes, bonefires [sic], and the cheering of the crowds, were evidences of the general rejoicing. We shall be now daily in receipt of stirring news.”[6]

Local soldiers serving in Virginia wrote personal stories to family members in Gettysburg, which were, in turn, published in their hometown papers. “The unanimous testimony of officers who were in the fight. in front of Petersburg, is, that the Rebel soldiers do not fight with any heart or zeal, but on the contrary, when outside of their earthworks, are evidently more intent on being captured than using their arms,” according to the Sentinel. “They surrender by companies and regiments on the first suspicion of being flanked, and, in short, the fight is entirely taken out of them.”

“After their capture a large number of prisoners requested permission to take the oath, so that they need not be subjected to an exchange,” the Sentinel continued. “The revelation of the feelings and dispositions of the soldiers of his pet army must have convinced General Lee, if nothing else would, of the hopelessness of further efforts to sustain the Rebel cause.”[7] In another story published a week later on April 11, the Sentinel reported (in a slightly sarcastic tone in a few instances): “One of our brave boys, who was at the capture of Petersburg and Richmond, sent us copies of the Richmond ‘Whig’ and ‘Dispatch,’ of the 1st of April, the last issue by the Rebels before their flight. They were of interest under the glorious events which have characterized the past week. They have disappeared from our table, much to our regret, through the kindness of some one who took advantage of our absence to ‘hook’ them. We hope they will let the neighbors see them, as we intended to do.”[8]

Not all Gettysburgians felt positive coverage of the fall of Richmond was entirely necessary, however. The conservative Compiler, for instance, likely disagreed with veteran Penrose Mark’s observation that “Washington gave us a country, but this day’s victory made it free.” Rather, the Democratic-backed paper chose to align itself more with Cpl. John Smith of the 118th Pennsylvania, who stated, “The news was received incredulously. But enough had transpired to warrant a reasonable exaggeration.”[9] While the Compiler acknowledged, “Great Victory. RICHMOND HAS FALLEN! PETERSBURG EVACUATED! 15,000 Prisoners and 60 Guns Captured!” the remainder of the article which fell under that headline was a syndicated reprint, devoid of local editorializing on the U.S. triumph over a long-despised foe. Instead, the periodical used the occasion to promote the political ideal of accepting peace without punishment, and proceeded to lecture against Republicans, abolitionists, Lincoln, and African American soldiers. (Compiler editor Henry Stahle, a known white supremacist, had once been accused of “hatching treason” for conversing with Confederate soldiers during the Battle of Gettysburg, and was subsequently imprisoned for a brief period at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland.)[10]

“NOW FOR PEACE,” announced the Compiler on April 10. “The fall of the capital of the Southern Confederacy renders this, of all others, the time for those in power to act as statesmen and patriots. Will this be done?” the periodical pondered. “For the sake of humanity and the welfare of our common country, we devoutly hope so. Let us have practical efforts in this hour of triumph, if we really wish for peace and the restoration of the Union. The people are in earnest let our rulers be honest.”[11]

Subsequently, the Compiler inquired, “WHO OPPOSE PEACE?” The paper answered its own rhetorical question by proclaiming, “There are two classes of men who stand in the way of peace—and both have influence with President Lincoln. The first are the fanatics—the political madmen—who, for the sake of having their negro equality theories fully tested, are willing to have the war continued in the most bloody form.” The second were “those who are taking money out of the war, either directly or indirectly. They are manufacturers, contractors, shoddyites of all classes and descriptions, and Government officials.—Combined they constitute a vast and powerful body.”

“The one would help to crush the lives of millions beneath the Juggernaut of war to gratify its malignant hate,” the Compiler boasted “the other would gladly continue to distill the blood of the people into gold, with which to fill its craving coffers.” The conservative weekly used its Richmond and Petersburg coverage to make partisan attacks, not against the Confederacy, but against its own Northern opposition, including “leading men,” who, “while not willing to grant the negroes entire social equality, are anxious that he should be allowed to vote.” The Compiler went so far as to editorialize that Republicans were “perfectly sure” that they might be “hurled from office so soon as the war is over,” and were thus “utterly opposed to offering any terms of peace to the South”—“unless in the meantime they can confer the right of voting upon the negro.”

“How long will the people consent to suffer and bleed, that fanaticism and avarice may be gratified?” the Compiler demanded. “Is it not the veriest mockery in the world for any people to call themselves free, while all they hold most dear is made to depend upon the caprices of a set of fanatics, or the avaricious desires of those who are coining money out of their country’s misfortunes, and growing rich upon the miseries of the populace?”[12] The Compiler had another complaint, as well.

Several thousand U.S. Colored Troops in the 25th Corps of Maj. Gen. Godrey Weitzel (a German immigrant who eventually resided in Philadelphia) were the first Federal service members to enter the fallen Confederate capital. The Philadelphia Inquirer celebrated “that the great act of retribution of the nineteenth century had been accomplished by the victorious entry of negro soldiers into Richmond.” The formerly enslaved Frederick Douglass, an army recruiter who spoke several times in eastern Pennsylvania during the war, hailed, “when an American asks me any questions concerning my race, what they ever did. my answer will be, that the first soldiers who entered the long-beleaguered and long-desired city of Richmond, on the heels of the retreating rebels, were black soldiers.”[13]

In response to this increasingly popular theme, the Compiler resisted. ““It is an outrage upon the white Union veterans, who did all the hard fighting in front of Petersburg, and compelled the evacuation of that place and the abandonment of Richmond by the rebels, to say that the rebel capital was captured by the negro troops—as a number of Abolition newspapers were saying on Tuesday,” the paper expounded. “It affords many Abolition politicians immense satisfaction when they can steal the laurels from the brows of brave Northern white soldiers to decorate the grizzled occiputs [back part of the skull] of the colored pets.” (This pontification was a sign of things to come, as Stahle’s periodical espoused more virulent and racist attacks in the Reconstruction-era years to come.)[14]

While Gettysburg was divided in its reactions to what exactly the fall of Richmond meant, more objectively positive news flashed across the wires a few days later.

Fall of Richmond- The End of the War - History

T he capture of Richmond had been the goal of the Union Army since the beginning of the Civil War. The Confederate capital lay tantalizingly close to Washington - only 100 miles - but it took four years of hard battle before the city fell to Union troops on April 3, 1865.

Richmond in Ruins, 1865
Word reached the city on Sunday morning April 2 that the Confederate defenses had been breached and General Lee's army was heading west in retreat. Nothing lay between the Capital and the advancing Union Army. The Confederate government packed what records it could and fled. An observer described the scene: "All that Sabbath day the trains came and went, wagons, vehicles, and horsemen rumbled and dashed to and fro, and, in the evening, ominous groups of ruffians - more or less in liquor - began to make their appearance on the principal thoroughfares of the city. At night came on pillage and rioting took place."

Fires broke out and explosions ripped through the city as the flames reached stores of munitions placed near the waterfront. At daybreak April 3, Union troops entered the city.

Upon hearing the news of the fall of the Confederate Capital, President Lincoln accompanied by his son Tad, boarded a boat and sailed to survey the scene himself. Thomas Thatcher Graves served on the staff of General Godfrey Weitzel and described Lincoln's entrance into the city:

Jefferson Davis's House
"The next day after our entry into the city, on passing out from Clay Street, from Jefferson Davis's house, I saw a crowd coming, headed by President Lincoln, who was walking with his usual long, careless stride, and looking about with an interested air and taking in everything. Upon my saluting he said: 'Is it far to President Davis's house?' I accompanied him to the house, which was occupied by General Weitzal as headquarters. The President had arrived about 9 o'clock, at the landing called Rocketts, upon Admiral Porter's flag-ship, the Malvern , and as soon as the boat was made fast, without ceremony, he walked on shore, and started uptown. As soon as Admiral Porter was informed of it he ordered a guard of marines to follow as escort but in he walk of about two miles they never saw him, and he was directed by negroes.

At the Davis house, he was shown into the reception-room, with the remark that the housekeeper had said that the room was President Davis's office. As he seated himself he remarked, 'This must have been President Davis's chair," and, crossing his legs, he looked far off with a serious, dreamy expression. At length he asked me if the housekeeper was in the house. Upon learning that she had left he jumped up and said, with a boyish manner, 'Come, let's look at the house!' We went pretty much over it I retailed all that the housekeeper had told me, and he seemed interested in everything. As we came down the staircase General Weitzel came, in breathless haste,

Lincoln leaves Davis's house
from a contemporary drawing
and at once President Lincoln's face lost its boyish expression as he realized that duty must be resumed. Soon afterward Judge Campbell, General Anderson (Confederates), and others called and asked for an interview with the President. It was granted, and took place in the parlor with closed doors.

I accompanied President Lincoln and General Weitzel to Libby Prison and Castle Thunder, and heard General Weitzel ask President Lincoln what he (General Weitzel) should do in regard to the conquered people. President Lincoln replied that he did not wish to give any orders on that subject, but, as he expressed it, 'If I were in your place I'd let 'em up easy, let 'em up easy. "

Lenawee soldier arrests Confederate President Jefferson Davis helps bring an end to the Civil War

The end of a long and bloody Civil War is just weeks away. On March 21, Gen. Robert E. Lee reported to Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, that Union forces were on the way to Richmond and nothing more could be done to slow the advance.

On April 2, Lee advised Davis that the fall of Richmond was imminent, and that the president and his family should flee immediately. Davis heeded his trusted general and fled before the advancing army of Gen. Sheridan.

One week later, on April 9, Lee surrendered his Army of Virginia to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse just outside of Richmond. Contrary to popular belief, the war was not yet over, and the hunt was on to locate and capture Jefferson Davis before he could flee west and regroup &mdash an event that could prolong the war.

On April 14, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in Washington, D.C., and capturing the president of the Confederacy became a top priority for the Union generals. Sheridan&rsquos cavalry &ldquoscoured the country&rdquo in search of Davis, who had fled south toward Florida.

Lt. B. D. Pritchard of the 4th Michigan Cavalry dispatched Company D as part of a contingent sent in pursuit of Jefferson Davis. One member of Company D was Cpl. William Harrison Crittenden of Lenawee County.

Pritchard&rsquos 419-man force marched a day and a half, covering 51 miles in 24 hours, encountering deserted campsites and smoldering campfires. It was obvious they were on the right trail but seemed to be just hours behind their fleeing prey.

Pritchard divided his forces and selected 128 men &ldquowho were picked for their mounts.&rdquo Cpl. Crittenden was among this specially selected force. Crittenden&rsquos group set out on a 10-hour hard ride to close the gap.

Arriving in Irwinsville, Tennessee, they soon learned that a group matching the description of Davis&rsquo &ldquotrain&rdquo was encamped nearby. Twenty-five dismounted men, including Crittenden, were ordered to work their way around the camp and to take a position to the rear of the camp where they were to rest until the attack. After an hour or so, the column began its move toward the camp.

According to Crittenden&rsquos own account, a squad of 14 men were assigned to form the advance guard. One of the 14 was Crittenden.

The squad silently approached the camp and was able to completely encircle it. In the ensuing minutes, Crittenden and a comrade captured and disarmed one of the men, who turned out to be Col. Johnson, aide de camp to Davis. Crittenden soon saw &ldquoa woman apparently two rods away slowly walking to the rear. She was wrapped in a waterproof cloak and a shawl covering her head and shoulders.&rdquo

Crittenden yelled, &ldquoHalt!&rdquo and, in his own words, &ldquoThe shawl dropped and as the figure turned, I looked upon Jefferson Davis, the president of the confederacy which we had for so long been fighting.&rdquo

Davis dropped the shawl, uttered a short prayer, and exclaimed, &ldquoI am now ready to die!&rdquo

The detachment took the remainder of the camp into custody and started back, and Crittenden was assigned as one of the guards over Davis.

The experience wasn&rsquot over for Crittenden.

He was one of the 20 men and three officers charged with transporting the prisoners to Fortress Monroe at Hampton, Va. The company was joined by other confederate dignitaries along the way, including Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stevens and Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler. There are other differing and sometimes conflicting accounts of the capture and arrest of Jefferson Davis. The exact details of the event may be disputed but one thing is certain, Cpl. William Harrison Crittenden of Lenawee County, while serving in the 4th Michigan Cavalry, was one of the very few men to play a pivotal role in the capture of Jefferson Davis and the end of the Civil War.

Crittenden returned to Lenawee County after the war. He resided on a farm near Clinton for many years. He died in 1924 at the age of 86 and is buried in Macon Cemetery on Mills Highway about a mile east of the Macon store.

Collection Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints

On January 27, President Lincoln issued a war order authorizing the Union to launch a unified aggressive action against the Confederacy. General McClellan ignored the order.

March 1862

McClellan Loses Command

On March 8, President Lincoln&mdashimpatient with General McClellan's inactivity&mdashissued an order reorganizing the Army of Virginia and relieving McClellan of supreme command. McClellan was given command of the Army of the Potomac, and ordered to attack Richmond. This marked the beginning of the Peninsular Campaign.

Battle of the "Monitor" and the "Merrimac"&mdashMarch 1862

In an attempt to reduce the North's great naval advantage, Confederate engineers converted a scuttled Union frigate, the U.S.S. Merrimac, into an iron-sided vessel rechristened the C.S.S. Virginia. On March 9, in the first naval engagement between ironclad ships, the Monitor fought the Virginia to a draw, but not before the Virginia had sunk two wooden Union warships off Norfolk, Virginia.

April 1862

The Battle of Shiloh

On April 6, Confederate forces attacked Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant at Shiloh, Tennessee. By the end of the day, the federal troops were almost defeated. Yet, during the night, reinforcements arrived, and by the next morning the Union commanded the field. When Confederate forces retreated, the exhausted federal forces did not follow. Casualties were heavy&mdash13,000 out of 63,000 Union soldiers died, and 11,000 of 40,000 Confederate troops were killed.

Fort Pulaski, Georgia&mdashApril 1862

General Quincy A. Gillmore battered Fort Pulaski, the imposing masonry structure near the mouth of the Savannah River, into submission in less than two days, (April 10-11, 1862). His work was promptly recorded by the indefatigable Timothy H. O'Sullivan.

April 1862

New Orleans

Flag Officer David Farragut led an assault up the Mississippi River. By April 25, he was in command of New Orleans.

April 1862

The Peninsular Campaign

In April, General McClellan's troops left northern Virginia to begin the Peninsular Campaign. By May 4, they occupied Yorktown, Virginia. At Williamsburg, Confederate forces prevented McClellan from meeting the main part of the Confederate army, and McClellan halted his troops, awaiting reinforcements.

The Peninsular Campaign&mdashMay-August 1862

These photographs depict McClellan's advance from Yorktown to Fair Oaks, only five miles from Richmond, and, beginning with No. 85, his retreat to Harrison's Landing on the James. Some of the sites of the Seven Days' Battles (June 25-July 1) were photographed only after the fall of Richmond three years later.

May 1862

"Stonewall" Jackson Defeats Union Forces

Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, commanding forces in the Shenandoah Valley, attacked Union forces in late March, forcing them to retreat across the Potomac. As a result, Union troops were rushed to protect Washington, D.C.

June 1862

The Battle of Seven Pines (Fair Oaks)

On May 31, the Confederate army attacked federal forces at Seven Pines, almost defeating them last-minute reinforcements saved the Union from a serious defeat. Confederate commander Joseph E. Johnston was severely wounded, and command of the Army of Northern Virginia fell to Robert E. Lee. (See The Peninsular Campaign&mdashMay-August 1862)

July 1862

The Seven Days' Battles

Between June 26 and July 2, Union and Confederate forces fought a series of battles: Mechanicsville (June 26-27), Gaines's Mill (June 27), Savage's Station (June 29), Frayser's Farm (June 30), and Malvern Hill (July 1). On July 2, the Confederates withdrew to Richmond, ending the Peninsular Campaign. (See The Peninsular Campaign&mdashMay-August 1862)

July 1862

A New Commander of the Union Army

On July 11, Major-General Henry Halleck was named general-in-chief of the Union army.

August 1862

Pope's Campaign

Union General John Pope suffered defeated at the Second Battle of Bull Run on August 29-30. General Fitz-John Porter was held responsible for the defeat because he had failed to commit his troops to battle quickly enough he was forced out of the army by 1863.

Pope's Campaign&mdashJuly-August 1862

These photographs depict Pope's Campaign, spanning July to August 1862. The first two photographs reflect McDowell shielding Washington during the Peninsular Campaign thereafter the movement, like Pope's, is retrograde, from Cedar Mountain near the Rapidan River back to Bull Run again, in general along the line of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.

September 1862

Harper's Ferry

Union General McClellan defeated Confederate General Lee at South Mountain and Crampton's Gap in September, but did not move quickly enough to save Harper's Ferry, which fell to Confederate General Jackson on September 15, along with a great number of men and a large body of supplies.

September 1862


On September 17, Confederate forces under General Lee were caught by General McClellan near Sharpsburg, Maryland. This battle proved to be the bloodiest day of the war 2,108 Union soldiers were killed and 9,549 wounded&mdash2,700 Confederates were killed and 9,029 wounded. The battle had no clear winner, but because General Lee withdrew to Virginia, McClellan was considered the victor. The battle convinced the British and French&mdashwho were contemplating official recognition of the Confederacy&mdashto reserve action, and gave Lincoln the opportunity to announce his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (September 22), which would free all slaves in areas rebelling against the United States, effective January 1, 1863.

Antietam&mdashSeptember-October 1862

The Army of the Potomac remained in possession of the field, and the photographers were able to work over it thoroughly immediately after the battle of September 17. One can witness President Lincoln's visit to McClellan's headquarters, and follow the army across the Potomac at Berlin (present day Brunswick, Maryland) and into re-occupied Harper's Ferry.

December 1862

The Battle of Fredericksburg

General McClellan's slow movements, combined with General Lee's escape, and continued raiding by Confederate cavalry, dismayed many in the North. On November 7, Lincoln replaced McClellan with Major-General Ambrose E. Burnside. Burnside's forces were defeated in a series of attacks against entrenched Confederate forces at Fredericksburg, Virginia, and Burnside was replaced with General Joseph Hooker.

Burnside and Hooker&mdashNovember 1862-April 1863

These photographs show much of the army in quarters, and the great federal supply depot at Aquia Creek but the views most directly reflecting Burnside's disastrous failure on December 13 (Nos. 165-166) had to wait until Grant's advance in the spring of 1864 had pushed the Army of Virginia beyond Fredericksburg.

This time line was compiled by Joanne Freeman and owes a special debt to the Encyclopedia of American History by Richard B. Morris.

Black troops from Hampton Roads among the first Union forces to occupy Richmond

Union soldiers had plenty of reason to worry as — late on the night of April 2, 1865 — they peered through the gloom and tried to puzzle out what was happening in the Confederate defenses southeast of Richmond.

Despite reports of a breakthrough at Petersburg, the depleted Federal forces guarding the north side of the James River had met fierce resistance earlier that day, losing nearly 100 men in a brutal test of the enemy's position.

Scores of heavy guns opened up to repulse their advance — and hundreds more lay waiting to bloody any assault on one of the deepest and deadliest series of earthworks Confederate engineers had constructed.

But as the brass bands of the Yankees marched and played into the night — hoping to conceal their diminished numbers — Confederate musicians replied with a patriotic din that kept their own increasingly grim situation a secret.

By early morning, both the sound of their drums and the glow of their campfires had disappeared — and the darkness had been dispelled by the light of fires burning in Richmond. Huge explosions rocked the capital, sending shock waves rolling down the James River and over the Union trenches.

By 4:30 a.m., Maj. Gen. Godfrey Weitzel was reporting that the Confederate lines appeared abandoned. By 7:15 a.m., he and his staff had picked their way through deadly minefields and were closing on the city limits.

Among the blue-clad men racing down four roads behind him was the 36th U.S. Colored Infantry, many of whom had enlisted from the teeming refugee slave camps in Hampton Roads.

Richmond was falling — and no one knew better what it meant for black soldiers to march into the reeling Southern capital.

"There were a goodly number of Tidewater men in that unit — and they were part of something historic," said former Virginia Historical Society vice president Nelson Lankford, author of "Richmond Burning: The Last Days of the Confederate Capital."

"In three days, the Confederate army abandons its defenses, the government flees, the city burns, the Union army marches in and Abe Lincoln is walking through the streets," he added.

"It's hard to find any three days more dramatic."

Pre-dawn march

Just how deeply the Union men doubted the speed of their obstinate opponent's collapse can be seen in the hours of hesitation that preceded their early morning dash into Richmond.

"Later in the day (of April 2), a nervousness became manifest on some portions of the enemy's lines to my front," Weitzel wrote in a detailed 1881 account for the Philadelphia Weekly Times.

"But no changes of any importance were observed."

By 5 p.m., however, his chief signal officer could see "evidence of great excitement in Richmond" from his watch tower high above Union lines.

Early the following morning, the light from the fires in Richmond became so bright that Weitzel was awakened to see them.

Not long afterward a captured black teamster brought word that the Confederate entrenchments were empty — a retreat soon confirmed all along the line by the advance of Weitzel's pickets.

"Continual explosions and fires in the enemy's line. Large number of deserters. All report evacuation," he wired across the James to Union army commander Ulysses S. Grant.

Well before dawn, Weitzel's senior aide-de-camp and provost marshal were riding up the Osborne Turnpike with a detachment of 40 troopers from the 4th Massachusetts Cavalry.

Weitzel and his staff trailed not far behind, followed by Brig. Gen. Alonzo Draper's brigade — including the 36th — from the all-black XXV Corps.

To their right, Brig. Gen. Edward H. Ripley's brigade from the XXIV Corps advanced up Newmarket Road, while Col. Charles F. Adams Jr. and his newly arrived 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry moved on foot still farther to the right on Darbytown and Charles City roads.

Almost immediately the Federal columns ran into a deadly expanse of sharpened wooden stakes, entanglements and mine fields that forced them to slow and pick their way through by single file.

"Don't let your columns take the roads — keep them in the woods and by paths," Maj. Gen. Edward O.C. Ord had warned Weitzel before departing for Petersburg with three divisions and more than 1,000 cavalry a week before.

"Send cattle and old horses up the roads first."

As daylight broke, it soon became apparent that the retreating Confederates had marked their way though the fields with scraps of red fabric.

But at least one Union man died testing the truth of the fluttering scarlet flags.

"It was not a done deal," Lankford said, describing an advance slowed by fear and doubt.

"They didn't know if the paths were real — or a trap set up to kill Union soldiers."

Racing columns

Passing through the Confederate entrenchments, the Federal columns reformed, then gained speed as they marched through the eerie, mostly denuded landscape a few miles outside the city limits.

Hundreds of abandoned cannon came into sight as they passed line after line of once deadly fortifications.

Far ahead at the junction of Osborne and Newmarket Road, the 4th Massachusetts stopped briefly sometime before 7 a.m. to accept the surrender of Richmond Mayor Joseph Mayo, then headed toward the foot of Main Street and the way to Capitol Square.

Not long afterward, Weitzel and his staff paused at the same crossroads, from where they could see the first elements of the XXIV Corps in the distance advancing up Newmarket Road.

Despite the longer route they'd traveled, the black soldiers of the 36th arrived at the junction first, and they were already in formation with their drum corps playing patriotic airs when Ripley and his white brigade arrived.

Some discussion followed, with the soldiers of the XXIV claiming the right of way because of the seniority of their division commander, Weitzel later wrote.

But as Ripley led his brigade up the last stretch of country road, Draper ordered the 36th and its brother regiments to push through the adjacent fields on the double-quick.

"There may be others who claim the distinction of being the first to enter the city," wrote black newspaper correspondent Thomas Morris Chester, one of several sources who joined Weitzel in reporting the unorthodox march.

"But as I was ahead of every force but the Calvary, which of necessity must lead the advance, I know whereof I affirm when I announce that General Draper's brigade was the first organization to enter the city limits."

Companies A and K were the very first to cross, including Pvt. Lewis Blue of Hampton, Pvt. Seaborn Hodges of Yorktown, Pvt. Washington Braxton of Gloucester and Pvt. Solon Green of Smithfield as well as nearly 70 other Hampton Roads men who made up two-thirds of Company K's roster.

Hundreds of other Hampton Roads recruits — including Gloucester Medal of Honor winner Pvt. James Daniel Gardner — followed with the rest of the 36th, the 22nd and the 38th, whose roster included James City Medal of Honor winner Sgt. Edward Ratcliff.

"It was at least 10 or 15 minutes before a single white regiment came into sight," reported Draper, an ardent Massachusetts abolitionist who had turned down the command of white units to lead black troops.

"Some of the officers (of the white brigade) swore heartily at the presumption of the Negroes in outmarching them and entering the city first."

Colors flying

Inside Gillies Creek and the city line, the Union soldiers received the order to form in ranks just outside the Main Street checkpoint manned by 4th Massachusetts Cavalry guards.

Many of them began celebrating as they realized the giddy truth that Richmond would be taken without a shot.

"We hugged each other and threw up our hats and danced and acted like lunatics for about 15 minutes," wrote Frederick Chesson of the 29th Connecticut.

"And then we went into Richmond, colors flying."

Bands playing patriotic airs, Ripley's brigade — which Weitzel had tapped as the provost guard — took the lead as the Federals marched down Main Street toward the center of the city about 8:30 a.m.

Swarms of black residents parted to make way as the column reached the business district, where many of the buildings were still blazing.

"There's a lot of confusion on the streets. There's a lot of noise and smoke. There's a lot of black people cheering the Union troops as they march in," said historian Bert Dunkerly, a ranger at Richmond National Battlefield Park, who will lead a real-time tour of the Union advance on its 150th anniversary.

"One officer reported having to stop to try to read the street signs because the smoke was so thick. Another reported that the heat from the fires singed their beards."

When the troops reached Capitol Square, they found Weitzel conferring with their division commanders and city officials on the east porch of the Capitol.

The United States flag flew from the roof, raised by triumphant Union men just minutes after the 4th Massachusetts took possession of the landmark building.

"We took Richmond at 8:15 this morning," reported Weitzel, who'd arrived about an hour later.

"The city is on fire in two places. Am making every effort to put it out."

Minutes after a mounted courier delivered Weitzel's dispatch to the Union telegraph station about 3 miles away, the news of Richmond's fall began to spread across the North.

By 10 a.m., the Detroit Free Press had printed an extra addition announcing the Federal triumph.

Cannon fire greeted the news on Boston Common, while church bells rang across Philadelphia and New York.

"Tens of thousands of people were celebrating on Wall Street while the fires in Richmond were still burning," Lankford said.

"The news spread almost instantly."

In Washington, D.C., former Fort Monroe and Army of the James commander Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler — who had become a champion of black troops while in Hampton Roads — described their prominent role in the capture of Richmond as "divine retribution."

New York Tribune Publisher Horace Greeley acknowledged the impact of the symbolism, too, calling it "most suggestive."

An Eyewitness Account of the Evacuation of Richmond During the American Civil War

The Adams Express Company, established in 1840 and the 19th-century equivalent to today’s express delivery services, played a significant role in the Civil War, initially serving as a shipping agent for both the Union and Confederate governments. Complaints arose about Adams’ dual service, and the company established the Southern Express Company as a separate affiliate. General Orders, No. 77, dated October 22, 1862, exempted Southern Express employees from conscription. Virginian James Hawkins worked as an agent for the Southern Express on the Virginia Central and the Orange & Alexandria railroads and wrote about his wartime work.

His diaries, housed in Navarro College’s Pearce Civil War Collection, contain numerous references to ‘his company,’ the ‘West A Guard,’ but evidence suggests Hawkins probably never mustered into Confederate service. He felt an affinity for the West Augusta Guard, reorganized in 1861 to become Company L, 5th Virginia Infantry, because it was from Woodstock, Va., his hometown, and included many of his friends.

Hawkins worked for Southern Express from at least 1862 to May 1865, frequently traveling to Richmond, Charlottesville, Staunton, Gordonsville and Lynchburg. On April 2, 1865, Hawkins returned to Richmond after a run to Charlotte, N.C., with Confederate money and found himself caught up in the evacuation of the Confederacy’s capital. In a letter to his mother six weeks later, Hawkins recounted the evacuation and his own harrowing trip to Greensboro, N.C.:

No. ‘One’
Danville May 15th 65
Dear Mother
…I arrived in Richmond the memorable Sunday of the Evacuation about 1 OC PM. Just getting back from Charlotte where I had been with a large sum of C.S. Govt Coin. Found every thing in an awful excited condition burning valuable paper and money at all the different Departs — Treasury, War, Medical, State Capitol of Va etc. — destroying all that they supposed would be of any service to U.S. Govt. Found they had also pressed the Company’s horses etc. but they were after liberated by orders ‘Secty of War.’ I went to Central Depot supposing I might find some of the boys going Home & send a letter to you all, but no chance. I had then resolved to go home by way of Ly[n]chburg but on returning to Express Office was asked by Col. Bullock if I would not take charges of the horses and two large wagons (containing ‘all’ monies in hand) as far as Lynchburg. I at once decided that I had better do it. S. Stiles accompanied me as driver of the 4 horse team — although he at first refused to leave Richmond. We got every thing ready — loaded up and left Richmond Sunday night 12 OC precisely having five (5) safes and a large lot of the books belong to the office besides supplies for man & beast. We took the North Side of Jas. [James] River with our two wagons while Col. Bullock with 4 of the Co[mpany’s] horses & one wagon loaded with private baggage from Col. Ould, Col. Hatch, Maj. French Hamilton & himself took the South side of River. I had directions to [go] by Lynchburg — if not too closely pressed by enemy.

On the evening of 2nd day out we crossed Jas River — 51 miles above Richmd at Carterville. The Enemy’s Cavalry pushing up…as fast as possible about the 4th we met up with Col. Bud Harman & daughter, he walking & his daughter being with a Capt. who had offered her a seat in his wagon, and gave him a seat on our wagon — as near the SSRR [South Side Railroad] as we would go — he wanting to [go to] Lynchburg when we arrived 2 miles from Appomattox Depot. I took two of my horses and accompanied him to Appomattox to hear some definite information and could gain nothing — left him then & came back to wagons concluded to make a bold start for Lynchburg. We reached Concord Depot 12 miles from there about 4 OC PM. Met an ‘operater’ Teleg[r]aph Co. coming out and he informed us the Enemy expected in every moment. Everybody that could get away was leaving — we staid there until dark when the Refugees, wagons, etc. began to crowd the place. We turned and at once made for Staunton River to reach the other side below Campbell CH as the enemy were in possession there.

I had forgotten to tell you that we met up with Col. Ould, Col. Bullock etc. in Cumberland Cr. When Col. B gave me directions to take the Lynchburg stroll with us also and the Petersburg horses if we met up with them, asking me at the same time if I would not take charge and accompany them on South to Augusta, Geo[rgia] saying he would ‘be very glad if I would’ etc. I came to the conclusion at once that I had better agree to his request as it might do me some good in the end. We had when we left Richmd two clerks (Raborg & Davis) whom he directed I should leave in Lynchburg when we reached there as ‘he had no farther use for them’ but as we did not get there I did not inform them of what he said until we crossed Staunton River at Pannills bridge when they started to Danville on a Govt wagon train. We intended originally to go through Henry Co. striking above Danville but the enemy were ahead of us [and] we had to turn off again.

…I think the whole route was the worst I ever seen, the mud being often above the hubs, had to unload several times and get a team to help pull the empty wagon out then to work and reload.

Army wagons, artillery etc. behind and ahead of us and stragglers by the thousand just going along taking all they could find. It beat anything I ever seen since the war — about the 10th or 11th we heard of ‘Genl Lees’ surrender and on the 12th just 10 days after leaving Richmd arrived within 10 miles of Danville and were informed by Dozens from there that it was evacuated. Enemy about in ‘better move or we would be caught that night as they were advancing from there.’

We concluded we would wait anyhow, being completely out of food for ourselves & horses. The animals so dead on their feet they could hardly move the wagon at all and concluding there was no use they would catch us anyhow.

It was my watch that night we three, Stiles, William (colored Driver of 2 horse wagons) & myself relieving each other alternately. I discovered about 2 OC in the morning that a wagon camp just below us of 20 Army wagons and 120 mules had been deserted by the teamsters or had rec’d order from the ”Maj QM’ to take what they wanted and leave as there was no use trying to get out.’ We came to the conclusion we had better go and get some feed, etc. anyhow. So Stiles & myself went down to their camp, found all the men had left or about leaving after cutting the mules loose. We caught a couple (the woods being almost full of them) hitched them to a wagon loaded with corn and threw in a lot of Bacon from a wagon load of that and started for our Camp. About half way there the wagon stuck in the mud — the little mule pulled himself clean out of his harness, kicked up his heels & away he went. I then cut the harness off the other & William came down & we took 8 bags of the corn [and] the Bacon and carried it to our wagon. I amused myself from then till after day by the stragglers coming along — they would catch these mules & mount them bare back and away they go — a party of 114 passed us all mounted on mules caught around the camp at once.

A little after light who should come along but Maj. John Harman from [the] direction of Danville, advised us to cut loose from wagon bury the valuables in the woods and leave. We come to [the] conclusion we would make another trial anyhow to get across the Dan River and accordingly started for Bachelors ford. We had to pass within 7 miles of Danville that route and expected we would be overhauled there but were not. So we drove in the woods and I took one of the leaders [mules] to ride towards Danville & see how things were as the horses could go no farther, being completely given out, rode into town and found the place was evacuated but no enemy within 10 miles of there. So I went out & brought the wagon in at once.The next day I took the safes & started for Charlotte by train leaving Stiles to cut loose from the wagon & come in (him & William) with stock [the] next day at Greensboro, read a telegram from Mingling stating that Stiles refused positively to come any farther. So the teams had to remain here.

I staid in Greensboro NC 14 days amidst the greatest scene of confusion & excitement I ever beheld. Johns[t]ons army arrived there a few days after I did and lay around the 10 days truce or Armistice between Sherman & himself. The last of the CS Govt was also there a part of the time including ‘Jeff Davis,’ Benjamin, Breckenridge, Trenholm etc. nearly all the big men. (‘Jeff Davis’ and I suppose the balance have since been captured in Georgia).

The C.S. Govt had vast amounts of Stores there, 114 lbs [of] sugar alone, Bacon by the thousand, Corn and enough Army grey cloth to furnish a suit for every man in the Armies [of the] South. Nearly everything was carried off by the mob consisting principally of these NC woman (who beat everything I ever saw in the shape of Females) and Cavalry, Citizens & Negroes besides that they cleaned out trains loaded with stuff from Raleigh. At last I managed to get away the road having been fixed (where [Union cavalry Maj. Gen. George] Stoneman men had torn it up) and reached Charlotte NC the 28th — I staid while I was there with Mr. Bates Supt who treated me finely & — particularly after living ever since I left Richd on Corn bread & fat bacon & not enough of that. About then ‘Genl Johns[t]on’s’ Army surrendered to Gel Sherman, and Charlotte was taken possesion of by Schofields troops — Stoneman moving South after ‘Jeff Davis’ who left Charlotte about [the] time I got there. I at once got my ‘parole’ and started home May 9th but met Col. Bullock at Lexington NC (Just from New York) aboard a U.S. troop train when he said I had better accompany him back as wanted me to attend to some business. I concluded to do so and next morning recd appointment of Agt at this point and immediately in here and relieved Mingling. This place is garrisoned by a portion of the 6th Corps USA under Gel Wright.

Tell ‘Little Sis’ and ‘Big Sis’ to write me long letters with all the town ‘gossip’ that you all can think of as it will be ‘good news’ for me now. Ma I would like to see you all very well — suppose I will have a chance maybe after a while but cannot tell certain.

Also let me know if you have heard from Grandma & the rest of them. Give my best love to all the ‘Girls’ around town. Would like to see them all mighty well, but don’t suppose they are all married yet are they.Love to Aunt Alice, Aunt Kansas, John, Reggy, Pinks etc. if they have not left yet.

Ma, about my clothes. I am rather short at present. Want you to fix them. What [do] you think. I will need that is all the nicest etc. put what you can in that ‘Sole leather trunk’ (tell Pa to have the lock fixed first though) and as soon as possible send them to me. I will write again though or telegraph before you send them to me. You can just be getting them ready you know. Everything so unsettled now. I hardly know how to act. You all write me a long letter about everything. What the girls didn’t think of, you can you know.

Tell Miss Azzie I think she owes me a long letter, to write and give me the news. I have been very busy since I have been here. My love to all at Woodstock. Where is ‘Bill Haas’ at, back yet from prison. How about the darkies in town, all ‘free’ I suppose are they. Have you heard from Will & wife yet?

When is John Gibson at home or not. Albert Hunter also. Who has been married since I left and ought to be. How does [Staunton] look. Any stores open etc.
With much to all at home I am
your Ever Aff son
JP Hawkins

This article was written by Julie Holcomb and originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of America’s Civil War magazine.

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  1. Sagis

    I don't know what to say

  2. Tojagar

    That he finally asks?

  3. Tadtasi

    The author, why are you updating the site so sickly?

  4. Bartalan

    the excellent and timely message.

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