Monday, June 05, 2006

Civil War Timeline: 1865

The final installment of the Civil War Timeline. Here are links to the whole thing: 1860-61, 1862, 1863 and 1864.

January 15 - Fort Fisher, North Carolina, falls to Union land and sea forces.

January 16 - Sherman's army begins another destructive march, this time through the Carolinas.

February 4 - Robert E. Lee is named commander-in-chief of the Confederate army.

February 17 - Columbia, South Carolina, is burned. Sherman's troops and retreating Confederates are both blamed for setting the fires.

February 18 - Sherman occupies Charleston.

February 22 - Wilmington, North Carolina, the last remaining open southern port, falls to Union forces.

March 4 - Lincoln is inaugurated for a second term.
Lincoln, from his second inaugural address: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

April 1 - The Battle of Five Forks (Virginia) - In the last major battle of the war, General Sheridan repels a Confederate assault.

April 2 - Lee withdraws from Petersburg, ending the six-month siege. He advises President Jefferson Davis to leave Richmond. A day later, Union troops enter Petersburg and Richmond. Two days after that, Lincoln tours Richmond.

April 9 - Surrounded and facing starvation, Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. At Lincoln's request, the terms are generous. Confederate officers and men are free to go home with their horses, officers are allowed to keep their sidearms.

April 11 - In his last public address, Lincoln urges a spirit of generous conciliation during reconstruction.

April 14 - While watching a play at Ford's Theater, Lincoln is shot and mortally wounded by actor John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln dies the following day and is succeeded by Andrew Johnson.

April 25 - John Wilkes Booth is cornered and shot dead near Bowling Green, Virginia.

April 26 - Confederate General Joseph Johnston surrenders to Sherman at the Bennett House near Durham Station, North Carolina, bring major combat of the war to an end. Scattered resistance continues in the South for several weeks, ending in May, when Confederate General Richard Taylor surrenders to General Edward R. S. Canby, and General Kirby Smith surrenders his western forces.

April 25 - John Wilkes Booth is cornered and shot dead near Bowling Green, Virginia.

April 27 - The steamboat Sultana, returning northward on the Mississippi River with liberated Union prisoners of war, blows up with a loss of life equal to that of the Titanic.

May 10 - Jefferson Davis is captured in Georgia. He is incorrectly presumed to be a conspirator in the Lincoln assassination and is jailed awaiting trial. He is later released on bail and never tried. In 1868, President Johnson, as one of his final acts in office, grants amnesty to all Southerners, including Davis, who declines to accept it.

May 12-13 - The Battle of Palmito Ranch (Texas) - This skirmish between 80 Union soldiers and 350 Confederate cavalrymen is a victory for the Union and the last battle of the war.

May 19 - President Andrew Johnson declares that armed insurrection against the Federal government has come to an end.


(Timeline source: Don't Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis, Harper Collins, 2003 and Everyday Life in the Civil War by Michael J. Varhola, Writer's Digest Books, 1999)

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