150 Years Ago This Week

150 Years Ago This Week: The end of the road in Virginia

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April 16

Events of momentous importance occurred almost daily in the first two weeks of April 1865.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Richmond evacuated, Petersburg lines broken

With the Confederate disaster at Five Forks on Saturday, April 1, Gen. Lee sent a wire to President Davis in Richmond on Sunday morning, April 2. “I think it is absolutely necessary that we abandon our position tonight. . . .”
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150 Years Ago This Week: The road to Appomattox

At the end of March, 1865, beyond the lines at Petersburg and in North Carolina, fighting between Union and Confederate troops continued unabated in from Florida to New Mexico Territory.
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150 Years Ago This Week: The Battle of Bentonville

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March 26

March 1865 Union Maj. Gen. William Sherman did not expect an attack near Bentonville, N.C. on Sunday, March 19. Gen. Sherman ordered Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum to take his command from the left flank of the army and move to the right, to support Maj. Gen. Oliver Howard’s command. Unexpectedly, Gen. Slocum’s troops ran...
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150 Years Ago This Week: The Confederacy enlists slaves to fight

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March 19

March 1865 The fighting in North Carolina intensified between the Confederates under Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and the Union troops under Maj. Gen. William Sherman. Gen. Braxton Bragg, commanding the Confederates on the coast, fought a two-day battle with Federal forces under Gen. Sherman at Kinston; Gen. Bragg was forced to withdraw as Union troops...
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150 Years Ago This Week: Lincoln’s second inauguration

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March 12
Union Maj. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick

At the Capitol in Washington, Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address, outlining his second term and speaking directly to the Confederate people.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Battle of Waynesboro

In the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan sent a force of 10,000 Union cavalry south from Winchester with orders to destroy the Virginia Central Railroad and the James River Canal, take Lynchburg east of the Blue Ridge and then either join forces with Maj. Gen. William Sherman in North Carolina or...
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150 Years Ago This Week: A tragic time in the Southland

February 1865 When Columbia, S.C., was being destroyed in mid-February, the City of Charleston was evacuated by Lt. Gen. William Hardee and his Confederate troops. Charleston had been the birthplace of secession and a spiritual capital of the entire South. Its defenders were in danger of being penned in, and Gen. Hardee reluctantly and belatedly pulled...
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150 Years Ago This Week: The destruction of Columbia

On Friday, Feb. 17, the Federals captured Columbia; Mayor Thomas Goodwyn and a delegation of officials rode out in carriages to meet the Federal invader and to surrender the city.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Political issues

After months of siege operations at Petersburg, Lt. Gen. Ulysses Grant with Maj. Gen. George Meade and the Army of the Potomac became active again on Sunday, Feb. 5.
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150 Years Ago This Week: The peace conference

The three Confederate peace commissioners appointed on Jan. 28 by President Jefferson Davis: Vice President Alexander Stephens, Robert Hunter and John A. Campbell, received a pass issued by President Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 29 to allow them through U.S. military lines to Fortress Monroe, Va.
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150 Years Ago This Week: ‘The alarming frequency of desertion’

Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest

To help mollify criticism in the Confederate States Congress of President Jefferson Davis’s handling of military affairs, the president signed into law on Monday, Jan. 23, an act providing for a General-in-Chief of the Confederate Armies.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Major developments

The flamboyant career of a gallant, hard-fighting but often unsuccessful combat officer came to an inglorious end when Gen. John B. Hood, the commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, resigned the same day the Union assault on Ft. Fisher near Wilmington, N.C., began.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Gen. Butler is sacked

As the second week of January 1865 began, the general-in-chief of the U. S. Armies, Lt. Gen. Ulysses Grant, wired President Lincoln from his headquarters at Petersburg and asked the commander-in-chief to relieve Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Debate on abolition of slavery

On Sunday, the first day of the new year of 1865, on the James River in Virginia southeast of Richmond, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler, fresh from the debacle at Ft. Fisher, N.C., ordered a canal cut to bypass a large bend in the river at Dutch Gap.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Failure at Ft. Fisher

Maj. Gen. George Thomas, commander of the Union Army of the Cumberland in December 1864.

On Dec. 14, 1864, nearly 60 ships of the Union naval armada opened fire on Ft. Fisher, near Wilmington, N.C. Diversionary actions Gen. Benjamin Butler, leading the Union Army of the James, was a fiasco, leading to President Lincoln’s relieving the general of his command.
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150 Years Ago This Week: A Christmas gift for Lincoln

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Dec. 25, 2014
150 Years Ago This Week: A Christmas gift for Lincoln

At Savannah, Ga., on Sunday, Dec. 18, 1864, Confederate Lt. Gen. William Hardee refused Maj. Gen. William Sherman’s demand to surrender the city, but it was clear that the city would have to be evacuated by the Confederates before their one route of escape to the north would be closed by the Union troops.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Battle of Nashville

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Dec. 18, 2014

In mid-December 1864, the Civil War ends in the west with a decisive battle at Nashville, while in Savannah, Gen. Sherman demands the surrender of the city from Confederate Gen. Hardee, in this week’s 150 Years Ago.
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150 Years Ago This Week: The burning in Loudoun County

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Dec. 11, 2014

Winter did not impede military operations in December 1864, while, in Washington, Congress was about to consider the thorny issues of reconstruction and abolishing slavery.
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150 Years Ago This Week: A dark day in American history 

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Dec. 4, 2014

On Nov. 1864, Union and Confederate ships were destroyed, fighting continued in Tennessee and the Mid-Atlantic, and Federal troops massacred Indians in New Mexico territory.
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150 Years Ago This Week: The men who tried to burn New York

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Nov. 27, 2014
Harper’s Weekly (Dec. 17, 1864) depicted a Confederate agent setting a fire in Room 108 of the Tammany Hotel, one of many venues targeted for arson by the Confederates on Nov. 25.

In late November, Sherman’s army continued to burn and loot its way through the South and arsonists hired by Confederate agents set fire to multiple venues in New York, while the Booths were onstage together for the first time in “Julius Caesar.”
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150 Years Ago This Week: March to the sea, and eloquence misplaced

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Nov. 20, 2014
Alexander Hay Ritchie engraving via U.S. Library of Congress

On Monday, Nov. 14, 1864, Maj. Gen. William Sherman and his 62,000 men were in and around Atlanta, preparing to depart for the Atlantic coast, while the cavalry was already on the move.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Lincoln re-elected

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Nov. 13, 2014
150 Years Ago This Week

This week 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln was re-elected president of the United States, with Andrew Johnson of Tennessee as vice president, while the Second Congress of the Confederate States met in Richmond for what was destined to be the last time.
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150 Years Ago This Week: A terrible scene at sea

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Nov. 6, 2014
The Australian packet Royal Standard narrowly escaped destruction following a collision with an enormous iceberg off Cape Horn.

As November 1864 unfolded, a wartime election and a vessel's collision with a huge iceberg off South Africa were in the news.
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150 Years Ago This Week: The battle of Westport

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Oct. 30, 2014
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At the close of the third week in October, C.S.S. Shenandoah was commissioned into the Confederate States Navy as a commerce raider. In Washington, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation establishing the national holiday of Thanksgiving.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Cedar Creek and St. Albans

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Oct. 23, 2014
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During the third week of October, fighting in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia continued in earnest between the Union forces, commanded by Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, and the Confederate forces, commanded by Lt. Gen. Jubal Early.
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150 Years Ago This Week: ‘Greater love hath no man’

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Oct. 16, 2014
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Some of Lt. Col. John Mosby’s Rangers attacked a Union train of ambulance wagons on Sept. 23, 1864, near Front Royal, before being driven off by the approach of Union cavalry under Col. Charles Lowell on the road from Luray.
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150 Years Ago This Week: ‘Hold the fort. We are coming.’

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Oct. 9, 2014
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As October 1864 opened, the significance of the capture of Atlanta by the Federals in September was obvious to both North and South. To the North, it was helpful to Abraham Lincoln’s campaign for re-election; to the South, it was an intolerable incursion.
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150 Years Ago This Week: ‘The Burning’

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Oct. 2, 2014
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In response to Lt. Gen. Ulysses Grant’s August orders to eliminate the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia as a source of supply to the Confederacy, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan ordered his men to begin destroying in earnest barns, mills, crops and livestock throughout the Valley.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Battles at Milford and Luray

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Sept. 25, 2014
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On Sunday, Sept. 18, Lt. Gen. Jubal Early moved a portion of his Confederate force in the Shenandoah Valley from Bunker Hill, W. Va., north to Martinsburg, and drove away Federal cavalry, but returned to Bunker Hill in the evening.
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150 Years Ago This Week: The Great Beefsteak Raid

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Sept. 18, 2014
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In Atlanta, Ga., on Sunday, Sept. 10, Maj. Gen. William Sherman received a wire from Lt. Gen. Ulysses Grant in Virginia, urging him to leave Atlanta and begin a new drive against Gen. John Hood’s Confederate Army of Tennessee.
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150 Years Ago This Week: The Battle of Berryville

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Sept. 11, 2014
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At about 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3, Union troops commanded by Brig. Gen. George Crook under Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan were moving south from Charles Town, West Va., into Clarke County, Va., to slow or stop the advance of Confederate troops.
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150 Years Ago This Week: “Fairly won.”

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Sept. 4, 2014
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On Sunday, Aug. 28, in Charleston Harbor, S.C., the Union forces made an attempt to “shake” the remaining walls of Fort Sumter to pieces by sending a raft loaded with powder across the waters to the fort.
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150 Years Ago This Week: “This administration will not be re-elected.”

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Aug. 28, 2014
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After a fierce bombardment by land batteries, three ironclad monitors and other Union naval vessels on Sunday, Aug. 22, Fort Morgan, the last major Confederate post at the entrance to Mobile Bay, Ala., fell to the Federals.
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150 Years Ago This Week: The guns of August

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Aug. 21, 2014
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On the high seas of Monday, Aug. 15, the Confederate commerce raider CSS Tallahassee captured six Union merchant schooners off the coast of New England, widening the panic in the North into the far northeastern states.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Sheridan in the Shenandoah

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Aug. 14, 2014
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Furious at President Abraham Lincoln for his pocket veto of their punitive reconstruction bill, Radical Republicans Rep. Henry Winter Davis of Maryland and Sen. Benjamin Wade of Ohio issued what became known as the Wade-Davis Manifesto on Aug. 7.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Battle of Mobile Bay

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Aug. 7, 2014
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Confederates entered Pennsylvania once more, on Saturday, July 30. In the morning, Confederate cavalry under command of Brig. Gen. John McCausland rode into Chambersburg, where he threatened to burn the town to the ground.
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150 Years Ago This Week: The world explodes

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July 31, 2014
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Marching north on the Valley Turnpike (Route 11 today), Lt. Gen. Jubal Early’s entire Confederate army was headed to Kernstown, just south of Winchester, where Gen. George Crooke’s Federal troops were posted.
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150 Years Ago This Week: Bloody summer

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July 24, 2014
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In Georgia on Saturday, July 16, Maj. Gen. William Sherman’s major move across the Chattahoochee River and out around the north side of Atlanta toward Decatur on the east got underway, though not without delays.
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150 Years Ago This Week: President Lincoln under fire

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July 17, 2014
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On Sunday, July 10, Lt. Gen. Jubal Early’s Confederate troops marched closer to the environs of Washington, D.C. There was some minor fighting at Rockville, Md., and at the Gunpowder River bridge north of the city.
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